Post-Concussion Syndrome

Concussions are traumatic head injuries caused by a direct blow to your skull, shoulder, or neck. These incidents might cause headaches, dizziness, balance problems, and present difficulties returning to sports. These symptoms can disrupt your quality of life if they linger on for weeks. Specialized Physical Therapy offers a personalized post-concussion exercise 5-step protocol to improve your recovery and help you achieve your goals.

Overview

The skull contains cerebrospinal fluid that protects your brain from internal or external injuries when you jump or move too quickly in an upward direction. Concussions might occur when a head, neck, or shoulder injury is too direct and forces tremendous pressure causing the brain to impact the skull. Usual causes include automobile accidents, slip and fall injuries, and contact sports (i.e., ice hockey, football, soccer, amongst others).

In these cases, your brain slides back and forth rapidly, causing a whiplash reaction. Due to this, soft brain tissues might get affected when they collide with the ridges and convolutions present inside the skull. In turn, this leads to a painful head injury.  Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and coordination issues. You might experience slurred speech, mood swings, and memory lapses.

Symptoms might develop over time and escalate quickly. That is why you must look out for common signs of post-concussion syndrome to receive immediate treatment. The failure to do so can lead to irreversible consequences.  

Symptoms

Severe brain injuries can lead to medical consequences. They can alter your balance, thinking, mood, and cause physical ailments such as neck pain, muscle tension, muscle spasm, or even shooting pains.

Common signs include:

  • Confusion/difficulty in processing information
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness or unsteady gait
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Photosensitivity
  • Mood imbalance
  • A forceful collision can cause cervical whiplash injury, leading to neck pain and stiffness.

Without intervention, these symptoms linger on and escalate when your health and wellness get overlooked.

 This can lead to:

  • Chronic Headaches
  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Cognitive impairments (i.e., brain fog and memory lapses)

Overall, symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome affect your quality of life. They prevent you from continuing professional and social activities at your routine pace, often forcing you to become dependent on others.

Causes

The post-concussion syndrome usually develops after an external head injury or traumatic impact.

Common causes include:

  • Automobile accidents (i.e., head and/or cervical whiplash injury)
  • Slip and fall accidents may cause head trauma (i.e., these can occur at work, school, on the playground, etc.)
  • Contact sports injury in high-risk games (i.e., ice hockey, football, and even baseball)

Post-concussion syndrome is also common amongst:

  • Victims of physical abuse/domestic violence assaults
  • If someone was standing near a blast or explosion
  • If an individual received a blow to the neck, face, or head

In short, anytime an external force hits highly sensitive areas (i.e., head, face, and neck), it might lead to a sudden whiplash movement that results in a concussion.

Diagnosis

We begin consultation with a detailed physical examination. Our physical therapist will perform a series of tests to evaluate your vision, reflexes, balance, coordination, strength, memory, recall, and overall cognitive functioning. We compare current symptoms with your medical history, previous head injuries, and/or concussions. We determine if other existing factors also contribute to your current condition.

These details give us a better clarity of your unique condition. We use these details to develop a personalized concussion exercise protocol.

Treatment

Our treatment strategies focus on rehabilitation and recovery via concussion physical therapy exercises. These strategies and techniques require close supervision and advanced research to ensure that our program aligns with current post-concussion exercise guidelines.

Additionally, we will teach you some brain exercises after a concussion to improve cognitive capabilities and healthy functioning. These efforts result in improved brain health and performance (like better memory, maximized focus, and attention). Athletes receive goal-oriented post-concussion and functional training to minimize the impact of future head injuries.

It might require a post-concussion 5-step treatment program followed by many industry experts. The protocol requires patients to:

  1. Rest and Recover
  2. Initiate treatment with light aerobic activities (i.e., treadmill or bike at a slow speed).
  3. Increase post-concussion exercises and incorporate strength training into the program
  4. Practice sports-specific activities used in training sessions with beginners
  5. Return to sports after practicing the full range of motion during regular movements 

Consequently, our personalized approach accelerates recovery and allows you to return to your favorite activities, and mitigates potential risks.

Have you observed lingering effects of a recent head injury or concussion? Call 201-773-8851 or contact us HERE to book an appointment to talk to a physical therapist.  

Request a free consultation or give us a call to get started!