Concussions: What are they and how can physical therapy help?
by Dr. Lisa Brekke, PT, DPT

Why See a Physical Therapist After Concussions?

Have you ever bumped your head or been in a car accident and felt like you weren’t quite right? Has it been weeks or months and these symptoms continue to persist? Most individuals who suffer from concussions will spontaneously feel better within 7-10 days. About 20% of individuals continue to have symptoms that persist past this point. These symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, light and/or sound sensitivity, eye pain/strain, nausea, imbalance, decreased concentration and focus, decreased memory, irritability, anxiety, and depression to name a few.

What are Concussions?

A concussion is a brain injury where the brain is moved violently inside the skull. This can occur with a rapid movement or a hit to the head. Loss of conscious only occurs in about 10% of people who have concussions. Common causes of concussion include work injuries, motor vehicle accidents, sport injuries, falls, and violence. Concussions often occur with other injuries, often to the neck.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

A physical therapist will do an individualized assessment to develop a tailored plan to address your specific deficits and allow you to return to the activities your daily life requires.

Potential deficits:

Physical Cognitive Emotional
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Speech
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light & sound
  • Foggy
  • Decreased concentration
  • Decreased memory
  • Confusion
  • Slowed processing
  • Irritable
  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Mood Swings
  • Aggressive
  • Decreased tolerance to stress

Your physical therapist will tailor your treatment to both your subjective reports of symptoms and what is objectively found in your examination. Your physical therapist should also provide you with education to help manage your symptoms in the meantime and allow you to gradually become more functional.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a concussion or you think you may have one we can help. Request a free screen or give us a call at 866-588-0230 for more information!