What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a brain injury that occurs when the brain is violently shaken. This can happen during rapid movement changes (such as whiplash) or when the head is hit. Depending on which area of the brain suffers injury, many different temporary or permanent problems with brain function can occur.
Concussions can occur at any age, from a variety of causes, including:
Car accidents (ie, a head impact, or whiplash)
Work accidents (ie, falls, head trauma)
Playground accidents (ie, falling from a slide or swing)
Sports injury to the head or neck
Any type of fall or direct blow to the head, face, or neck
How Does it Feel?
A concussion can cause a variety of symptoms and problems in many different body functions, such as:
The senses (eg, vision, hearing, or sense of smell problems)
Body movements (eg, weakness or loss of balance and coordination)
Personality and mood (eg, newly-developed irritability, depression, or trouble concentrating)
Pain (eg, headaches or migraines)
Signs and Symptoms
There are many symptoms related to concussion and they can affect your physical, emotional, and mental well being. Some symptoms occur immediately, while other symptoms won't show up for a few hours after the injury, and some may even show up months later. It is important to seek medical treatment from a healthcare provider, like a physical therapist, immediately following any head injury. Only health care providers have the knowledge and training to identify a concussion.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Your physical therapist will ask you many questions to help them understand all of the symptoms that you are experiencing. Your physical therapist will also perform numerous tests to identify problems caused by a concussion, including strength, coordination, balance, sight, smell, hearing, and memory tests.
Your physical therapist may also examine your neck for problems following a concussion. Neck injuries can occur at the same time as concussions and they can cause or increase headaches and dizziness.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Physical therapists can evaluate and treat many problems related to concussion. Because no two concussions are the same, your physical therapist's examination will assess your individual symptoms and problems so that the physical therapist can design a safe and individualized treatment program just for you. Treatment may include:
Rest and Recovery. Restoring Strength and Endurance. Stopping Dizziness and Improving Balance. Reducing Headaches
Your physical therapist will help return you to your normal life and sport activities in the quickest and safest way possible, while allowing your brain to properly heal.