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Article Summary

A concussion is considered a “mild traumatic brain injury” caused by sudden impact to the head or body causing rapid head movement. A concussion can happen during sport or recreation, or from a fall, accident, or act of violence. A day or two of rest, followed by a gradual reintroduction of low(er)-risk activities, is commonly all that is needed for most people. Some may have ongoing symptoms such as neck pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vision issues, fatigue, balance problems, difficulty with exertion, unable to stay focused/on-task, or trouble thinking. For these persistent symptoms, a physiotherapist with training in concussion rehabilitation will design a plan for the safe return to exercise, daily activities, sport, or work… which is a huge help!

Having a thorough exam after a concussive event is very important in achieving a good outcome. Testing typically includes checking range or motion, movement quality, vision, balance, and any other problems that impact day-to-day function or activities. These findings will guide the treatment plan, which may include other health care providers to address specific findings that fall outside of the scope of physiotherapy.

Plans should include education about concussions and how to self-manage, including activity pacing, rest, and sleep hygiene, as well as knowing the signs to watch for that would require a follow-up with your physiotherapist or other health care provider. Plans may also include neck exercises, aerobic exercise/cardio, vision exercises, and/or balance and coordination exercises.