A Physical Therapist Can Help You Rehab After A Concussion

There are approximately 3.8 million concussions sustained in the US per year. Concussions (or mild traumatic brain injuries) can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports or any type of injury where a bump or jolt to the head and/or neck occurs. 85-90% of people who sustain a concussion recover from symptoms in just a few weeks with proper care. For the small percentage of people who take longer to recover from a concussion, physical therapy can help in many ways.

The statistics on concussions can be difficult to accurately measure, as it is in many cases dependent on the athletes themselves to self report. There can be confusion on what really is a concussion and there can also be fear on the part of the athlete as they don’t want to miss out or be seen as weak. Here are more statistics on sports concussions in the US:

  • 33% of all sports concussions happen at practice
  • 47% of all reported sports concussions occur during high school football
  • 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season
  • 33% of high school athletes who have a sports concussion report two or more in the same year
  • 90% of most diagnosed concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness

Concussion Signs And Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include 1 or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness, balance problems
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Blurry or double vision,
  • Difficulty reading or comprehending
  • Feeling of fogginess
  • Headache
  • Neck pain and/or light sensitivity
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability and fatigue

These symptoms can last for a day or even several months. If you are having severe symptoms, it is important that you have a good medical team managing these symptoms. A physical therapist is a great addition to any healthcare team, especially after a concussion.

How Can A Physical Therapist Help?

One of the most important things a PT can help with is educating the person and their family about the concussion process, what to look for, and how to manage the above symptoms. Physical therapists are trained to perform a comprehensive examination looking at all of the symptoms, can pinpoint the main problems, and will design a specific rehabilitation program to resolve the symptoms quickly and return you to life and activities. You can rest assured that your PT will be looking out for your best interest.

Becky Bliss, PT, DPT, NCS, c/NDT has been a physical therapist for 15 years. She teaches the neurological rehabilitation track at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, KS and practices in the specialty of vestibular rehabilitation and concussion management. She believes in the “team” approach to rehab after a concussion which commonly includes visual, vestibular, cervical and manual therapies combined together to retrain the brain effectively. Becky lives in Parkville, MO with her husband Bill and 3 kiddos.