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Physiotherapy for Concussion

Published: October 1, 2021

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury (or mild TBI). It happens when a blow to the head or an injury makes the head move back and forth with a lot of force. This causes chemical changes in the brain and sometimes damage to the brain cells.


Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dizziness, balance problems, or trouble walking
  • Confusion or a brain fog
  • Slow reaction time
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Not remembering what happened, memory issues
  • Not feeling well overall
  • Sleep/wake disturbance
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Behavorial changes like irritable

Symptoms of a concussion usually happen right away, but can show up hours or days after an injury. A person with a concussion may:

  • Have trouble focusing
  • Have learning or memory problems
  • Have a headache that gets worse
  • Have sleep problems
  • Feel sad, easily upset or angered, or nervous


If diagnosed with a concussion or not sure, call your health care provider or go to the ER if you:

  • Have a severe headache or one that gets worse
  • Have a seizure
  • Pass out
  • Have other symptoms (such as continued vomiting) that worry you

These could be signs of a serious concussion, and you might need treatment in a hospital


How can I speed up concussion recovery?

  1. Reduce screen time but not avoid it completely unless it makes your symptoms worse
  2. Limit exposure to bright lights and loud sounds
  3. Avoid unnecessary sudden movement of your head and neck
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Rest as required but avoid complete rest as recent research shows better healing with some movement, if tolerated well. Graded progression of physical activity under the guidance of your trained physiotherapist and other relevant health professionals can help with safe return to work, school, sports and other daily activites.
  6. Eat food that naturally reduces inflammation in the body. For eg- foods rich in omega-3s, foods with lots of antioxidants, food with low to moderate carbohydrate and sugar levels
  7. Visit a Physiotherapist trained in concussion management!


Why is it important to get tested and seek treatment?

Concussion testing evaluates your brain's processing and thinking (cognitive) function after a head injury. A baseline concussion test can be performed before a sports season starts for athlete's at risk of head injuries. Post concussion testing can also allow early management resulting in reduced healing timeframes and reduced risk of further issues. A Physiotherapist trained in this area can help.


How else can physiotherapy help?

  • Strengthening neck muscles.
  • Manual therapy to ensure the neck joints are moving well.
  • Myofascial release techniques to ensure good mobility of the surrounding soft tissues of the neck.
  • If having symptoms like regular or constant headache/migraine, following specific assessment manual therapy, dry needling and specific exercise rehabilitation can help reduce the intensity and frequency.
  • Physiotherapy can help with vertigo, dizziness and other vestibular issues using specific manuvers.
  • Our therapists often employ a combination of physical and cognitive exercises to target specific regions of your brain for concussion recovery.
  • Return to specific sports, work, school and specific activities like safe return to driving can be planned based upon individual requirements.
  • Generally speaking, exercising can be very beneficial for recovery from post concussion syndrome. Heart rate elevating exercise increases the blood flow to your brain, which speeds up the healing process, however guidance is essential.



Our Physiotherapist Mithu is available for concussion assessment and management in the clinic. Please call reception on 6281 2499 or click the button below to book online.


Author: Mithu Raju, Physiotherapist (BPT, FOR, MSc PT (Ortho))