I think I suffered a concussion. What now?June 16, 2015
A concussion occurs when there is blunt or force trauma to the head causing the brain to be bounced around in your skull. As a result of this, your brain experiences changes within its chemistry that manifest in different signs or symptoms.
Signs and symptoms: Listed below are some signs and symptoms you may experience if you suffered a concussion.
- Vacant stare
- Slower to answer or follow instructions
- Unaware of time, day, place
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Memory deficits
- Any period of loss of unconsciousness
- Headache with or without a migraine component
- Difficulty focusing or reading
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling slowed down
- Amnesia surrounding the injury (forgetting what happened before or after the injury)
- Sleep disturbance
It is important to note that you may or may not lose consciousness. And if you suspect you have suffered a concussion, it is important to seek medical care immediately, so your health care provider can properly follow up with you.
Where does a physical therapist come in?
A physical therapist can help manage the symptoms you are experiencing and help athletes return to his or her respective sport. No two concussions are the same and each patient will present differently. Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation examining your vestibular system, balance, and activity tolerance. The vestibular system is composed of your inner ear and its connections to the brain. It senses head movements, helps you keep your balance, and keeps your eyes focused while moving.
Based on your evaluation, the physical therapist will tailor a program specific to your needs. Common impairments seen are fatigue, headache, poor concentration, poor endurance, difficulty with eye movements, symptoms provoked by head movements, and balance deficits. A physical therapist will prescribe specific exercises to reduce or stop dizziness and improve balance.
Physical therapists also play a vital role in helping high level athletes and recreational athletes return to play. We can gradually expose you different intensities of exercise while monitoring your symptoms. It is important to work with a health care provider when returning to higher level activity because returning to soon can result in an increase in your symptoms and stop you from returning to your sport. For more information visit Total Performance Physical Therapy.