Concussion Management in Edmonton

Concussion Management Specialists in Edmonton

A concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain caused by direct force to the head and neck or other parts of the body, resulting in force being transmitted to the head. This may occur following a motor vehicle collision, sport-related injury or after falling. There is a range of signs and symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness.

These acute clinical signs and symptoms result from functional disturbances rather than structural injury to the brain. The disequilibrium can lead to headaches and fatigue as the brain works harder to do regular normal functioning. Usual structural neuroimaging studies will not show any abnormalities. However, it is essential to be assessed by a primary care practitioner (e.g. physician, on-field therapist) to rule out other structural damage to the brain following the initial incident (which may include neuroimaging studies).

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What should I do after suffering a concussion?

Physical and cognitive rest is often the first recommended treatment to help ease symptoms and promote recovery by minimizing the brain energy demands.    While it was previously recommended that people rest until they are symptom-free, current guidelines (2017 Concussion in Sport Group consensus statement) suggest that after a brief period of rest (24-48 hours), people can become gradually and progressively more active (physically and cognitively) while staying below symptom exacerbation levels.

Resolution of symptoms for most adults occurs in about 10-14 days and approximately four weeks for children. Persistent symptoms are defined as those lasting beyond these time frames.

A physiotherapist trained in concussion management looks to identify and provide management techniques in the following ways:

Examination and treatment of the neck and thoracic spine

Pain, stiffness and headaches can come from irritation to the neck and upper back. Treatment may include manual therapy, dry needling, acupuncture, therapeutic exercise and electrothermal modalities to these areas.

Vestibular rehabilitation

Some people can experience dizziness and balance issues. Specific exercises and management strategies can be provided to allow the vestibular system to adapt and return to normal functioning.

Early vision rehabilitation

Some people can experience an altered depth of vision and the ability to track objects. Targeted exercises can be prescribed to train the eyes to move accurately while maintaining attention and focus with or without moving the head.

Autonomic dysregulation

An individualized, symptom-limited aerobic exercise program is recommended for those clients with persistent abnormal symptoms related to unconscious bodily functions such as blood pressure, breathing and heart rate.

Cognitive functioning

Some people experience difficulty with their memory, concentration and focus. Exercises can be prescribed to help the brain to adapt, leading to improvement in these areas.

Other education and management strategies

  • Some people will experience sensitivity to light and sound. Strategies exist to help manage and improve these symptoms.
  • Many people will experience alterations in sleep and mood (including anxiety and depression) that may require referral to a psychologist.

Working as part of a team

A physiotherapist may work as part of a team of health care professionals, including the family physician, neuropsychologists, and vision therapists (optometrists) for those with persistent symptoms.

Concussion Treatment in Edmonton

Each person’s experience with a concussion is unique and multi-faceted. Our goal is to help provide you with the proper education and treatment in the first few days post-incident or if you have persistent symptoms. As part of a health care team, we strive to help reduce the impact of your concussion symptoms and return to normal functioning.