Smack! You weren’t watching where you were walking and you bumped your head on that cupboard that hangs at just the wrong height! At first you think you’ll be fine, but then you feel a headache coming on. Maybe you get light headed or feel dizzy. Maybe you notice that you feel nauseous after looking at a screen. You my friend, may have just gotten a concussion.
In the past few years, concussions have been an increasing topic of interest. Concussions are frequently discussed in the NFL where repetitive concussions have led to very serious long term side effects. While they are often thought of in relevance to sports, concussions can happen to anyone. An elderly person might fall and bump their head. A law enforcement officer who was struck on the head on the job. An un-expecting adult hit by a falling or flying object. A teenager in a car wreck. Or perhaps as mentioned before, you bump your head on a cabinet, wall, or door on accident.
Concussions have been a misunderstood injury for a long time. Ask your grandparents about concussions, and they might say, “In my day, we just called that getting your bell rung!” However due to the severity of some side effects as well as the long term effect, concussions are now studied more than ever. We now have a better understanding of the importance of sleep and relative rest before increasing activity after a concussion. However, a brain injury is complex and there is still plenty to learn.
It is estimated that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States every year. The good news is that most people who suffer concussions will recover within a few weeks. But what do you do when those symptoms are lingering and you’re not healing like you had hoped? Maybe you are struggling with job duties, you’re uncomfortable performing certain tasks, or maybe you are trying to return to regular physical activity or competitions. Some unexpected or more uncommon impairments can significantly alter your lifestyle.
We are learning that individuals that suffer from a concussion can potentially suffer from more serious symptoms such as vertigo or more extreme bouts of dizziness, and altered cardiovascular function leading to excessive fatigue. Concussions can also cause more common symptoms like headaches, neck pain, altered vision, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light and sound, and anxiety. These symptoms and the length of time that they can last can be frustrating and make it difficult to return to your normal life. Sometimes it can seem like it is just something you have to accept and learn to live with. In fact, this used to be many doctors’ advice. But as we learn more about the brain and how concussions affect it, we are learning that rehabilitation can help the recovery process.
A concussion is an injury, and similarly to how we would rehabilitate a sprained ankle or muscle recovering from surgery, we are also finding new ways to help rehabilitate the brain. Hegg Rehabilitation can guide you through the recovery process. Depending on diagnosis, treating your concussion symptoms can lead to a significant change in function in just one or a few visits. Addressing more debilitating impairments may take more time. Therapy can equip you with appropriate mobility or strengthening exercises, address appropriate levels of activity, and help challenge your sensory systems so you can ultimately return to your normal lifestyle.
At Hegg Rehabilitation, we are motivated to work alongside you to maximize your function and achieve your goals. If you’ve suffered a concussion and are dealing with side effects, we can give you guidance and education that can help in your recovery process.
Steven Blom, PT, DPT