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I have a Concussion, can physical therapy help?

What is a Concussion?

Concussion is a traumatic brain injury that happens when the brain is violently shaken. It can happen during rapid change of movement or when taken a direct hit to the head. The injury can cause lasting effects on the brain. Only about 10% of concussion involve loss of consciousness, so loss of consciousness should not be your deciding facture on if you have a concussion or not. Concussions can cause physical, cognitive, behavioral problems, which can be short-term and long-term. The following are different causes of concussions:

  • Whiplash

  • Falls, where you hit your head

  • Injury to the head or neck

  • A blast or explosion

  • Violent blow to the head.


There are many symptoms of a concussion, which can be physical or cognitive. Symptoms of a concussion can start right away, within a few hours, month or even years after the injury. Some of the symptom of concussions are as follow, but not limited to:

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Balance and coordination issues

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Double or blurred vision

  • Sensitivity to light and sound

  • Slurred speech

  • Difficulty with short-term or long-term memory

  • Confusion

  • Depression

  • Growth problems

  • Muscle weakness

  • Chronic headaches or dizziness

  • Early dementia/chronic traumatic encephalopathy

How are Concussions diagnosed?

Concussion most be diagnosed by a health profession who performs careful testing. The health care provider will test your strength, coordination, balance, smell, memory, sight and cognition. If you are an athlete and had preseason neuropsychological testing, then the result of the test will be compared to your current state to determent if you have a concussion or when is it time for you to return to sport. Physical therapist will examine your neck for any injuries, which can cause pain, headaches, or dizziness.

How can physical therapy help with concussion?

Physical therapist will do many different kinds of test to evaluate what thing you need to work on as related to a concussion. Since concussion have many different symptoms, your therapist may do test on you that look at orthopedic and neurological issues. Because you need to rest during your recovery after a concussion you may have muscle weakness and decrease in physical endurance. It you have balance difficulty or dizziness after a concussion, you may need vestibular physical therapy. Vestibular physical therapy will work on your inner ear and its connection with your brain to improved your balance and reduce dizziness. Your physical therapy will perform different manual therapy techniques and exercises to reduce any neck pain, tightness, postural dysfunction, loss of range of motion, dizziness and headaches. Your therapist will help get you back to your normal activity or sport, so you do not re-injury or create more brain damage.

CAUTION: Concussions can potentially lead to long term brain damage. See your doctor or medical professional following any suspected head injury.

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