Physical Therapy for Concussions. What You Need to Know.

concussion therapy

Concussions are being treated more seriously than ever – especially in the world of athletics, where concerns over brain damage have placed high-impact sports such as football under a glaring public spotlight. But whether you received this form of brain injury during an athletic event or in an auto accident, you need to proceed toward recovery as cautiously and intelligently as possible. The good news is that, contrary to traditional medical belief, active therapeutic measures such as physical therapy appear to speed healing when administered in a careful manner by a knowledgeable physical therapist. That’s why you should contact our physical therapy center today to find out how we can help you recuperate.

Understanding Concussions

A concussion is the injury that results from the brain impacting the inside of the skull. While a sharp blow directly to the head can cause this phenomenon, concussions may also be caused by any bump or jolt to the body that shakes the head violently. Whiplash is a notable example. As the head goes flying in all directions, so does the brain within, bouncing off the skull’s bony enclosure. The resulting injury to the brain can cause a variety of disturbing symptoms, including:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Visual abnormalities
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Slurring of speech
  • Memory loss, confusion and other cognitive problems
  • Light/sound sensitivity

Concussion Treatment Techniques

In some cases, concussions may include life-threatening brain bleeds and other complications that require immediate emergency treatment. But even a mild concussion can cause some neurological symptoms from the moment of impact. In all cases, brain imaging and other diagnostics are critical for analyzing the extent of the damage and helping physicians prescribe treatment.

Approaches to concussion treatment have undergone something of an evolution in recent years. The traditional recommendation was strict bed rest, with as little movement or mental stimulation as possible, to give the brain every chance to stabilize its functions. Exercise was never recommended on the grounds that it might cause a second injury, and that would produce changes in blood pressure that might delay recovery. Recent studies, however, have shown that too much rest may be too much of a good thing. Physical therapy and related activities actually seem to reduce recuperation time in concussion patients. The APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) now recognizes physical therapists as potential key players in effective concussion rehabilitation plans.

Light Exercise and Other Options From Our Physical Therapist

However effective physical therapy may be in aiding concussion recovery, a physical therapist must take the appropriate care in selecting when and how those physical therapy activities should be pursued. Our physical therapist will determine what level of aerobic exercise you can sustain without your symptoms worsening. We’ll need to keep your activities below this threshold until your brain has healed. We will perform thorough baseline testing, including evaluation of your neck, vision, coordination and balance, before we proceed with your individualized program. Depending on your particular symptoms, we may recommend:

  • Vestibular therapy to help you stabilize your balance
  • Exercises and massage therapy to help relieve headaches
  • Exercises to help you restore your visual focus and manual coordination
  • A gentle return to light aerobic exercise to restore brain-body communications

Let COAST REHAB Help You Recover

Concussions are serious business, but they’re also highly treatable as long as you have the right guidance. Contact us today to speak with one of our physical therapists. We can evaluate your condition and prescribe a safe, sensible return to activity!