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Concussion

We are passionate about helping to better manage concussion and whiplash related injuries.

Concussions are a form of brain injury resulting from complex pathological processes and biomechanical forces imparting forces to the brain. Concussions can be the result of direct blows to the head or indirect forces causing quick movement of the head or neck. Additionally, a concussion can occur without loss of consciousness.

Concussions are not the result of anatomical or structural changes to the brain, but rather a functional and physiological injury that generally cannot be detected by imaging techniques (CT Scan, MRI, etc). Most concussions resolve within 7-10 days with rest and natural recovery. However, it is recommended that people who suffer a concussion undergo a step-wise return to activity (sports, learning/school, work, etc).

Concussion mechanics

Common Concussion Related Symptoms & Problems:

Physical

Concussion headache or fogginess

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Lightheadedness/Dizziness
  • Poor balance
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired or sluggish
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty reading or using computer or TV
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise

Concussion headache or fogginess

Cognitive

Concussion symptoms can be overwhelming.

  • Reduced concentration
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble expressing your thoughts
  • Trouble finding the right word
  • Feeling mentally foggy
Emotional
  • Irritable or grumpy
  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Feeling more emotional

Concussion symptoms can be overwhelming.

General Advice After A Concussion:

Rest: For the first few days you may need to rest. Your symptoms may seem worse when you are tired or if you have done too much. Be sure to get a good sleep each night.

Alcohol & Drugs: Only take medication that has been approved by your doctor. You should avoid alcohol and other recreational drugs while you are recovering from a concussion. Alcohol and/or drugs might slow your recovery and could place you at further risk of injury.

Exercise and Sports: You can start light aerobic exercise such as walking or stationary cycling once you are symptom free. Gradually increase activity frequency and intensity as long as you remain symptom free. Avoid any activities and sports where there is a risk of getting another concussion. It is strongly advised that you get medical clearance before returning to sports. Always wear proper protective equipment.

When can I return to sports? If you have any of the signs or symptoms of concussion listed above after a blow to the head or body, you should not go back to play the day of the injury. A health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, needs to let you know when it is safe to return to play. If your concussion involves memory loss or loss of consciousness, you may not be able to return to play for 1 to 2 weeks. After a severe concussion, you may not be able to return to play for a month. If this wasn’t your first concussion, your return to play may take even longer.

What are the risks of returning to play too early? A player returning too early could suffer from “second impact syndrome,” which can be fatal. A second blow to the head, even a minor one, can cause a loss of control of blood flow to the brain. Never return to a sports activity until you are cleared by a doctor.

Driving: Do not drive for at least 24 hours after your injury. Your ability to concentrate and react quickly might be affected by the concussion. Contact your doctor if you are unsure of your ability to drive, particularly if you are concerned about visual difficulties, slowness of thinking, slowed reaction time, reduced attention, or poor judgment. You should not start driving again until you are confident and safe to do so. When you return to driving, it might be helpful to start with short distances on familiar routes when traffic is light.

Daily Activities: Do not attempt to immediately do all of your usual activities, including work or school, at the pace you did prior to the concussion. It is strongly recommended that you gradually ease back into your usual routine and pace yourself by resting between activities. It is often necessary to plan to return to work or school only a few hours each day at the beginning. This is particularly important if you are a full-time worker or student. You might benefit from having a health care professional assist you with your transition back to work or school.

Headaches: Headaches are on of the most common symptoms experienced following a concussion and can be a result of injury or strain to soft tissues, nerves, joints, or bones of the head or neck region. They can also be due to the general stress experienced following an injury. Fortunately, as with other concussion symptoms, headaches typically resolve over time. However, do not take a sit-and-wait approach. It is important to take steps to actively manage your headache pain. Treatment of headaches often requires a combination of approaches, including medication, lifestyle changes, and rehabilitation.

Post Concussion Syndrome

Some concussions however, take longer to recover, and some people experience ongoing symptoms lasting longer than 7-10 days. In this scenario, the symptoms may be generated from multiple sources: the cervical spine, the vision system, the vestibular system, and may be based on level of exertion and is termed post-concussion syndrome.

A disorganization and poor coordination of these varying systems may result in ongoing concussion symptoms.

Physiotherapy can be particularly helpful for individuals with post-concussion syndrome, and current research suggests that a multi-faceted approach is most effective.

Manual therapy to improve neck posture and range of motion in combination with exercises for visual and vestibular function can help restore normal function along with incremental increases in cardiovascular exercise.

An individualized approach to concussion rehabilitation is essential to full recovery.

Please contact us for more details and to schedule your assessment now.