What is concussion? – A mild traumatic brain injury without evidence of structural damage, often with a concurrent neck injury. Patients may experience anything from dizziness, headache, light/sound intolerance, emotional symptoms, neck pain, and particularly intolerance to physical activity. Concussions are common in sports, vehicle accidents, or falls (especially in children and elderly).
A concussion is a multi-faceted injury that can impact your ability to participate in school activities, work, sports, or just general daily activities. There are many systems in the body that are affected, and physical therapy can help determine which systems are most affected. This may include difficulties with balance, neck pain, movement or exercise intolerance, oculomotor (eye movement), or dizziness (vestibular or cervicogenic). I will work with you to understand the pathophysiology of concussion and how to best manage your symptoms to ensure a successful and safe return to activity.
Treatment approaches have evolved in the last several years to support a more active approach to recovery, rather than a “rest and wait” approach. When properly managed, most patients will be able to return to activity sooner and safer.
There are many factors dictating patient outcomes following concussion, but research has shown that the factor that is most predictive of positive outcomes (successful return to play, less long-term effects) is the time to presentation. So, the earlier the patient is seen by a trained healthcare professional following concussion, the better off they will be in the long run.
New research in the last few years has shown that prolonged rest can lead to poorer outcomes. Early exercise and movement are critical to ensure a successful return to school, work, and sport. In addition, avoidance of triggers (such as wearing sunglasses indoors) is no longer supported by the research as beneficial and can hinder recovery.
Heidi McGill has studied and been trained on concussion rehabilitation through continuing education courses offered by Banner Concussion Center in Phoenix, AZ, as well as Complete Concussion Management, Inc. (CCMI) in Toronto. She is trained in management of both acute concussion (less than one week) as well as management of persistent concussion symptoms (PCS) whether they be weeks or years later.
Her treatment approach would include a thorough assessment to determine symptom triggers, including oculomotor testing, balance testing, exercise, vestibular dysfunction, and a thorough exam of the cervical spine. Heidi can work with your doctor and coach to determine the right plan of care for you, including return to play and return to school.
If you think you have sustained a concussion and need help returning to normal, Innova can help support you and guide you through your recovery. By applying modern research, along with years of clinical experience and compassion, Heidi can get you back to your prior self as quickly as possible. Just give us a call.