Every year, millions of people in the U.S. suffer from concussion injuries. In fact, data shows that as many as three million concussions occur each year just as a result of sports and recreation-related accidents. That doesn’t take into account the concussions that occur as a result of car accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, and other accidents.
Without proper care, concussion injuries can cause long-lasting medical problems, including permanent disability. Even a “mild” concussion can cause permanent damage to the brain, which is why every concussion requires prompt attention by a medical professional. And if you think you can only get a concussion by a direct impact to your head, think again. Concussions can occur from indirect impacts too, like rapid back-and-forth movements of the neck and upper body.
Many concussions can be effectively treated as long as they’re diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Post-concussion rehabilitation can play an important role in treatment, helping to prevent long-lasting symptoms as well as permanent damage. Here’s how physical therapy can help you recover from a concussion injury.
What happens in a concussion?
Concussions are injuries that occur when your brain bumps against the inside of your skull. That can happen when you hit your head during a fall, for instance, but it can also be caused by an injury that causes an indirect “snapping” of your head. Shaken baby syndrome is one example of an indirect-impact concussion injury. Concussions that occur as a result of a car accident may be either direct-impact or indirect-impact injuries.
When the brain hits the side of your skull, it can cause bleeding and bruising inside your brain, and it can also cause chemical changes that affect the way your brain functions. Sometimes, it can take a while for subtle chemical changes to cause noticeable symptoms. And some symptoms, like fatigue, may be ignored and attributed to another cause.
Symptoms associated with concussions include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood changes
- Anger or irritability
- Problems sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or performing tasks like reading or remembering things
While a single, minor concussion isn’t likely to cause permanent brain damage, multiple concussions can, especially if a subsequent concussion happens shortly after the first one. That's why it's so important to seek skilled care after any concussion — even a minor one.
Immediately after a concussion, you should have complete rest. Unlike other injuries for which rest means kicking back with TV, a book, or social media, resting after a concussion means absolute, complete rest for your brain. And that means books, TV, computers, and other activities that require focusing are out. Your goal is to provide your brain with complete rest so it can focus all its energy on repairing damage and recovering normal function.
You should also seek medical care right away. In addition to being evaluated by your doctor, you might also have diagnostic imaging like a CT scan or MRI to provide detailed images of your brain and help determine the extent of your injury. Since the injuries caused by a concussion can become worse over time, it’s important to pay attention to any developing symptoms even if your evaluation doesn’t reveal significant issues.
At One Accord Physical Therapy, post-concussion rehabilitation helps you gradually return to your normal activities without “overstressing” your brain. Ideally, rehabilitation should begin as soon as possible after your injury to avoid the risk of a long-term impairment.
Learn more about post-concussion rehabilitation
The specialists at One Accord Physical Therapy are experienced in therapeutic management of concussions and other head injuries. Each treatment plan is carefully designed to suit the unique needs, symptoms, and medical history of the individual patient, so you can feel confident you’ll receive the best care every step of the way. If you’ve had a head injury, don’t leave your health and your future to chance. Contact the practice today and learn how post-concussion rehabilitation at One Accord Physical Therapy can help you.