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What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury. A concussion can be caused by a DIRECT blow to the head or an INDIRECT blow to the body. A concussion can result from a car accident, a fall, or a sport injury. Current research is unsure exactly what happens to the cells of the brain during a concussion; but the best theory is there is a change in chemical function of the brain that affects how the brain works. Symptoms of concussion can appear immediately, later on the day of your injury, the next day, or several days later.

The vast majority of concussion symptoms resolve by themselves within a short time period. However, if concussion symptoms persist this can lead to serious long-term health effects and can significantly affect your life. No person experiences concussion the same way.

Once a person suffers a concussion, even a mild bump on the head or a vigorous shake can further aggravate the already sensitized tissues of the brain. Problems with balance can last for up to 40 + days after a concussion.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

There can be a wide variety of symptoms after a concussion. Some symptoms may develop right after the injury or may develop days or weeks later.

Some symptoms that can be helped by Physiotherapy concussion management include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Visual changes
  • Balance and walking changes
  • Motion sensitivity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms after a concussion may include:

  • Memory changes and confusion
  • Mood changes
  • Slurred speech

Every person’s brain is different and every injury is different, so every person can have different symptoms after a concussion.

What can you expect during a Physiotherapy concussion assessment?

One of our qualified Physiotherapists will ask you specific and detailed questions about your symptoms. During the clinical assessment, we will examine your neck movement, eye tracking and eye movements, static balance, motion sensitivity, and determine tolerance for exertion.

The duration of your assessment will be 90 minutes.

What is involved in Physiotherapy treatment of a concussion patient?

All of our treatments are one-to-one with a Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist and are up to 45 minutes in duration. All treatments are INDIVIDUALIZED and are SPECIFIC to each person and are tailored to fit YOUR TOLERANCES.

A heavy emphasis is placed on a detailed home exercise program throughout your treatment. Patient education is a critical component of your concussion rehabilitation. Ideally, exercises are performed slowly and in such a way as to NOT aggravate your symptoms. Your exercises are gradually and steadily progressed to maximize return to function.

Some treatment techniques may include manual therapy for neck and headache concerns. Pain management techniques may be used to relieve your headaches.

Julie, one of our Athletic Therapists, has additional training to facilitate ImPACT concussion testing, which is a computerized neurocognitive test used both pre-injury and post-injury. Although baseline testing pre-injury is NOT mandatory in the management of a concussion,  baseline test results can be helpful to guide the rehabilitation process when a concussion has been sustained.

Our goal is to assist you in returning to sport, school, work, and your social life.

Why choose VOR for your Concussion concerns?

Several of our team Physiotherapists have received extensive training in the management of post-concussion syndrome.  We have recently invested in new technology to more accurately assess and identify deficits in function after a concussion. Through diagnostic virtual reality testing, we can accurately track eye movements and vestibular function. We are the FIRST clinic in Ontario to provide this service to our patients. See the saccade analytics link below for further information.

In summary:

  • The majority of individuals recover from concussion within a week or two.
  • Concussions are a functional problem with the brain and as such will not show up on X-rays, CT scans or MRI investigations.
  • Premature return to activity (school, work, sports) can increase the risk of another concussion and prolong your recovery.
  • PREVENTION of a concussion is the ONLY sure way to treat this clinical syndrome!!!
  • Don’t ignore your symptoms – Get your brain the help it needs!!!
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