A concussion is a minor head injury that may be caused by a blow to the head, face, neck or other area of the body that results in a force transmitted to the head. Most people associate concussions with athletics, but this is not always the case.
What are the potential signs and symptoms?
Common signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Disorientation and confusion
- May or may not have loss of consciousness
- Increased fatigue and irritability
- Clumsiness and decreased orientation
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Sensitivity to “busy” stimuli, such as video games and TV programs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and other balance deficits
What is the treatment of concussion?
All concussions must be screened by a medical professional that is experienced in treating concussions in order to rule out a more serious issue and order images if needed. The treatment of concussions involves mental and physical rest until symptoms resolve. Education is a key component for these patients, as oftentimes daily activities such as reading and watching TV can aggravate their symptoms.
How can physical therapy benefit me if I sustain a concussion?
People who have sustained a concussion may benefit from a Vestibular Physical Therapist to address coordination and balance deficits. This population needs to be monitored very carefully as treatment can make their symptoms worse, causing a setback in their care. Physical therapy for these patients can include a wide range of modalities, including cardiovascular training, balance training, coordination, manual therapy and education.
How do I know if I am ready to return to sports?
Patients need to be symptom free and guided through a gradual return to activity under the supervision of a medical professional. There is no same-day return to activity after suffering from a concussion and it often takes weeks to return to full activity.
The author of this article is Kristen Dryden, PT from AthletiCo Diversey.