What is a Concussion?

What is a Concussion?


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow or jolt to the head that results in the brain moving rapidly and contacting the skull.  This rapid movement, and contact with the skull, can result in sheering, damage, and tearing of brain cells.  This can cause chemical and metabolic changes, that changes how the brain communicates and controls various systems in the body. 

Signs and Symptoms in Concussions

Understanding the signs and symptoms of concussions are extremely important and allow for physical therapy to appropriately treat via symptom guided and graded exposed exercises.  The diagnosis of a concussion comes from a culmination of subjective tests (symptoms) and objective tests.

Concussion Symptoms Include (not limited to):

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Balance problems
  • Amnesia
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to Light and Sound
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Sleep Problems (More/Less)
  • Orthostatic hypotension

Concussion Treatment

Concussion treatment should be based on the symptoms a patient presents with a graded exposure.  Every concussion is different, concussion to concussion, person to person.  Therefore it is necessary to do a full assessment of the patient that looks at various systems (autonomic, vestibular, ocular, and cervical).  Rehabilitation for concussions has changed over the years to be progressive versus avoiding any symptoms.

As a rule of thumb, typically we want  to give the brain 24-48hrs of relative rest before we start treating.  Treatment can, and most likely, will look different from person to person.  The need for the 1st 24-48hrs of relative cognitive and physical rest is because the brain is suffering from chemical imbalances and needing of glucose and carbs. 

Active treatment is the ideal course of action, but being symptom limited.  As we look to return to sport or school or work, it is imperative to understand that accommodations may be necessary.  Concussion rehabilitation is no longer sitting in a dark room for extended periods of time.  It includes submaximal cardiovascular exercise, includes vision therapy, vestibular therapy, cognitive tasks, sport and work related activities. 

Services Provided

  • Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation
  • Virtual Reality
  • Optokinetics
  • Balance
  • Return to School/Work/Sport