REST.. RESt .. REst .. Rest .. rest... it is no longer what is recommended for recovery from concussions. Research suggests that early intervention of various therapies can significantly improve recovery when assessed and guided by a trained CCMI healthcare professional.
As mentioned in the previous post concussions can result in diverse symptoms and problems. They can also be associated with concurrent injuries to the cervical spine and peripheral vestibular and visual systems. Symptoms can range from dizziness, to headaches, to blurred vision and much more. It is also important to note that 100% of concussions result in whiplash and thus the cervical spine and surrounding musculature are always involved and should be assessed and treated.
Data and research shows that a multimodal approach to treating concussions is the best way to go. Treatment interventions including psychological, cervical, vestibular and visual treatments have shown a faster recovery time and a decrease in post concussion symptoms. Collaboration between healthcare professionals is vital and depending on the severity of symptoms individuals suffering from concussions or post concussion syndrome may have to work with a variety of health care professionals to get back to their normal, happy, healthy self.
Listed below are the 5 most common treatment interventions for concussions and why they are so important.
Exercise Therapy- Following a day or 2 of symptom-free rest, light non-contact exercise can help resolve symptoms and improve blood flow. Not to mention exercise can have a positive effect on both the mental and emotional state of an individual who has suffered a concussion. Examples may be a light walk, bike or swim which will progress into more physically exerting exercises as recovery progresses.
Manual Therapy- Headaches, balance problems, dizziness, and visual problems are all symptoms of concussions and neck injuries (whiplash). These symptoms can often be resolved with some work in the cervicothoracic (neck/midback) region. Soft tissue work, mobilizations and adjustments can not only decrease these symptoms but they also improve blood flow and increase range of motion especially in the cervical region.
Diet and Nutrition- Believe it or not diet and nutrition play a vital role in recovery. Avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as red meat, refined sugars and carbs and replacing them with anti-inflammatory and nutrition options like fruits and vegetables may help to offset inflammation and reduce symptoms.
Vestibular and Visual Rehabilitation- When a concussion occurs it is not uncommon to experience dizziness, visual changes, concentration issues and or memory problems. These issues are often a result of visual or vestibular issues that may have arose from the impact that caused the concussion. It is important to follow individualized visual and vestibular rehab programs to help facilitate healing within these systems,
Education and Reassurance- Concussions can be a very scary injury and the recovery process is variable for everyone. Symptoms are not always the same from person to person and underlying mental health conditions and learning disabilities can impact the recovery. Understanding what a concussion is, how the recovery process works and the different symptoms that may present can be vital for the patients recuperation from the injury.
We often forget that the brain is a muscle, in fact the most important muscle of the body. The brain controls everything, it controls movement, sensation, our reactions, our thoughts the list goes on. It also is the central hub for our visual nerves, and is closely connected to our vestibular system. With all that being said when a concussion occurs it makes sense that we may have balance problems, or concentration issues, visual disturbances or neck issues. It is also important to understand that like other areas of our body the brain takes time to heal and requires exercise and rehab to make a full recovery. Research is telling us we can no longer just rest and expect our brain to heal in fact we need to put in the work so that that important muscle can regain its strength, get stronger and possibly function better than it was before.
Concussions are no joke, if you are suffering from a concussion or post concussion syndrome do not hesitate. Get help today!