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Physiotherapy for Concussions

A concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the face, head, or neck. A concussion can cause varied symptoms, ranging from unnoticeable to obvious. Here, our Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre team of physiotherapists will walk you through the causes, symptoms and physiotherapeutic treatments for concussions.

What is a Concussion?

Concussions are a relatively common form of mild traumatic brain injury. Since they can result from any sufficient blow to the head, they are most common in individuals who engage in activities where such things would happen relatively often, such as sports like hockey or American football. 

When a brain is jostled by a blow to the head, neck, or face, it can damage the brain and make it difficult for brain cells to function and communicate. It is estimated by the Brain Injury Institute that between 1.8 and 3 million concussions occur each year in the United States as a result of sports and recreation activities. 

Symptoms of a Concussion

Concussion symptoms can appear any time from the moment you have sustained a blow to your head to minutes or hours afterwards. Symptoms can vary based upon the severity of the concussion. The symptoms of a concussion can be divided into two categories: those you can self-report and those others can observe in you. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a concussion:

  • Difficulty remembering the time around the injury
  • Individual looks dazed or stunned or seems confused 
  • Person moves more clumsily than usual and answers slowly 
  • A loss of consciousness, even briefly 
  • The individual shows changes in behavior, personality, or mood
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache or a sense of pressure in the head 
  • Problems with dizziness, balance, and double or blurry vision
  • Unsettled by noise and light 
  • Confusion
  • Issues with concentration or memory

Treatment for a Concussion

It usually takes anywhere from 7-10 days for the symptoms of a concussion to subside. However, it can sometimes take much longer.

Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for alleviating and managing the symptoms of a concussion. A sports medicine and physiotherapy clinic will be able to provide a number of different treatment plans tailored to your needs and the symptoms of your concussion. 

During your initial appointment, your physiotherapist will ask you for as much information as possible about your injury, your symptoms and your medical history. They will then conduct a comprehensive physical exam of your neck and back to ensure they have not been injured as well. 

Depending at what stage of healing from your injury you are at, your physiotherapist will either recommend lots of rest until you have healed more, or will start on their treatment. Rest is an incredibly important part of healing from a concussion. Exerting yourself too soon can lead to worsening of your condition. 

After your have rested enough, your physiotherapist will begin treatment. This can involve a number of different exercises depending on your specific injury, but can include exercises to strengthen neck and back muscles, balance training to help restore vestibular function, ocular reflex training to dispel visual disturbances you may be experiencing, and an exertion plan for easing you back in to your usual level of physical activity.

At Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre, our concussion rehabilitation programs are designed not only to help you recover from your injury, but to help strengthen your body so that you are more resistant to such injuries in the future.

Do you suspect you have suffered a concussion recently?

Our team of specially trained physiotherapists are here to help you recover.

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Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.

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