Physical Therapy for Concussions
Written By Andy Zapata
Concussions are a common injury but one that is widely misunderstood. They can be sustained during a fall, a sports injury, or a car accident or in many other ways. Officially considered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a concussion can affect daily functioning and can sometimes have long-term negative effects if not properly treated. Some common concussion symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing ears
- Slurring speech
If you have suffered a head injury, you may have also received a concussion. Every head injury should be taken seriously and treated immediately. Car accidents are a common cause of concussions, sometimes resulting in injuries that the victim does not fully remember. If you have been in an accident where you sustained a blow to the head, seek immediate medical treatment, and ask to be evaluated for a concussion. After diagnosis and medical treatment, contact a physical therapy clinic that offers physical therapy for concussions.
Commonly Believed Concussion Myths
Concussions have received a great deal of media attention in recent years, particularly surrounding the National Football League (NFL) and concussions resulting from this contact support. Because of this, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, many people have become misinformed about the long-term severity and treatment of concussions.
One widely held belief is that a concussion is only a “mild” injury due to the term “mild traumatic brain injury.” This is simply not true. Concussions are still a brain injury and should be treated with the proper precautions. If you have suffered any form of head injury and experience any concussion symptoms, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Another myth that is rapidly spreading due to media attention is that concussions have debilitating lifelong effects. While in some cases this could be true, this is simply not true. The truth is, concussions are treatable, and it is common for the patient to make a full recovery with no long-term effects.
Physical Therapy Treatments
Medical science research is discovering that physical therapy treatment for concussions is highly beneficial. Working with a team of physical therapists who collaborate with medical professionals is an invaluable resource in concussion recovery.
In many cases, it is important to undergo treatment for longer than previously thought and also to avoid situations where a concussion might have a greater chance at recurring even after the symptoms have disappeared.
There are several treatments a physical therapist will recommend for treating a concussion:
- Rest – Rest has been the most commonly prescribed treatment for concussions. But medical professionals are now learning that too much rest after a concussion can be a bad thing. It is important that you rest your eyes and brain in the early stages, but if your symptoms don’t improve, it’s time to try something else.
- Exercise for Strength and Blood Flow – Some studies in recent years have shown evidence that mild to moderate exercise helps accelerate the brain’s healing process through increased blood flow. It will also help strengthen any injured or weakened muscles and increase mood and focus through produced endorphins.
- Treat Whiplash – In many cases, whiplash and concussions occur simultaneously. If this happened to you, your physical therapist will provide treatment for whiplash while treating your concussion as well.
- Pain Management – You will be treated with pain management techniques specifically designed to treat concussion symptoms and improve your overall health.
Physical Therapy for Concussions
Sports injuries and car accidents are amongst the most common causes of concussions, but they can happen in dozens (if not hundreds) of ways. If you have suffered a concussion, contact Physical Therapy Now to schedule your first appointment and begin working with our trained experts toward a full recovery.