How to treat a concussion?

Every year, many people suffer a concussion (a mild traumatic brain injury), just like in the case we are about to discuss. In many instances, the concussion goes unnoticed, the symptoms are not recognized and the person affected doesn’t receive any follow-up. If you do recognize the symptoms, what should you do? Who can you turn to? Did you know your physiotherapist can treat a concussion? Do you know that regular follow-up will help you achieve a better recovery?

Have you considered a physiotherapist to treat concussions?

How to recognize that you have suffered a concussion? Can we say that without impact, there is no concussion?

No, absolutely not! Impact is not necessary! Concussion is an injury that affects the functioning of the brain and can be caused by a direct or indirect blow. Symptoms usually occur immediately after the accident, but can sometimes show up later.

In fact, 35% of concussions are not the result of an impact.

A young patient of our clinics, Michael, recently consulted us for neck pain combined with headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Michael is a trainer in a martial arts gym and he receives several hits to the head while training and fighting. He had symptoms of a concussion caused by repeated impacts to the head.

I had headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. – Michael

Gabrielle, a teacher, also arrived at the clinic with a concussion caused by a fall on a slippery surface. Gabrielle had the same symptoms as Michaël, in addition to light intolerance, nausea and vertigo.

In addition to headaches, I had intolerance to light, nausea and vertigo. – Gabrielle

Why should you consult a physiotherapist?

In Gabrielle’s case, she was referred to physiotherapy by her employer. Otherwise, she probably wouldn’t have had the reflex to make an appointment with a physiotherapist. As for Michael, pain rather than the symptoms of his concussion prompted him to seek help.

In 95% of cases, the symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury (MBTI) disappear within a month. Then why should you consult?

The reason is simple:

The physiotherapist will guide you through the steps to follow to return to work and leisure activities. He or she will treat the impact of MTBI such as muscular tension, stiffness and decreased muscular strength that it can cause.

Most importantly, the physiotherapist will work towards the complete resolution of symptoms by treating the concussion.

In some cases, a concussion that is not properly healed can lead to anxiety, depressive symptoms, sleep disturbances, and concentration or attention deficits.

Concussion treatment by the physiotherapist

The physiotherapist worked as a team with Michael to establish steps to follow in order to gradually return to combat sports. It started with a simple cardiovascular workout and progressed to to non-impact and then impact combat exercises. For Michael, physiotherapy treatments have helped reduce muscle tension in the cervical region and reduce headaches.

Michael finally returned to sports and no longer has concussion symptoms. However, he must be alert to the reappearance of symptoms.

For Gabrielle, the treatments allowed her to return to work without symptoms. Manual therapy and muscle relaxation techniques have greatly helped to reduce pain. Proper guidance from the physiotherapist was necessary to gradually resume her role with students. The school environment is very noisy and requires a high level of concentration. reatments also helped to resolve vestibular problems, i.e. short-lived vertigo caused by rapid changes in position, which had appeared after the accident.

Towards an optimal recovery

Consulting a physiotherapist following a concussion gives you the best odds for a quicker recovery. He or she will help you set up the best treatment steps for a return to your normal activities.

These steps will include a rest phase of a few days, progressive intellectual and physical activities, and then resumption of work and sports.

The physiotherapist can also treat the impact of the injury and refer you to other health professionals if needed.

Do not hesitate to make an appointment at one of our clinics if you or a loved one has suffered a concussion. The physiotherapist, along with the other health professionals of the CMI Clinics, will be able to optimize your recovery process and guide you until you return to your daily activities.

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Vincent has a master’s degree in  physiotherapy  from the University of Montreal.  Vincent brings his knowledge of skiing as an instructor for the Quebec Foundation for the Blind since 2014. He also works as a lifeguard for Patro le Prévost, one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Quebec.

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