If you’ve been following our blog for the last few weeks, you’ll have a better idea that physical therapists can help you in a broad range of categories. We’ve talked about cancer, vertigo, lymphedema – all things beyond treating an acute injury.
To continue that theme, we want to talk about concussion. While commonly associated with sports, concussions can happen with any impact to the head – it doesn’t have to be playing football. A concussion can occur if something heavy falls on the head, or if someone is in a car accident and it jolts the head and neck forward. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Some are more severe than others, but we take these types of injuries seriously. Physical therapy then involves the treatment of post-concussive syndrome, which may involve neck pain and headaches, dizziness or vertigo, or decreased cervical (neck) range of motion.
A comprehensive evaluation for concussion includes assessing eye movement and control, cervical and thoracic (upper back) range of motion, vestibular assessment (looking at the inner ear for vertigo or balance issues and dizziness) as well as functional assessments. Is someone able to do their normal work duties? Are they dizzy or have difficulty concentrating at work? Can they drive? We also want to assess cardiovascular function to ensure any dizziness or lightheadedness isn’t associated with blood pressure.
The brain will heal, but physical therapy can move things along to improve function. We can address range of motion restrictions, as well as the vestibular issues that can arise with concussion. Dizziness can be a common symptom with concussion, and therapists determine whether this can be addressed with vestibular exercises or if a referral to a neurologist is appropriate. Neck pain and headaches can come along with a concussion, and physical therapy can help to address it so it doesn’t become a chronic issue. The earlier someone can begin rehabilitation, the better. (That’s the theme of the month!)
So, if you have a history of concussion and feel like you’re not quite back to normal, don’t fret. Choose PT and come and see us today!
By Laura Vroman