A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain is violently shaken from a direct impact or rapid movement of the head. You may have heard the age-old advice to sit in a dark room to treat a concussion. Fortunately, those days are long over. It has been shown that physical therapy can significantly speed up your recovery from a concussion. There are many concussion rehab programs where a comprehensive examination will assess all the factors and symptoms of a concussion to prescribe the best routine and treatment plan possible. Here is what to expect during concussion therapy.
There is currently no clinical test to definitively diagnose a concussion. In addition, no two concussions are the same. Therefore, doctors will perform baseline tests to find out the exact causes and severity of your concussion. It is recommended that all athletes undergo a pre-season baseline testing exam to identify any undiagnosed concussions. During baseline testing, doctors will give balance and cognitive assessments like memory exercises and reaction time tests.
Don’t let the long name scare you – during a musculoskeletal evaluation, a physical therapist identifies and addresses your cervical spine’s contributing factors towards post-concussive symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. Musculoskeletal therapy includes various orthopedic tests, joint mobilizing exercises, stretches, and deep muscle maneuver technique training. This kind of therapy will greatly reduce the pain you may feel in your body as a result of your concussion.
Your vestibular (inner ear), visual, and somatosensory systems can also contribute to balance issues and dizziness. Your senses account for a large part of your daily actions, so if one or more of your sensory systems are impaired, it can make your concussion symptoms worse to manage and recover from. Balance training, habituation exercises, and gaze stabilizing are all part of sensory therapy.
Oculomotor, or eye, skills are critical when reading, writing, and concentrating. A concussion may impair all of that. During your physical therapy, you may undergo optometric vision therapy to help you regain your oculomotor skills. Your physical therapist may prescribe various eye exercises you can practice that will reduce the strain and pain your eyes may be feeling.
During your concussion therapy, your therapist may recommend you change your diet to help promote brain recovery. It is best to avoid junk foods, as they can contribute to inflammation and increase painful symptoms. Antioxidant-rich foods, on the other hand, can reduce nerve damage and thereby lessen other uncomfortable concussion symptoms you may be experiencing.
If you’re experiencing painful concussion symptoms, look no further than IMPACT Physical Therapy for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. We have various locations in and near Chicago, staffed with highly trained professionals who are dedicated to designing a personalized plan for helping you recover from your concussion. In addition to concussion therapy, we also offer a wide variety of other services for all of your physical needs, whether it be comprehensive injury treatment or athletic training. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and begin your concussion recovery.