A concussion is an injury that is the result of a direct blow to the head or sudden jarring of the head and neck causing the brain to shift and forcefully hit against the skull. This can lead to bruising and swelling of the brain, tearing of the blood vessels and injury of the nerves, resulting in a concussion, which is a traumatic brain injury. You do not need to lose consciousness to have had a concussion. Common causes of concussions include falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports, and work-related injuries. Most concussions do resolve with rest but those with symptoms lasting more than 2-3 weeks would benefit from skilled physical therapy to return to normal function.
Concussion Signs and Symptoms (it is important to note that symptoms may appear immediately following, hours or days after the injury)
- Physical: headaches, light/noise sensitivity, blurred vision, disequilibrium, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, slurred speech
- Emotional: irritability, sadness, anxiety, personality changes
- Sleep: drowsy, altered sleep patterns
- Cognitive: confusion, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with memory recall, mental “fogginess”, changes in school/work performance
- Orthopedic evaluation and treatment of the head and neck to determine factors that may contribute to symptoms (ex. Whiplash injury, Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency or cervicogenic dizziness)
- Balance/Vestibular assessment and rehabilitation to address the dysfunction of the body’s postural reflexes.
- Ocular testing to assess for coordination deficits of the eyes that commonly result from a head injury. Patients are then treated with a specific oculomotor rehabilitation program for their individual needs.
- Return to activity and return to work programs to facilitate a safe and symptom-free transition back to normal functional activities.