Heads Up: Physiotherapy for Concussions
Are you a sports enthusiast who loves to compete? If so, you might have experienced a concussion at some point in your life. A concussion is a type of brain injury that occurs when your head is hit by a forceful impact, such as a collision with another player, a fall, or a blow from an object. Concussions can cause various symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, memory loss, and mood changes. Some of these symptoms may last for days, weeks, or even months after the injury.
While some concussions are mild and heal on their own, many can have serious and long-term consequences for your health and well-being. Consequently, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you have a concussion. It’s also important to know your sport’s protocol whenever a suspected concussion occurs.
After being properly diagnosed with a concussion, you should consider physiotherapy as part of your recovery process. Physiotherapists are trained professionals who can assess your condition, design a personalized plan, and guide you through exercises and activities that can help you heal faster and better. Physiotherapy can also help you prevent further injuries and complications by improving your strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
But how can physiotherapy help with concussions specifically? Here are some of the benefits that physiotherapy can offer for people who have suffered a concussion:
Physiotherapy can help you manage your symptoms. Physiotherapists can teach you strategies to cope with headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms that may interfere with your daily life. For example, they can show you how to use ice packs, massage, relaxation techniques, and breathing exercises to ease your pain and discomfort. They can also advise you on how to modify your activities and environment to reduce your exposure to noise, light, and other stimuli that may worsen your symptoms.
Physiotherapy can help you regain your balance and coordination. One of the common effects of a concussion is vestibular dysfunction, which is a problem with the inner ear system that controls your sense of balance and movement. Vestibular dysfunction can cause vertigo, which is a sensation of spinning or moving when you are still. It can also cause difficulty with walking, standing, turning, and changing positions. Physiotherapists can perform vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT), which is a specialized form of exercise therapy that aims to restore your normal vestibular function and reduce your dizziness and imbalance. VRT involves various head, eye, and body movements that stimulate and retrain your vestibular system.
Physiotherapy can help you resume your physical activity safely. One of the challenges of recovering from a concussion is knowing when and how to return to your normal physical activity level. Returning too soon or too intensely can increase your risk of re-injury or post-concussion syndrome (PCS), which is a condition where your symptoms persist for longer than expected. Physiotherapists can help you follow the return-to-play protocol (RTP), which is a step-by-step process that gradually increases the intensity and duration of your exercise until you are ready to resume your sport or activity. Physiotherapists can monitor your symptoms, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels during each stage of the RTP and adjust it accordingly based on your progress and tolerance.
Physiotherapy can help you improve your overall health and wellness. A concussion can affect not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional health. You may experience depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, or frustration as a result of your injury. You may also feel isolated or lonely if you are required to limit your social interactions or hobbies due to your symptoms. Our physiotherapists can help you cope with these negative feelings by providing you with support, encouragement, education, and motivation. Physiotherapy can also help you adopt healthy habits that can boost your mood and energy levels, such as eating well, sleeping well, staying hydrated, and managing stress.
As you can see, physiotherapy can be a valuable ally in your recovery from a concussion. Whether you are an athlete or a recreational player, whether you have a mild or severe concussion, whether you have acute or chronic symptoms, physiotherapy can help you achieve optimal health and performance.
If you are interested in learning more about how physiotherapy can help you with concussions or other injuries related to sports or physical activity, please contact us today. We are available to answer any questions you may have and provide you with the best care possible.
Interested in learning more about concussions? Check out these excellent resources from Canada’s Sport Information Resource Centre.