National Concussion Awareness Day recently passed, but with all of the recent discussion around Miami Dolphins QB, Tua Tagovailoa – Axes wanted to take some time to reinforce the basics of what to look for when one has sustained a concussion or mTBI (mild Traumatic Brain Injury.) A concussion can occur when the head hits a stationary object such as standing up and hitting your head on an object or when falling and hitting your head on the ground. It can also occur when a moving object comes into contact with your head such as a collision in sports. Concussions can also occur when there is rapid movement of the head that abruptly stops such as in a car accident.

Physical therapists often specialize in Vestibular Therapy – or the treatment of these head injuries. A skilled physical therapist will take you through a comprehensive assessment, with an understanding of the underlying condition, to develop the appropriate plan for you. Symptoms of a concussion can vary widely from one individual to another and can vary in intensity from one person to another. Concussion symptoms can span across multiple different areas of life.

Symptoms from a concussion can include, but are not limited to, any of the following: 

Physical Symptoms

  • Dizziness 
  • Headache
  • Balance Deficits
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Nasuea/Vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision

 Sleep Ramifications

  • Difficulty falling asleep 
  • Sleeping either more or less than usual 

Mood Changes

  • Anxiety 
  • Irritability 
  • Depression 

Cognitive/Mental Changes

  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Difficulty remembering information or tasks 
  • Difficulty with word finding 
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks 

How is a Concussion Diagnosed?

There is no single test used to confirm the diagnosis of a concussion, although CT scans, MRI, and x-rays are sometimes ordered to rule out more serious injuries. A concussion diagnosis comes from the combination of mechanism of injury, subjective reporting, and physical exam. If a concussion is suspected the person should be removed from the activity until they can be cleared by a medical professional.  

People who sustain a concussion may develop a wide range of symptoms and the rate at which people recover from concussion can also be different. According to the 4th International Conference on Concussion revealed that 80-90% of people recover from concussion within 7-10 days although some take longer than this. For those people who do not recover from their concussion on their own, physical therapy may help address the remaining deficits.  

The only safe number of concussions to have is zero.  With each concussion that an athlete suffers, the brain becomes more susceptible. Having a past concussion is a risk factor for having a future concussion, and having multiple past concussions is associated with having more physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms before participation in a sporting season. It is imperative for coaches and parents to encourage athletes to follow the rules of play which are designed to keep the athlete safe and also to educate athletes on the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

A concussion is for the most part an “invisible” injury, so honest self-assessment of symptoms is very important.  From there, following the advice of your doctor and physical therapist as they help to guide you through your recovery is vital. This is not a “no pain no gain” recovery!

Do you need guidance recovering from a suspected concussion? We strongly encourage you to get in touch with a healthcare professional. Axes Physical Therapy can see you as soon as today for a Free Injury Screening. Schedule today!

Kelsey was born and raised in Hermann, MO. She graduated from Maryville University in 2013 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and has been practicing in outpatient orthopedic settings for her entire career. She has had the opportunity throughout her career to impact the lives of hundreds of patients and she enjoys getting to know her patients on a greater level by spending time with them and getting to know the whole person. Additionally, she is a vestibular therapist and a certified ASTYM provider. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys playing volleyball and fishing, along with raising her daughter.

To schedule an appointment with Kelsey or any of our expert therapists, request an appointment online today!