Concussion Treatment

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The Ultimate Guide To Concussions

What happens when you have a concussion?

Each year in the United States alone players of sports and recreational activities receive 3.8 million concussions.

How dangerous are all those concussions?

The answer lies in how the brain responds when hit.

You see, your brain is made of soft fatty tissue that has a jelly-like consistency. The skull does a great job shielding the brain but when it gets hit the brain can shift around and cause damage to it’s tissues.

Your brain is made of 90 million neurons that deliver signals through their long axons to communicate throughout the brain and control movement. The neuron’s structure is very fragile so when a sudden jolt occurs neurons will stretch and can even break away from other neurons. This not only disrupts communication between neurons but causes the release of toxins that damages other neurons nearby.

These events are what cause a concussion.

In this guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about concussions from treatment options, signs of concussion, how to recover quicker with this concussion protocol, and more.

The Ultimate Guide to Concussion Treatment

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This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether concussion treatment is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a therapist on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation, this session is only to find out if concussion treatment can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

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The Ultimate Guide to Concussion Treatment

Signs of a Concussion

How to tell if you have a concussion?

Signs and symptoms of a concussion most of the time show up right after the injury occurs. However, some people only experience symptoms hours, days, or even weeks after the injury. It is important to check symptoms right after a head injury and days after.

According to the CDC signs of concussion are:

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily (balance issues)
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behaviour, or personality changes
  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_symptoms.html

 

How Is A Concussion Diagnosed?

A doctor or Physiotherapist will first perform a concussion test by asking you questions like how did this injury occur and what symptoms are you experiencing now. They then might perform a physical examination to determine the symptoms. 

If it’s serious, your doctor may have you do a CT scan or MRI scan to check for serious brain injuries.

Some doctors and physiotherapists use eye movement tests to detect concussions.  Using this test they can detect visual changes such as pupil size, aberrant eye movements, and light sensitivities that are signs of a concussion. 

Sports Injuries & Concussions courtesy of Full Function Rehab & Wellness

How Is a Concussion Treated?

How to treat a concussion depends on how severe your symptoms are. 

For severe symptoms such as internal bleeding in the brain, swelling, or serious injury to the brain, the person may need surgery.

Most concussions do not require surgery or major medical treatment, however.

Typically in a concussion protocol, doctors will recommend if the person has headache symptoms to take an Advil or Tylenol. They will tell you to get plenty of rest, avoid driving or riding a bike for at least 24 hours. They will typically recommend physiotherapy as well.

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Find out whether concussion treatment can help you get back to doing the things you love in life. 

How Physiotherapy Can Help Speed Up Recovery

A Physiotherapist can determine the root causes of various concussion symptoms and then create a customized treatment plan to get you feeling better.

Usually, a Physiotherapist will check to see if your neck or spine has been affected by a concussion or injury.

After a concussion individuals may experience muscle weakness in the neck. A Physiotherapist can help: 

 

Improve the function of the neck

 
Strengthening exercisesYour physiotherapist will provide you with exercises to improve the strength of your neck which will help reduce your symptoms

 

Manual therapy – Hands-on techniques can be used to make sure all your joints are moving well particularly the spine and neck.

Myofascial release techniques – you see whenever you experience any traumatic force like a concussion, restrictions in your fascia can occur which can cause severe pain and limited range of motion. 

Fascia is a thin web-like casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ and muscle in your body. Myofascial release technique helps restore normal range of motion.

 

Vestibular Issues After a Concussion

 

Your vestibular system contains parts of your inner ear that processes sensory information about controlling balance and eye movements.

After a concussion, vestibular problems can occur causing dizziness or balance issues. 

In particular, research shows that 80% of those who experience a concussion report vertigo in the first few days, weeks, or more after, which is a condition where one feels like the world is spinning. A technique called Canalith repositioning maneuver can help ease the symptoms of vertigo like dizziness. 

 

Balance training

Balace is typically diminished after a concussion. A physiotherapist can provide you exercises to improve this.

Visual Disturbances After a Concussion

If vision is affected after a concussion a physiotherapist can perform ocular reflex training to improve visual motor control and reduce vision problems.

Balance and concussion recovery courtesy of Shift Concussion Management (Read the caption)

How Long Do Concussions Last?

Generally, recovering from a concussion takes 7-10 days. However, if you don’t get enough sleep or adhere to your doctor’s instructions it can take longer to recover.

Some people have what’s called post-concussion syndrome. It’s when concussion symptoms last beyond the recovery period.

Post-concussion syndrome symptoms persist for months after a concussion. These symptoms can include: 

  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering things. 
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurry vision
  • Noise and light sensitivity
  • Dizziness

Most people with Post Concussion Syndrome recover in 3 months.

5 Things You Can Do Now To Enhance Recovery

1.) Seeing a qualified physiotherapist and having them create a customized plan for you.

2.) Reduce time on your phones, computer, TV, and tablets.

You see, bright lights create eyestrain which can sometimes make your symptoms of concussion worse. 

During your recovery period try to limit time on your phone, computer, TV, or other screens.

You can even help sleep problems that can occur after concussions by avoiding all screens for two hours before bed to help you get a good nights sleep.

3.) Stay Hydrated

4.) Get Rest

Rest is the most important thing you can do because it speeds up recovery. Rest reduces stress and allows your brain to heal.

Also, you should initially avoid any strenuous. As you improve, your physiotherapist can help guide you through performing more intense exercise.

5.) Eat More Protein

A study published in 2015 found that supplementing with BCCA (proteins from food) for at least 5 days after a concussion may improve cognitive recovery.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378292/

Concussion courtesy of Easthill Physiotherapy + Acupuncture

Is It Safe to Sleep With a Concussion?

If you’re like most you’ve probably heard you’re not supposed to go to sleep after 24 hours when having a significant head injury but is it true?

It’s actually a myth. This came from the concern that if you fall asleep after you get a concussion you could slip into a coma or die. But sleeping itself doesn’t cause those things to occur. 

In fact, according to Primary care sports medicine physician Richard Figler, MD. “rest is a crucial component for a concussion to heal, so waking someone up or not letting them sleep is actually going to be counterproductive in the healing process. Sleeping for a full eight hours is going to be more beneficial for the person rather than somebody rousing them every hour to ask “Are you okay?”

Source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-it-safe-to-sleep-after-a-concussion/

He goes on to say that it’s perfectly okay to check on the person while they are sleeping, such as checking to make sure their breathing pattern is normal.

What Happens If a Concussion Goes Untreated?

If you don’t get treatment soon enough after getting a concussion it can result in terrible symptoms that prevent you from maintaining a normal life.

From at school, in your relationships, and at work because it can diminish your mental health.

For example,  according to Dr. Tad Seifert “in sports when a concussion is not treated as it should be and you return to play too quickly second impact syndrome can occur. This is when a player gets two hits in a short amount of time. Causing the brain to swell up rapidly and can result in devastating neurological injuries.

For 50% of people who experience second impact syndrome it results in death and the other 50% will have serious long-lasting symptoms similar to a stroke.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cEoZiT8iX4

Even if you don’t have a second impact, untreated concussions can cause permanent brain damage, where the person can develop anxiety disorder, depression and the inability to regulate their emotions, such as difficulty controlling negative thoughts and expressing positive emotions.

So it’s important to get a concussion treated right away.

There you have it, the ultimate guide to concussions. If you would like to see a qualified Physiotherapist to create a customized plan for your concussion then use the convenient search box on this page to search for one near you.

Patient’s concussion rehab progress courtesy of Maximum Physiotherapy

Conditions Successfully Treated with Concussion Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

If you only have mild concussion symptoms like a headache that goes away on its own, feel a little dizzy, feeling sick, feeling a little dazed, and have experienced a trauma to head anc neck region…you probably don’t have a concussion.

However, only proper concussion testing would be able to tell if you do.

On average recovery time for a mild concussion is about 7-10 days. However it varies from individual to individual. Some people take longer to recover.

Doctors recommend 24-72 hours right after a concussion. During this time you need to cut back on all activities like working out, work, sports, housework, and school.

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