Concussions are a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) that need to be taken seriously. As our overall understanding of concussions and recovery from these brain injuries improves, physical therapy has emerged as an important resource for all individuals who sustain a concussive injury. With the creation of the Sports Concussion Rehabilitation Center and the addition of a dedicated Sports Concussion Physical Therapist, University Orthopedics hopes to make this treatment more accessible to athletes who have been newly diagnosed with a concussion or those struggling with lingering effects.
Areas in which physical therapy can aid in concussion recovery
Determine the likely cause of the persisting headaches and address the root cause as appropriate.
Neck pain is common after a concussion as many concussion injuries result in a whiplash mechanism. We can treat any joint or muscle-related problems relating to the patient’s neck pain.
We can assess and address any related positional vertigo (BPPV). We can also address any reduced vestibular function which results in poor balance, coordination, and difficulty with navigation through their daily environment following a concussion. This can show up as balance problems, dizziness, or an increase in car sickness/motion sickness.
We can assess accommodative deficits and convergence insufficiencies and help to treat them as appropriate. We can also facilitate contact with a specialist if necessary.
We can detect and address autonomic dysfunction that may result following a concussion. We can facilitate a gradual return to appropriate physical activities to help with appropriate cardiovascular function.
Athletes don’t like to be put on the sidelines. Active participation in something that is helping them get better can help reduce anxiety and depression surrounding their injury.
We can help with dual-task training. We can facilitate a gradual return to typical everyday tasks by connecting cognitive work with general movement and physical tasks as appropriate. We can also specialize these tasks to the person’s specific sport or typical activities.