Concussions & How a Physio Can Help | Nova Physiotherapy

Concussions & How a Physio Can Help

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Do you know someone who has suffered a concussion, or have you been through the experience yourself? A concussion can cause painful headaches, slow down your thinking, and force you to approach your life differently until you’ve recovered. 

Many people struggle with concussion recovery, regardless of its cause. It’s a long process, with most doctors advising that you rest, limit your screen time, avoid bright lights and loud music, and get some exercise when you can. Thankfully, there’s another option to help your concussion recovery journey: physiotherapy.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain injury that can happen because of a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or other part of the body. When enough force is exerted on the head, it can move your brain back and forth within the skull, leading to it temporarily functioning differently. 

Concussions can come from all kinds of sources. Some of the most common ways people get concussed are:

  • Car accidents (either from whiplash in your neck or hitting your head on something in the car)
  • Sports (especially contact sports like football, rugby, lacrosse, martial arts, and hockey)
  • Falling (especially in older people)

 

While these are some of the most common ways to get a concussion, it’s possible to suffer one while doing just about anything. The brain is surprisingly delicate, and it can often take less force than you’d expect to damage it.

Besides a persistent headache, which is the most common symptom of concussion, there are a few signs to look out for in yourself and your loved ones. Identifying these signs early can help to get started on treatment and recovery sooner. 

Signs and symptoms to watch for in others include:

  • Difficulty with recent memory, especially in the days leading up to and after the injury
  • Confusion, especially right after the event
  • Impaired motor skills (e.g. difficulty walking, standing up straight, writing, etc.)
  • Slowed thinking and speech
  • Loss of consciousness after the injury (even for a short time)
  • Uncharacteristic shifts in personality, behaviour, or mood

 

Concussion symptoms to watch for in yourself (or to pay attention to when reported by others) include:

  • Ongoing headache or a feeling of pressure in your skull
  • Issues with balance and vertigo
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Difficulties with focus and memory
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Depression

Treating a concussion with physiotherapy

As you can see, there are many potential issues that can be brought about by a concussion. If you’re experiencing the symptoms, it might seem like there’s nothing you can do except lie down and wait to get better. However, we’re glad to say that physiotherapy can be a great treatment option for concussion cases. Here’s how!

Physiotherapy can support the areas around your brain

While it’s true that physiotherapy can’t treat your brain directly, it can be used to help other areas which are responsible for supporting your brain. In time, treatments can help you manage your concussion symptoms, speed up your recovery, and get back to doing the things you love sooner.

We often treat the neck and shoulder areas of people with concussions, as these areas are usually inflamed after the initial injury. This is especially true for concussions caused by car accidents since we normally see whiplash in these cases as well. Through manual therapy and guided exercises, you can restore blood flow and mobility to these areas, reducing inflammation and relaxing them. Over time, this will help reduce the inflammation in your brain as well. 

A physiotherapist can help you find your balance again

One of the most common physio treatments for concussions has to do with the vestibular system, also known as the inner ear. This complex system is responsible for your balance, and can easily be knocked out of working order when you suffer a concussion. Through a carefully made, customized treatment plan of consistent exercises, your balance will improve and you’ll be steady on your feet again!

Physio can help you get back into exercise the safe way

For a long time, the medical consensus around concussion treatment was simple: rest, and lots of it. However, there’s now been new research to suggest that exercise might also help people recovering from concussions. A great physiotherapist will help you develop an exercise routine that is gentle yet still pushes your limits. This will improve circulation to your brain, and help it heal faster.

Do you need to get started?

If you or someone you know has been struggling with concussion symptoms, there’s hope. At Nova Physiotherapy, we work 1-on-1 with you to overcome this challenging recovery process!

No matter what kind of physio treatment you require, we ensure your plan is tailored to your specific needs and goals, and we’re always happy to adjust the plan as we go. To learn more about how our expert physiotherapist can help you recover from a concussion, or to get started straight away, contact us!