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Physiotherapy and Concussion

Published: October 25, 2019

How can we help?

Physiotherapists are one of the healthcare professionals in the multidisciplinary concussion management team, and collaborate with other health professionals (doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists) and professionals (educators, employers) to deliver the optimal care for the patient.


Physiotherapists have the capability to screen for concussion, conduct an assessment and provide diagnoses of presenting signs and symptoms, treat the impairments within their scope of practice as well as other presenting co-morbidities. Dizziness, headaches, cervical and vestibular disturbances may be present following concussion, all of which fall well within the scope of practice of a physiotherapist. These comorbidities can be present for some time after the concussive event (known as post-concussion syndrome), and if not properly managed, can be detrimental to the individuals quality of life, ability to return to sport, occupational responsibilities as well activities of daily living.


What do we do?

Cervical spine rehabilitation

Due to the nature of a concussion, commonly the neck joints and musculature can be disrupted. This can produce impairments to range of motion, neck-related headaches and increases in pain. Physiotherapy interventions for head and neck related symptoms include retraining of the neck, shoulder and shoulder blade musculature, as well as manual therapy and soft tissue techniques to restore joint range of motion and improve muscular tightness.


Vestibular rehabilitation

Following a concussion, a patient may experience bouts of dizziness, as well as gait and balance disturbances. Vestibular rehabilitation has been shown to be effective in the management of these symptoms following concussion in both children and adults. Techniques include, standing and dynamic balance and gait retraining, hand-eye coordination training and repositioning manoeuvres.


Return to activity

A physiotherapist can assist in developing a return to physical activity pacing plan as well as providing education and advice regarding returning to daily activities. Some strategies include using a daily planner, a timer to limit participation, and planned rest times both within a sporting or occupational environment to ensure the threshold at which symptoms return is not reached. This will assist in supporting a gradual increase in tolerance to cognitive and physical loads in patients experiencing post-concussive syndrome. Furthermore, a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can provide supervised exercise based therapies while monitoring concussive symptoms and ensuring the individual is pushed to the appropriate level.


A physiotherapy treatment plan is multifaceted and based on assessment findings and symptom presentation. The timing and intensity of physiotherapy sessions is an integral component of treatment planning for all patients, but especially when considering a patient with a concussion or post-concussion syndrome.

If you or someone you know are experiencing any concussion symptoms, and would like a free assessment or a tailored rehabilitation program, book in to see a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist at Back in Motion Aspendale Gardens by calling 9580 1985 or online.