The Benefits of Physical Therapy in Treating Concussions
Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, are becoming increasingly common in contact sports and can occur because of a variety of other accidents or injuries. Symptoms of a concussion can range from headaches and dizziness to memory loss and difficulty concentrating. While the most effective treatment for concussions is rest, physical therapy can play a key role in helping manage symptoms and speed up the recovery process.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist within the skull, resulting in damage to brain cells and temporary changes in brain function.
Common symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, sensitivity to light and noise, and difficulty concentrating. Symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks or longer, depending on the severity of the injury.
How Can Physical Therapy Help with Concussions?
Physical therapy can help manage symptoms and speed up the recovery process for individuals who have experienced a concussion. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help patients regain strength, balance, and coordination, while also reducing headaches and other symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome.
Rest and Recovery
The first step in treating a concussion is rest. Resting the brain and body allows the brain to heal and recover from the injury. Physical therapists can work with patients to create a rest and recovery plan that includes modified activities, reduced screen time, and plenty of sleep.
Improving Balance and Coordination
Concussions can disrupt the body's balance and coordination systems, making it difficult for patients to perform daily activities. Physical therapists can use balance therapy and vestibular rehabilitation after a concussion to help patients regain their balance and coordination.
Vestibular Rehabilitation After Concussion
Vestibular rehabilitation is a type of therapy that focuses on the vestibular system, which controls balance and spatial orientation. After a concussion, the vestibular system can be disrupted, leading to dizziness, vertigo, and other balance-related symptoms. Vestibular rehabilitation involves exercises and techniques that help the brain and body adapt to changes in balance and spatial orientation.
Restoring Strength and Endurance
Physical therapy can also help restore strength and endurance after a concussion. Physical therapists can create an exercise program that gradually increases in intensity and duration, helping patients regain strength and endurance without exacerbating symptoms.
Cervical Spine Rehabilitation
Concussions can also cause damage to the cervical spine, which can lead to neck pain and headaches. Physical therapists can use cervical spine rehabilitation to help patients regain mobility in the neck and reduce pain.
Headaches are a common symptom of post-concussion syndrome. Physical therapists can use manual therapy and other techniques to help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Returning to Normal Work or Activity
Physical therapists can help patients return to normal work or activity after a concussion. By gradually increasing activity levels and monitoring symptoms, physical therapists can help patients safely return to their pre-injury level of activity.
Who Should Consider Physical Therapy for Concussion Rehabilitation?
Anyone who has experienced a concussion should consider physical therapy as part of their recovery plan. Physical therapy can help manage symptoms, reduce the risk of long-term complications, and speed up the recovery process.
Individuals who have experienced multiple concussions or have a history of concussions should also consider physical therapy as part of their ongoing concussion management plan. Physical therapy can help reduce the risk of long-term complications and improve overall brain function.
When you're recovering from a concussion, it's important to have the right help. Our licensed physical therapists have been trained to help with concussions and can conduct a wide range of tests to determine the most appropriate type of physical therapy intervention that is specific to your individual needs.
Request an appointment for Concussion Rehabilitation today!