Concussion Management

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Concussion Management

Throughout the United States, it is estimated that more than two million concussions occur each year. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is caused by either a direct force/blow to the head or a force transmitted through the body to the head. Concussions can be caused by falls and car accidents - or any other situation where the head receives a sudden jolt. At Centra Rehabilitation we provide a comprehensive Concussion Management Program with specially trained experts who provide individualized concussion evaluations and rehabilitation programs for adolescents and adults.

Every patient is carefully evaluated, screened, treated and monitored until they are fully recovered. An individualized rehabilitation program is designed and implemented by our trained staff to meet the specific needs identified in the evaluation and diagnosis. Each individualized program has safe and structured progressions.

Each Patient will receive:

  • Complete evaluation and physical examination
  • Cervical Spine Screening and Rehabilitation
  • Vestibular Screening and Rehabilitation
  • Oculomotor Screening and Rehabilitation
  • Graded aerobic training, balance training, agility drills and sports specific skills
  • Re-evaluation, monitoring and documentation at each session
  • Communication with physician and other healthcare providers
  • Slow to Recover and Gradual Return to Play protocols meet all requirements established by youth and high school athletic associations

Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

Concussions typically result in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, signs and symptoms may evolve over a period of minutes to hours. The following are common symptoms of concussion:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness (fatigue, forgetful or feels “foggy”)
  • Appears dazed, stunned or confused
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Difficulty concentrating/focusing
  • Shows imbalance/Moves clumsily
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Blurred vision/Double vision
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Answers questions slowly/Slurred speech

If someone suspects that a concussion has occurred, the injured person should stop the activity or sport immediately and be taken to the emergency room or to a physician to assess for other injuries, like a skull fracture, neck injury or bleeding on the brain.

If an individual has sustained a concussion, a physician will need to determine when the individual can return to activity, school, work or athletics. The time from being symptom-free and resuming activity varies by individual and can be helped significantly through concussion management and rehabilitation.

Managing Concussions

There are many myths and miscommunications about how to properly care for a concussed individual.   Receiving advice from a clinician highly trained in concussion management will help aide in recovery. When you or a loved one have sustained a concussion, the following advice can help to manage concussion symptoms: 

It's Okay...

  • Use Tylenol for headache
  • Use ice packs as needed for comfort
  • Eat a light diet
  • Initially, in the first week after concussion, taking naps and sleeping as needed is okay
  • Rest- no strenuous activity

It's Not Necessary...

  • Check eyes with a flashlight
  • Wake up every hour
  • Test reflexes
  • Stay in bed

It's Not Okay...

  • Drink alcohol or drive
  • Exercise or lift weights
  • Perform heavy or strenuous activity
  • Take ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen or NSAIDs medications until told it’s okay by a physician

FOLLOWING A CONCUSSION, REST IS THE KEY...The concussed individual should not participate in any sports, PE, recess, or other physical activities that increase normal heart rate. Limit activities that require lengthy mental activity or concentration (such as homework, jobs and video games), as this can make the symptoms worse. Get good sleep, and take naps if tired or drowsy.

Concussion Management Program

The days of sitting in a dark room to treat a concussion are over. Statistics have shown that as concussion symptoms begin to decrease, physical therapy has been shown to help recover balance, gaze stability, focus, gait and mood.

The assessment, diagnosis and treatment of concussions follow a specific process and must be handled on an individual basis. We understand that symptoms and recovery time are unique and develop an individualized plan of care that helps increase physical and mental activity.

Our job is to establish a supervised regimen in our centers and for home use that includes exercises to increase physical and mental activity without severely provoking symptoms or causing an increase in symptoms to the point where the patient cannot carry on with daily activity. Temporarily increasing the symptoms is necessary to return the patient to their prior level of function as we perform graded progressive exertion activity.  We facilitate an increase in aerobic capacity to help the brain meet the metabolic demand of physical tasks. We also teach coping strategies and how to work within the limitations of the symptom-provoking activities such as dizziness, headaches and vertigo.

Our trained and experienced licensed physical therapists work closely with the individual, referring physician(s), parents, coaches and employers to make sure the concussed individual is ready to return to play or activity without fear of long-term effects.

To request an appointment today for concussion management, please call us at 434.200.4200.