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The Important Steps for Treating Concussion Symptoms

The Important Steps for Treating Concussion Symptoms


Concussion treatment can be a long and lonely process with many uncertainties. Historically, rest was the go-to treatment option for people with concussions. All you had to do was rest, rest, rest then rest some more until all symptoms dissipated. However, increased research on concussions has shown that prolonged rest does not work and may even worsen the situation. While rest is absolutely necessary during the early stages following an injury, shooter durations of rest have shown improved results in patients. So, if you are still experiencing significant symptoms after a week or two of rest, it is time to consider other concussion treatment alternatives. Call us to discuss treatment options.

Top 5 Most Effective Evidence-Based Concussion Treatment Options

Exercise Therapy

Studies have shown a reduction in blood flow to the brain following a concussion. Research has also shown that this reduction might persist for some time. It could be the reason you feel okay when at rest but experience heightened symptoms when you try to walk, work or even read a book.

Contrary to conventional thought, exercise can be a great way to rehabilitate this problem – provided you know what you are doing. Numerous studies show improved brain blood flow and symptom resolution after following a specific graded exercise program. However, it is important to work with a professional who fully understands this protocol to establish setpoints and your custom program.

Manual Therapy

Every concussion is accompanied by a whiplash. It is therefore nearly impossible to have a concussion without a strain or sprain injury to the neck. A Canadian research found that these injuries almost always happen together. However, the signs and symptoms of neck dysfunction and whiplash are exactly the same making it hard to tell if the symptoms are from your concussion or the neck.

Concussion injury typically resolves quite quickly – for 80-90% of patients, symptoms disappear within 7-10 days. However, whiplash symptoms can persist for a year or more. Therefore, if you are still having concussion symptoms after several weeks or months, these symptoms could actually indicate neck dysfunction which can be easily treated with manual therapy and rehabilitative exercises.

Diet/Nutritional Changes

Research shows that concussions often result in metabolic dysfunction in the early stages following the injury which is why it is important to avoid any energy-burning activity by resting. Recovery from this disruption takes 3-6 weeks beyond which persistent symptoms could indicate a lack of rest in the initial stages or a subsequent concussion.

Treatment options for both cases involve simple nutritional adjustments such as avoiding pro-inflammatory foods including; refined sugars, red meats, pasta and white bread. Replace these foods with vegetables and fruits, fresh fish and good fats to offset inflammatory responses. There is also increasing use of supplements and short course anti-inflammatory medications but be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any of them.

Vestibular and Visual Rehab

Dizziness is a common complaint among concussion patients. However, this may be the result of overlapping issues such as problems with the visual system, balance centres of the brain or joint and muscle sensors of your neck. After a thorough and conclusive assessment of these possible causes, you can then enrol on a rehabilitation program. Visual and vestibular rehab has been shown to resolve visual abnormities and dizziness in a fairly short time.

Education and Reassurance

The concussion treatment regime may involve avoiding social contact, sitting in a dark room, avoiding working/studying or any physical activity for weeks on end. For patients with a history of depression and anxiety, this regime may trigger these conditions which has been shown to prolong symptoms.

The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation demonstrated that patient education and reassurance is effective in making concussion patients feel better and prevent long-term symptoms.

Start Your Recovery

Consult with your doctor to know which of the above concussion treatment options is right for you, then seek out properly trained and certified professionals to help you with the recovery process. Give us a call to discuss your options today.