What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury caused by acceleration or deceleration of the brain within the skull following a significant impact to the head or elsewhere on the body. The impact causes a biochemical imbalance within the brain cells, resulting in decreased blood flow and temporary energy deficits within the brain. Symptoms may include loss of consciousness, headache, pressure in the head, neck pain, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, or balance problems, among others.
How can FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers Help?
Physical therapy programs for post-concussion symptoms (PCS) often use a specialized therapy called vestibular rehabilitation (VR), which helps you orient yourself during dizziness symptoms. Dizziness can be described many ways, but the most common subtypes of dizziness are:
> Vertigo: A feeling of spinning or turning
> Lightheadedness: A sense that you might pass out or floating sensation
> Imbalance: A feeling of unsteadiness when getting up, standing, or moving
> Motion Sickness: A sense of nausea or irritable stomach
> Behavioral: A feeling of apprehension, possible anxiety associated with your symptoms
Exercises For VR Include Three Primary Approaches:
> Adaptation Exercises: these exercises teach the brain to adapt to the dizziness feeling you might be experiencing. An example is riding a bicycle with the handlebars crooked. Your brain has to adapt to the error it is getting through practice but over time you learn and adapt. This might be a similar feeling driving a car out of alignment.
> Habituation Training: This training is used to desensitize you to the dizziness you are experiencing through repetitive movements. Think of how a figure skater can spin so fast and not get dizzy? They actually do in the beginning by habituate over time.
> Substitution Exercises: Sometimes the two exercise approaches will not completely resolve your dizziness, so you may need to substitute with using more vision or surface cueing. A perfect example is walking on an icy sidewalk. You have to increase your surface cues and feel more through the ground to navigate the unstable surface.
Symptoms of a concussion can be quite varied, depending on the nature of your injury, as well as your age and gender. Some problems for which people seek physical therapy for concussions include:
> Weight loss or weight gain
> Ongoing headaches
> Loss of balance and frequent falls
> Dizziness and lowered blood pressure
> Muscle weakness and spasms
> Decreased sex drive
> Sudden loss of menstruation
Concussion Quick Facts
> Helmets and mouth guards do not protect or reduce the risk of concussion
> 90% of concussions do not result in loss of consciousness
> MRI and other diagnostic scans show structural damage in the brain, and do not identify energy deficits caused by concussion
> Symptoms of concussion typically go away in 7 – 10 days; however, the actual recovery of the brain can take much longer