A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. A concussion could occur from stress on the brain tissue when it bounces around in the skull. A concussion could be a result of a direct blow to the head, but a direct impact to the head is not required. Effects of a concussion are usually temporary and can include headache, problems with concentration,
memory, balance, coordination, nausea or vomiting, amnesia, loss of consciousness, dizziness, slurred vision and confusion. If you think you or a loved one has a concussion, you should always see a doctor to be assessed. With the help and guidance of your doctor and if necessary your physiotherapist or other appropriate health care professional you will gradually return to activity and sport when it is safe to do so.
The good news is that 80-90% of concussions will resolve in 7-10 days, although it may be a little longer in adolescents and children. Early cognitive rest and physical rest is very important to help allow the brain to heal itself. It is also really important to stay well hydrated and eat well to ensure that you have energy available for the body to use to heal itself.
If you have neck pain, prolonged headaches, dizziness, or difficulty progressing through the stages of recovery a Physiotherapist can be a helpful professional to assist you with your recovery.
A Physiotherapist has the skills to assess muscles, joints, strength, movement. balance and coordination. They can come up with a tailored exercise program to meet your needs, help with pain and improve function. A Physiotherapist with vestibular training or a Vestibular Physiotherpaist can be helpful in determining the source of dizziness and balance issues if present and often assist with a concussed client's recovery.
Your doctor and physiotherapist can help educate you on the safe way to work through the graduated stages (See below) or guidelines in order to safely return to sport. It is very important to always get medical clearance from a doctor before you return to contact sport after you have had a concussion. That is you must get medical clearance before you move from stage 4 to stage 5.