Everything You Need to Know About Physical Therapy for Concussions

concussion therapy

Concussions are a serious concern for athletes, especially those competing in high-impact sports. It is a serious condition that can hinder both your physical and mental capabilities for a period of time. Concussions typically happen from a trauma-based impact, usually either from a sports injury or motor vehicle accident. While concussions can be painful and limiting, physical therapy treatments can, fortunately, help provide healing and relief. If you are suffering from a concussion and you are looking for treatment, call our office today to speak with one of our experienced physical therapists. 

How do concussions happen?

Concussions are a fairly common injury, but many people are unaware of exactly what happens when one gets a concussion. This injury is a result of an impact, in which the brain collides with the inside of the skull. This can be caused by a harsh blow to the head or any traumatic jolt to the body. Concussions can also be caused if a violent back-and-forth motion (such as whiplash) of the head takes place. When your head tosses in different directions rapidly (such as from a car crash or harsh football tackle), your brain gets tossed along inside it, bouncing off the bony enclosure of your skull. Concussions can result in a number of unfortunate symptoms, such as:

 

  • Painful and chronic headaches/migraines
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Visual abnormalities
  • Slurring of speech
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to focus
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

 

How are concussions treated?

In severe cases, concussions can result in brain bleeds that require emergency medical treatment. In cases such as this, your condition will be treated at the hospital ASAP. In milder cases, your concussion will be treated and cured over a period of time. No matter the severity, your doctor will likely conduct brain imaging and diagnostic tests to analyze the extent of the damage done to your brain during the impact. This will assist your doctor in prescribing your treatment. 

While it used to be believed that exercise would create further damage to the concussion, recent studies have actually found the opposite to be true. Active physical therapy treatments consisting of light exercises and other physical activities have proven to show a decrease in recovery time for patients suffering from concussions. The APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) now recognizes physical therapists as potential key players in effective concussion rehabilitation plans.

How physical therapy can help your concussion:

Your physical therapist will create a personalized treatment plan revolving around your specific needs for recovery and relief. He or she will determine what level of aerobic exercise you can sustain without your symptoms worsening. This will be analyzed through a thorough physical evaluation of your neck, vision, balance, and coordination. After your evaluation, your treatment plan will be created, keeping in mind the severity of your condition and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Depending on your condition, your physical therapist may recommend: 

 

  • Light exercises. These can help relieve your headaches, in addition to restoring any lost coordination or visual focus. 
  • Massage therapy. This can also relieve headaches and stiffness by focusing on the problem areas (primarily the neck.)
  • Vestibular therapy. This will help stabilize your balance.
  • Return to light aerobic exercise. This will help in restoring any lost communications between your brain and body. 

 

Concussions are a serious matter, and our physical therapists are dedicated to helping you recover. They are highly treatable as long as you receive the right guidance and care. If you are suffering from a concussion, schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today. We’ll get you started on the first steps toward creating your treatment plan, and help you achieve your goals toward a safe and sensible return to activity!

Contact Peak Performance Physical Therapy in Lansing & Okemos, MI, to request a consult today.