Concussion Recovery: How Physiotherapy Can Help

Concussions have received a lot of attention from the media and even blockbuster movies in recent years, but, what is a concussion and why do they happen?

Although there are multiple activities that can lead to a concussion, in this blog post we will focus on concussions that are sports-related.

The latest consensus from Berlin on sports-induced concussions define a sport-related concussion as a:

 

“traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces […] may be from a direct blow to the head, neck face […] resulting in rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously” (McCrory et al. 2017 p2. )

 

Neurological functions, such as slowed mental processing, concentration deficits, balance dysfunction, memory loss and an array of other symptoms, can be affected when a person suffers from a concussion. These typically resolve within 30 days after a concussion, although it may be faster in some individuals. 

Most people think that if they did not lose consciousness after impact, they did not suffer from a concussion. The reality is, you do NOT have to lose consciousness to suffer from a concussion. In fact, only 6-10% of concussion patients lose consciousness.

 

Symptoms Of A Concussion

So what happens when you sustain a concussion? What can you expect? No two concussions are alike. However, there are common signs and symptoms that happen after such an injury:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Phonosensitivity (noise sensitivity)
  • Photosensitivity (light sensitivity)
  • Sleep disruption
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Mental fog
  • Memory difficulties
  • Blurred vision
  • Balance impairment

 

How To Treat A Concussion

What happens if your concussion doesn’t resolve spontaneously, and you end up suffering from prolonged symptoms?  Is it treatable?

A physiotherapist who specializes in concussion management can help identify and objectively measure the signs and symptoms of a concussion.  By completing a thorough assessment, they can tailor treatment according to each case and individual.

The most important thing to do after suffering a concussion is to make sure you have a balance between rest and activity. The old days of prescribing complete rest in a dark room are gone. A trained health professional will help you manage your concussion and ease your return to normal life.

Suffering from a concussion can make you feel alone and depressed. Concussions have accurately been dubbed as an invisible illness. It is very hard for others to see the signs of a concussion. Know that you are not alone and that there are trained health professionals, such as a physiotherapist, who can help you on your journey to recovery.

 

Vika Gorodetsky, Registered Physiotherapist

Concussion Management

Doctor of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Kinesiology Interdisciplinary Studies, University of British Columbia

E: vikagor.physio@gmail.com

PLAZA OF NATIONS – B103-750 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver BC, V6B 5E7

Book with Vika at Plaza of Nations 

 

References:

McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W., Dvorak, J., Aubry, M., Bailes, J., Broglio, S., … & Davis, G. A. (2017). Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016. Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2017.

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