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Concussion Management

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 3.8 million people experience concussions annually in the U.S. These numbers may be underestimated because 50% of concussions go unreported/undetected (UPMC). The days of sitting in a dark room to treat a concussion are over. Our outpatient physical therapy concussion management program will ensure this serious injury is healed in the most efficient and safe manner.

Our Comprehensive Concussion Management Program Consists of:

  • Vestibular/Balance rehabilitation
  • Vision & coordination testing to help assess deficits
  • Baseline testing
  • Orthopedic evaluation of the spine, as well as other contributing factors that may be causing headaches or other symptoms
  • Return-to-play/activity program initiated once a patient is symptom-free to ensure safety
  • Speakers and accompanying educational materials available to parents, coaches, athletes and employees
  • On-site/On-field management to properly assess and effectively manage concussion injuries
  • Specialist referrals (neurologist, surgeon, etc.)

*This program is only offered at our Shelby Township location, but will soon be offered at all locations (Summer 2019)

What is a concussion?

Concussions occur as the result of a traumatic blow to the head that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. The sudden movement causes the brain to bounce and twist around inside the skull, stretching and damaging the delicate cells and structures inside your brain. This damage may cause physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms and problems, short-term and long-term.  Statistics have shown that as concussion symptoms begin to decrease, physical therapy has been shown to help recover balance, gaze stability, focus, gait and mood, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.  A concussion is a serious injury and requires specialized treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

There are many symptoms related to concussion.  They can affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some symptoms occur immediately, some a few hours after the injury and some show up months or even years after the event.

It is important to seek medical treatment immediately following any head injury. The risk of death or permanent brain damage from a concussion can be minimized by immediate and appropriate treatment from health care providers, like a physical therapist. Only health care providers have the knowledge and training to identify concussion in the maze of symptoms that can occur following a head injury.

Immediate and short-term symptoms

Physical symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Slurred speech
  • Glassy-eyed stare
  • Seizures

Cognitive (thinking) symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty with short-term or long-term memory
  • Confusion
  • Slowed “processing” (eg, a decreased ability to think through problems)
  • “Fogginess”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Worsening grades in school

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Decreased tolerance of stress
  • Change in personality or behavior

Longer-term symptoms

  • Loss of libido
  • Loss of menses/menstruation
  • Growth problems (children)
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic headaches or dizziness
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Early dementia/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (brain disorder)

Some concussion symptoms do not go away in the expected time frame. These symptoms may need further testing and treatment by a team of health care providers, which we will help recommend.

Extreme care should be taken after a concussion to prevent a second injury.

Athletes who suffer a concussion during practice or competition must be removed immediately from play, in order to prevent subsequent concussions and second-impact syndrome. A physical therapist will work to develop safety guidelines for return to play, return to work, and return to life’s daily requirements.

Longer recovery time may be required for those with a history of prior concussions, eye tracking/movement issues from childhood, migraines, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or a learning disability. It’s important to disclose your entire medical health history to your physical therapist.

Peace-of-Mind For The coaches, Parents & Athletes

The assessment, diagnosis and treatment of concussions follows a specific process and must be handled on an individual basis. We understand that symptoms and recovery times are unique and require an individualized plan of care. Our trained and experienced physical therapists work closely with the individual, referring physician(s), parents, coaches and employers to make sure the concussed individual is ready to return to play or activity without fear of long-term effects. If we feel the patient needs assessments from other medical professionals, we make those recommendations quickly.

Female athletes have higher rates of concussions than do their male counterparts (APTA). While concussions can occur during nearly any sport, they are most common in football, soccer, wrestling, hockey, basketball and lacrosse. When it comes to concussions, you can never be too careful or too concerned. Not all concussion management programs are created equal. Consider using our specialized, comprehensive, concussion management program or being part of our trusted referral list.

We want to ensure the best care possible when an individual suffers a concussion. Our physical therapists and athletic trainers stay current on all relevant state legislation, along with current research and rehabilitative techniques for training regarding concussion treatment and protocols.

To request an appointment today for concussion management, please click here or call 855-477-8463 today.