If you suffer a concussion, you may be thinking that the only course of treatment is rest and activity limitation to give your brain the time it needs to heal. While rest is certainly helpful in the short-term, after a couple days activity tends to be more beneficial for your brain. You may be surprised to learn that physical therapy is actually one of the most commonly recommended courses of treatment for moderate and severe concussions. In today’s blog, we explain how a physical therapist can help you recover in the aftermath of a concussion.
Concussions And Physical Therapy
Head trauma and concussions can change the chemical balance of your brain and nervous system and throw your entire body out of whack. Not only can a concussion cause physical symptoms like neck pain, balance issues and headaches, but they can also cause psychological and behavioral problems, like depression, anxiety and mood swings. Because of how wide-ranging and potentially severe symptoms of a concussion can be, it’s imperative that you actively treat the issue instead of just laying in bed and hoping that time heals everything.
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, or you have any symptoms that linger for longer than 10 days, it’s in your best interest to sync up with a physical therapist. Even if you’re not sure if symptoms are linked to your head injury, if you’re dealing with newfound fatigue, confusion, irritability, double vision, anxiety, sleep difficulties or dizziness, head to your primary care physician or a physical therapist.
The good news is that even though these symptoms may persist longer than you had hoped, they can typically be well-managed through physical therapy. If you present to a physical therapist’s office with concussion-like symptoms, likely the first thing they will do is ask about your injury and your symptoms, including what actions make things worse or better. From there, they’ll work to establish a baseline by having you perform some specific tests to help them better understand your strengths and deficits.
After their assessment, they’ll develop an individualized cognitive therapy regimen aimed at treating your specific symptoms. This could include a wide array of exercises, because concussions affect everyone differently. One patient’s concussion management plan may focus on improving coordination and balance through activities like catching a ball or standing on one leg for an extended period of time, while another patient’s plan may involve eye conditioning exercises and neck range of motion movements to help eliminate frequent headaches. There’s no one-size-fits-all therapy treatment.
Other Benefits of Physical Therapy
There are also a number of other ways that a physical therapist can help you recover from a concussion and transition back to normal activities or athletics. They can help gradually improve your cardiovascular health and your conditioning so that you’re not at risk for a related injury because you haven’t been able to be as active in recent weeks due to your concussion. Concussion management isn’t just about waiting a certain number of days and then just jumping back into activity like nothing happened. You need to be smart about how you approach treating your injury and returning to normal activities, and a physical therapist is well equipped to handle both of these aspects.
So if you are dealing with a concussion or a head trauma, and you just don’t feel back to normal after 5-7 days of rest and controlled exercise, reach out to a physical therapist and let them help put your symptoms behind you. Not only can we help treat the symptoms of your concussion, but we can also help ensure that your body is ready to handle the rigors of physical activity before you try to get back to normal life. Don’t let the symptoms of a concussion linger because you didn’t actively treat them, sync up with a physical therapist and let them help you get back to full health. For more information, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.