Navigating Concussion Recovery: Insights into Physiotherapy Techniques

ByM Umair

Mar 18, 2024

Concussion physiotherapy, also known as concussion rehabilitation or concussion management by physiotherapists, refers to the specialized treatment and rehabilitation techniques used by physiotherapists to address the physical symptoms and impairments associated with concussions. Concussion physiotherapy in Edmonton serves as a valuable resource within the community, offering essential support to empower individuals as they navigate their journey toward recovery and strive to regain their quality of life after experiencing a concussion.

Concussion Physiotherapy Techniques:

Concussion physiotherapy techniques focus on addressing the physical symptoms and impairments commonly associated with concussions, such as balance problems, dizziness, visual disturbances, neck pain, and decreased cervical spine mobility. Here are insights into some key concussion physiotherapy techniques:

Vestibular Rehabilitation: 

Vestibular rehabilitation aims to address dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems by targeting the vestibular system, which contributes to balance and spatial orientation. Techniques may include:

  • Habituation exercises: Gradual exposure to movements or positions that provoke dizziness to desensitize the vestibular system.
  • Gaze stabilization exercises: Improve visual stability during head movements to reduce dizziness and improve balance.
  • Balance training: Specific exercises to improve static and dynamic balance control, often using unstable surfaces or dual-task activities.
  • Canalith repositioning maneuvers: Techniques such as the Epley maneuver are used to realign displaced crystals within the inner ear, which are particularly effective in treating benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
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Visual Rehabilitation: 

Concussions can cause visual disturbances such as blurry vision, difficulty focusing, and eye movement abnormalities. Visual rehabilitation techniques may include:

  • Oculomotor exercises: Improve eye tracking, convergence, divergence, and smooth pursuit of eye movements through targeted exercises.
  • Near-far accommodation training: Enhance the ability to focus on objects at different distances to reduce visual discomfort.
  • Vision therapy: Target visual processing skills such as visual memory, visual-spatial skills, and visual attention to improve overall visual function.

Cervical Spine Management: 

Neck injuries commonly accompany concussions and can contribute to symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. Physiotherapy techniques for cervical spine management may include:

  • Manual therapy: Manual therapy involves methods like joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, and cervical spine manipulation aimed at enhancing cervical mobility and alleviating pain.
  • Strengthening exercises: Target muscles of the neck and upper back to improve postural stability and reduce strain on the cervical spine.
  • Postural correction: Education and exercises to promote proper posture and alignment to reduce cervical spine strain.

Progressive Exercise Program: 

Gradual introduction of aerobic exercise and sport-specific activities as tolerated to improve cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and functional capacity while monitoring symptoms closely. This may include a gradual return-to-sport protocol coordinated with other healthcare providers.

Symptom Management Strategies: 

Educational sessions and strategies are provided to address symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and sensitivity to light and sound. These strategies may involve teaching relaxation techniques, stress management, pacing activities, and environmental modifications to minimize sensory stimuli.

Multidisciplinary Collaboration: 

Working together with various healthcare professionals such as physicians, neuropsychologists, and occupational therapists to ensure comprehensive care and address all facets of concussion management.

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Navigating Concussion Recovery:

Navigating through the recovery process of a concussion can present challenges, yet individuals can take several crucial steps as follows:

Seek Medical Evaluation: 

If you suspect you have a concussion, it’s crucial to seek medical assessment from a healthcare provider experienced in concussion management. This guarantees an accurate diagnosis and the application of a suitable treatment strategy.

Practice Cognitive Rest: 

In the acute phase following a concussion, it’s essential to rest both physically and cognitively. This means avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms, such as screen time, strenuous exercise, and mentally demanding tasks. Adequate rest allows the brain to heal. Limit activities that strain cognitive function, such as reading, computer use, and multitasking, especially during the early stages of recovery. Gradually reintroduce cognitive activities as symptoms improve, but take breaks as needed.

Stay Hydrated and Nourished: 

Adequate hydration and nutrition are essential for promoting brain health and facilitating recovery. Be sure to maintain sufficient water intake and consume a well-balanced diet abundant in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Manage Symptoms: 

Utilize strategies to manage concussion symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. This may include medication prescribed by a healthcare provider, as well as non-pharmacological approaches such as rest, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness.

Engage in Physical Therapy: 

If advised by a healthcare provider, engage in physical therapy or vestibular rehabilitation to target balance, coordination, and other physical impairments linked to the concussion. A physiotherapist can create a customized exercise regimen to aid in restoring function and alleviating symptoms.

Monitor Progress: 

Monitor your symptoms and progression throughout the recovery journey. Take note of any alterations or setbacks and communicate them with your healthcare provider. Regular monitoring enables adjustments to be made to your treatment regimen as required.

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Follow Gradual Return-to-Activity Protocol: 

Once symptoms start to improve, gradually reintroduce physical and cognitive activities following a structured return-to-activity protocol. This protocol typically involves incremental increases in exertion levels while monitoring symptoms closely. It’s essential to progress gradually and not rush the return to normal activities.

Empowering Concussion Physiotherapy:

Let Momentum Physiotherapy in Edmonton be your partner in conquering physical obstacles through specialized concussion physiotherapy interventions. Utilizing a holistic approach, these clinics offer a range of services, including vestibular rehabilitation, visual therapy, and cervical spine management, to address the diverse array of concussion-related issues.

Concussion physiotherapy in Edmonton provides specialized care and expertise in addressing the multifaceted challenges of concussion recovery. Through collaborative efforts with other healthcare professionals, concussion management clinics ensure holistic care and support for individuals navigating concussion recovery. By working closely with skilled physiotherapists and maintaining dedication to their prescribed treatment plans, patients can embark on a path towards restored equilibrium and regain confidence in their daily activities.

By M Umair

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