Post-Concussion Rehabilitation

Customized Post-Concussion Rehabilitation

If you are a football or soccer fan, you regularly hear about athletes undergoing concussion protocol. Sports collisions alone are responsible for up to 3.8 million concussions each year.1 A concussion, the result of a hit to the head or a whiplash-like action that shakes the brain, can result from car crashes, bicycle accidents, fall, etc. 

So, what happens to the brain when you get a concussion?

When your head is hit hard, the brain moves against the skull and damages brain tissue, causing a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that can result in temporary loss of some brain functions. Concussion symptoms may appear immediately after the injury or days or weeks later, with the most common being headache, dizziness (a sense of disequilibrium and imbalance more often than vertigo) and nausea.2   It’s important to remember you don’t need to have a loss of consciousness to sustain a concussion. 

Every concussion is a serious injury, so the sooner you are evaluated by a healthcare provider and begin rehabilitation, the sooner your symptoms may resolve with no lasting damage. Most patients will make significant progress with a concussion rehabilitation program, and concussions usually resolve within 1 to 3 months with a personalized rehabilitation program. However, some patients experience long-term physical, cognitive and emotional effects and need a longer-term, specialized plan to treat those symptoms.

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS)

If concussion symptoms persist longer than three months, you may have PCS. Your risk of PCS increases with every subsequent concussion, number of concussion symptoms or a history of behavioral or certain brain-related conditions. If left untreated, PCS symptoms may last years or decades. 

Symptoms of PCS include many typical concussion symptoms but these may also be present:

  • Body temperature irregularities
  • Heart rate issues
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Chest pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Reduced alcohol tolerance

Concussion Rehabilitation

Every concussion’s symptoms are unique, so your post-concussion rehabilitation is customized to treat your specific symptoms. Your health-care team will evaluate your vision, balance and eye movements. They will ask questions about your symptoms and about the event that caused your concussion. If your doctor suspects you have a serious concussion, a CT scan or MRI of your brain may be ordered.

Post-concussion, your brain needs at least a few days to rest, with no intense thinking or physical activity during this time. In fact, resting your brain and giving it a chance to heal is important for any level of concussion. 

After the initial resting period, your concussion rehabilitation will begin and continue until you are symptom-free.

Your post-concussion rehabilitation may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Vision therapy
  • Balance & Vestibular therapy
  • Headache management
  • Neuropsychology
  • Nutrition counseling

Your health-care team will work with you through the dynamic changes that happen during concussion rehabilitation, to get you back to school, work, exercise, sports and other activities as quickly as possible.

For more information about concussion therapy at Penn Therapy & Fitness, call 877-969-7342 or visit our concussion therapy page.

1. Langlois JA, Rutland-Brown W, Wald MM. The epidemiology and impact of traumatic brain injury: a brief overview. J Head Trauma Rehabil.

2. Physiopedia, Post-Concussion Syndrome.

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