Concussions classified as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and are as unique as the patient themselves.
Physical Therapy for Concussion Management in Kansas City
Concussion Physical Therapy
Each one presents differently and no one concussion is the same. Concussions are not always a direct blow to the head; it can just be a jolt of the brain inside the skull to be enough to sustain a concussion. New research comes out every day on concussion rehabilitation and it has shown to significantly improve an individual’s symptoms and return to sport, work, or normal life quicker.
What It Treats
Physical therapy can help with concussion-related injuries, including but not limited to:
- Sports-related concussions
- Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA)
- Falls with trauma to the head
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Double vision/blurry vision post-concussion
- Concussion-related dizziness
- Cervical pain
What is a concussion?
Many people aren’t quite aware of what getting a concussion truly entails. A concussion is a pathophysiological process caused by biomechanical forces that affect the brain and its functionality. Basically, a concussion involves some degree of force that disturbs the brain, causing symptoms such as headaches, nausea, double vision, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue.
Not all concussions are the same; therefore, they come with a wide range of symptoms and some people may recover faster than another, depending on various risk factors.
Keep in mind that every concussion is different. Even if you have had one before, it does not always mean you will experience the same symptoms next time. Plus, despite popular belief, a concussion doesn’t always mean you have “hit your head.” A concussion could simply stem from a force strong enough to drive the brain against the skull (i.e. whiplash). This comes from a phenomenon called “coup and countercoup,” which means the brain will hit the skull upon impact (coup), then backlash and hit the opposite side of the skull (countercoup). Regardless of how they came about, concussions typically resolve themselves within 2 to 3 weeks after the initial injury. However, you should always seek professional help and never assume each concussion will respond that way.
You will want to start with an evaluation from a physician who specializes in concussion diagnosis. From there, one of our experienced physical therapists at F.I.T. will jumpstart your recovery through concussion management and rehabilitation. We will address any deficits you may have and give specific individualized treatment so you can return to sport or work as soon as possible.
Proper treatment is crucial after a concussion to regain normal function during daily activities such as turning your head, reading, watching TV, and recalling memories. Therefore, our goal with each treatment is to diminish dizziness, enhance eye stabilization, and improve postural stability and dynamic balance.
Physical Therapy for Concussion Management in Kansas City: How it Works
A physical therapist certified in concussion management in Kansas City will conduct a thorough evaluation and examination to determine deficits in the vestibular system related to the concussion. This includes balance assessment, reaction timing, memory recall, vision, cervical ROM and strength, and vestibular reflexes. We will establish a treatment plan based on the patient’s severity of symptoms. Team collaboration is important with concussion injuries and if it deems necessary, you may need a consultation with a neurologist, neuro-optometrist and/or a physician who specializes in concussion management.
Physical therapy after a concussion is crucial because the brain still needs some form of strain and activity to heal properly. In previous decades, people believed that complete rest was the best way to recover, oftentimes inside of a dark room without stimulation. As more research has come out, medical experts now understand that some appropriate stimulation is key to exercising the brain while promoting a safe and healthy recovery. The amount of stimulation needed does depend on the severity of your symptoms, so it is always best to abide by the custom plan created by our concussion-management physical therapists. Instead of starting too fast too soon, we focus on starting with low-level activities that gradually increase as time passes.
For athletes specifically, it is important to have a baseline test done prior to an injury to better guide the treatment process should an injury occur. After an injury, a student will go through an assessment and a concussion management specialist will compare those results to the baseline. This can also help determine the severity of the concussion, allowing us to better cater our physical therapy care to the patient. Our number one goal in this case is to help an athlete return to play in the safest way possible. As a result, we create treatments that bring gradual changes, to ensure healing goes by smoothly and efficiently.
To return an athlete to play, it is vital to be sure that the concussion has fully healed. As much as our team would like for you to go back to doing what you love as quickly as possible, your health is more important. You cannot be the best athlete you can be with a lingering injury that could lead to more harm down the road. That means your reaction times, motor skills, and balance should be up to par before any kind of competitive play.
How F.I.T. Uses Concussion Physical Therapy
F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic aims to not only get you out of discomfort, but return you to activities that have been limited because of your concussion injury. We utilize soft tissue techniques such as A.R.T., Graston, and dry needling to decrease tension in muscles that have become irritated due to compensation from the concussion.
Our physical therapy for concussion management in Kansas City emphasizes re-educating the vestibular system through habituation, adaptation and substitution techniques and utilize exercises that are specific to the patient. The concussion therapists at F.I.T. place high priority on the patient’s specific goals and getting them back to their sport, work duties, or everyday activities better than before.
Post-concussion therapy doesn’t simply involve the head injury itself; rather, a concussion can affect other body structures and systems that may impact your daily activities. For example, a concussion can also cause pain in your cervical spine and the vestibular system (part of the inner ear).
Through our treatment we work to correct vision impairment and other symptoms that may have arisen from the concussion. We also give special attention to the cervical spine. If you have cervical movement patterns that are compromised due to soft tissue tension, we can pinpoint those issues to individualize your care. By isolating motion dysfunctions, our physical therapists can increase your range of motion and improve the efficiency of your musculoskeletal system.
Fortunately, our techniques focus on the overall health of the patient, focusing on all aspects that could have been impacted rather than only the concussion. We also help alleviate stress and pain which has arisen due to muscle compensation. After a concussion, you may notice some additional strain and tension as certain muscles are forced to work harder than usual, leading to even more pain and discomfort. However, through our concussion management healing process, we will treat the underlying soft tissue to release adhesions that could cause stiffness and irritation.
At the end of the day, we want to make sure we align our goals to yours. Whether you want to return to play or simply enjoy daily life with ease, we are here to provide the best treatments for your needs. That means we take time to sit one-on-one with every person who walks into our door. With F.I.T. your care becomes our priority. Our physical therapist will actively work with your physician, coaches, and any other personnel involved in your concussion healing. Through innovative techniques and our years of experience, our concussion management program can help you manage pain and return to what you love doing the most.
Is Concussion PHysical Therapy right for you?
Take a couple of minutes to tell us about your symptoms and pain areas. Prefer to chat over the phone? Call us for a free phone consultation.
Visit your local F.I.T.
Meet the team at any of our 7 locations: Lee’s Summit, Crossroads, Kansas City, Blue Valley, Olathe, Overland Park & Shawnee.