Physical Therapy for Concussions?!?!?

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Concussions are a serious injury to the brain that can damage brain tissue and even change the chemical balance of your brain!  A concussion can be followed with physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, which can be either long term or short term.  Research has shown that approximately 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States EACH YEAR!  For most people (85-90%) concussion symptoms disappear within a few weeks, as long as they are under proper care.  For the rest of people, it may take longer to recover from a concussion.  In that case, physical therapy can make a difference.

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High School Sports & Concussions

Typically we think of concussions as being something that pro athletes would have to deal with.  Oddly enough 47% of all reported sports concussions occur during high school football!  Research has shown that 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season.  And 33% of high school athletes report 2 or more concussions in the same year!  For this reason, parents need to be better educated in treating concussions and how to seek help if concussion symptoms linger.

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Signs & Symptoms of Concussion

Usually concussions present with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness, issues with balance
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Neck Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Headache
  • Difficulty reading or comprehending
  • Irritability or fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood changes
  • Feeling of fogginess

After a concussion, these symptoms can last for either a day or several months.  For those individuals experiencing severe symptoms, having a good medical support team is necessary.  Adding a physical therapist to this team can be beneficial!

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How Can Physical Therapy Help?

There are many roles that a physical therapist can play when it comes to concussion treatment. One of the first ones of these is to be able to explain to the injured party and their family why activity should be limited after a concussion, until it is deemed safe.  It is vital for someone with a concussion to have this rest period so that the brain can heal and symptoms can go away.

After the rest period is over, a physical therapist can help the individual regain their strength and endurance.  Depending on the length of the rest period, a concussion can result in weak muscles and even a decrease in one’s physical endurance.  When the time comes, a physical therapist can help rebuild up strength and endurance so that you can return to normal activities.  They can also help with a reduction in headaches after a concussion and even stopping dizziness and improving balance.  After all the treatment, when the patient is back to normal, a therapist can help their patient return to their normal activity or sport seamlessly.

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If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a concussion, make sure that you get them treated properly and immediately!  Finally follow up with a physical therapist and make sure that you can get back to full health!

For more information on concussion or therapy after concussions check out:

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