What Is Concussion Management?

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries. While typically considered mild, they can have significant physical and psychological consequences and should never be taken lightly. Concussion management revolves around the timely identification, evaluation, and appropriate treatment of concussions to optimize outcomes and recovery. 

Proper and timely treatment is essential to protect brain health and mitigate potential long-term consequences of concussions. As a result, FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers offers concussion management in Woodlands, TX for our Patients.

Understanding Concussions

A concussion is a mild form of brain injury, caused when the head gets suddenly knocked or jolted. Forceful impacts cause the brain to move rapidly within the skull, leading to the disruption of brain function. Concussions can result in a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Common symptoms of a concussion include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light or noise, nausea, and changes in mood or behaviour. It’s important to note that symptoms may not always appear immediately after the injury, and some individuals may experience delayed onset of symptoms.

Treating Concussions 

As concussions can cause such a wide range of problems, it’s vital to get treatment as soon as possible. Proper and timely treatment for concussions is essential for several reasons:

  • Preventing secondary injury: If a concussion is not managed appropriately, there is a risk of further damage – known as a secondary injury. This can lead to more severe consequences, including prolonged recovery, long-term cognitive impairments, or even permanent disability.
  • Mitigating long-term effects: Repeated concussions, especially without adequate time to fully heal, can have cumulative effects on the brain. 
  • Promoting faster recovery: By treating the symptoms and allowing the brain to rest, patients have a better chance of returning to their regular activities more quickly.

Proper treatment can help protect overall brain health. As a result, a systematic management approach is usually used to assess, evaluate, and treat concussions. This includes the following: 

Identification And Assessment

The first step in concussion management is recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion. It is essential to be over-cautious when it comes to a suspected concussion, especially in scenarios where head trauma is involved, such as during sports activities or accidents.

Once a suspected concussion is identified, immediate removal from the activity and evaluation by a qualified healthcare professional is imperative. A comprehensive assessment will be conducted, which may include neurological examinations, cognitive tests, balance assessments, and imaging studies like CT scans or MRIs. 

Rest And Recovery

After a concussion diagnosis, doctors will typically prescribe rest and limited physical and cognitive activity. This rest period is vital for the brain to heal and recover from the injury. Rest helps reduce or avoid activities that can exacerbate symptoms, such as using electronic devices, watching screens, reading, or participating in physically demanding activities.

The duration of rest and recovery varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the concussion. It is essential to have regular follow-ups with healthcare professionals to monitor progress and make appropriate adjustments to the treatment plan.

Graduated Return To Activity

Once the symptoms begin to subside, a gradual return to activity can be initiated under the guidance of a healthcare professional. A physical therapist is often involved at this stage to develop a return-to-activity protocol following a multi-stage approach that allows the brain to adapt to increasing levels of physical and cognitive stress slowly. 

This may include starting with gentle exercises such as Pilates or a home exercise program, and then progressing to resistance and strength exercises as symptoms improve. As balance is commonly affected by a concussion, the physical therapist may also prescribe balance or vestibular exercises to help improve any stability issues.

If symptoms recur or worsen during any stage, progression is paused, and the patient returns to the previous stage until they are symptom-free once again. 

A Multidisciplinary Approach: The Key To Holistic Treatment

Concussion management benefits from a multidisciplinary approach involving various healthcare professionals. Neurologists, sports medicine physicians, neuropsychologists, physical therapists, and athletic trainers collaborate to provide comprehensive care to those with concussions.

This team approach ensures that all aspects of concussion recovery are addressed, including physical rehabilitation, cognitive therapy, and emotional support. Furthermore, communication between the healthcare team, coaches, parents, and the individual with the concussion is essential to coordinate care effectively.

Physical Therapy For Concussion Management 

Concussions may be mild, but they should never be underestimated as their impact can be far-reaching and devastating. Concussion treatment is essential for safeguarding brain health and ensuring a safe return to normal everyday activities. 

At FYZICAL, our physical therapy Woodlands team works together to provide optimal care and support for individuals with concussions. Our goal is to create a safe environment for patients to recover safely and efficiently. 

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