CSA Physio Blog

Has A Concussion Got You Down?

Posted on: April 29th, 2020 by Michelle Maliczewski

Concussion

The brain is the most complex organ in the body. It’s no wonder that after sustaining a concussion, there can be a vast array of symptoms including:

-headaches

-brain fog

-feeling irritable

-being off balance1.

Rest, rest, more rest:

If you have recently been diagnosed with a concussion injury, it is important to rest for 24 to 48 hours. Rest in this context means rest from the following:

-mental stimulation

-physical exertion

-environmental stimulation.

So yes, unfortunately this means no texting, television, reading, working out, playing soccer, and so on for the first day or two. Despite these inconveniences your brain will thank you for it.

Why is rest so important?

Rest is required for the brain to heal. After a concussion injury, something called a neurometablic cascade occurs in the brain. This means there are changes on a cellular level, leaving the brain in a vulnerable state. At this time, if you were to resume a stimulating activity like reading from your computer screen, you will notice it is much harder to do. The normal orchestra of brain events have been thrown off and it needs time to heal.

Ideas for restful activities:

-Listening to simple and non-fiction audiobooks and podcasts

-Knitting

-TED talks

-Mindfulness

-Quiet music

-Meditation

It has been 2 days, now what?

It is important to get back to your daily activities, but in a gradual way that includes breaks. This is because the neurometablic cascade mentioned above is still occurring in your brain. When gradually resuming your activities, be mindful to attend to your symptoms, and switch your current activity to something else if your symptoms worsen.

If your symptoms haven’t resolved in 10 days, then it’s time to seek some help. Physical Therapy may be a good choice for you.

Physical Therapy Treatment:

Based on your unique presentation, your treatment plan may include the following:

Education and advice on tools to help manage your symptoms including: sleep issues, noise sensitivity, visual strategies, and planning and pacing your day1.

-Postural education, joint mobilizations, soft tissue techniques, strengthening and somatosensory retraining exercises to address your spinal symptoms.

-Static, dynamic, and multi system balance exercises to help you move safely.

-Gaze stabilization exercises to help you process your visual environment.

-Habituation exercises to decrease motion sensitivity.

Canalith repositioning manoeuvres to treat BPPV.

All of that is just fancy ways of saying that we can help you decrease your symptoms and increase your ability to do daily activities and sports again. If you have had a concussion injury, and are still living with symptoms, seek a Physical Therapist with concussion training to help you during your recovery process.

Yours in health,

Michelle Maliczewski, PT

References:

  1. Concussion Rehab. (n.d.). Concussion Rehab.
  2. McGuire, S. CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP [PDF Document]. Retrieved from email: Lifemark email.”
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