How Physical Therapy Can Help After a Concussion
More than 1 million mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) nationwide each year. In the past, when someone had a concussion, they might have gone home and gotten some rest. But now, with the help of physical therapy, you can regain your strength and balance before you ever leave your doctor’s office or clinic.
A concussion can cause TMJ pain and dysfunction, making it difficult to eat, speak, or move your mouth. This can lead to problems with eating and speech, headaches, and neck pain. It’s so important that you get treatment right away after your injury. If left untreated early on, your symptoms could become more severe over time.
What is a Concussion?
Did you know about 10-20% of people experience prolonged post-concussion symptoms, which can persist for days or even weeks? Concussions are a common type of brain injury ranging from mild to severe. They occur when the head is hit or bruised or violent movement inside the skull. It’s important that you understand what a concussion is and how it happens so you can take steps to protect yourself and others during times of high stress.
Concussion treatment may include rest at home, and physical therapy and Breakthru Physical Therapy can help you recover safely at your own pace.
What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury resulting from a bump, blow, or hit to the head. When you get a concussion, your brain swells or may shrink. Over time, the brain heals itself, but it may take time before your symptoms disappear entirely.
Common symptoms include:
- Vomiting (which may be severe)
- Restlessness or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in the ears
A concussion is usually accompanied by one or more symptoms that can appear immediately after the injury but may not manifest for hours or even days afterward. If you have any of these symptoms after a blow to the head, seek medical attention immediately!
What are the Most Common Causes of a Concussion?
Many factors contribute to a concussion. The most common causes are:
- Blunt force trauma to the head or neck (e.g., slamming into a hard surface)
- Sliding or hitting the head on an object (e.g., getting hit in a door frame)
- Being in an accident and hitting your head (e.g., car accident, motorcycle accident)
- Getting hit with something heavy, such as a ball or sports equipment
- A sudden jolt to the head can also cause brain injury.
For more information about our concussion rehabilitation program, call us today!
How Can Physical Therapy Help After a Concussion?
When you get a concussion, it’s natural to wonder if there is anything you can do to help yourself recover. While some people recover on their own, others need extra support and care. Physical therapy can be an important part of your recovery from a concussion but should not be viewed as a replacement for medical treatment.
Physical therapy may be recommended for people who have experienced a concussion that lasts longer than seven days or who have lost consciousness for more than 3 minutes (depending on the severity of the injury). Breakthru Physical Therapy aims to help your brain heal by building strength and flexibility in the areas affected by the injury. This process can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months, depending on how severe your concussion was and how quickly you respond to treatment.
The type of physical therapy that’s right for you will depend on your symptoms and what caused them in the first place. Balance exercises will likely be most helpful if you’ve had an impact-related concussion, typically involving rapid acceleration or deceleration forces.
What are the Treatments a Physical Therapist Would Use for a Concussion?
The treatments a physical therapist would use for a concussion are:
- Ice and Heat – Ice can reduce swelling in the brain and make headaches go away faster. Ice packs can be applied directly to the head for about 30 minutes. Heat can help reduce pain and swelling by increasing blood flow through the brain tissue and reducing inflammation caused by the injury itself.
- Rest and recovery – Many patients with concussions need to rest their brains and body during recovery. They must avoid physical, thinking, and remembering activities and get a good night’s sleep to prevent symptoms from worsening.
- Restoring strength and endurance – Rest alone can lead to deconditioning of your body, so rest and recovery after a concussion means you will “get out of shape.” Our trained clinicians will prescribe a graded neuro-muscular and endurance training program for patients to help them return to daily activities or sporting events.
- Stopping dizziness and improving balance – If you experience dizziness after a concussion, it may be due to injuries to the vestibular system. We can help reduce or even eliminate this symptom by using specialized treatment and training techniques that may include:
- Strength and motion exercises
- Eye exercises
- Hands-on techniques
- The use of specialized balance devices
What to Expect Before and After a Physical Therapy Session for Concussion Treatment?
Here are some things you can expect before and after a physical therapy session for concussion treatment:
Before a Physical Therapy Session:
- You may feel dizzy or lightheaded when getting out of bed in the morning. This is due to blood pooling in the head area, which is normal after a concussion.
- You may also feel sleepy during the day; however, if this happens after taking medication, tell your doctor so they can adjust your dosage accordingly.
- If you have headaches, they might last longer than usual or be more intense.
- If symptoms don’t appear to improve, consult your healthcare provider today.
After a Physical Therapy Session:
Even though physical therapy can help speed up recovery after a concussion, it is important to listen to your body and take things slow. Monitor your symptoms and show up for your regular sessions as your physical therapist recommends.
Why Choose Breakthru for Physical Therapy to Treat a Concussion?
Breakthru Physical Therapy offers various treatments for people with a concussion. As physical therapists, we aim to help you recover from your injury and feel less overwhelmed. We know how hard it can be to focus on your recovery, but with the right plan in place by a trained physical therapist, you’ll be on your way to recovery faster. For More Information About Our Concussion Rehabilitation Program, Call Us Today.