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What to Expect with Post Concussion Therapy

Symptoms of Concussions

Symptoms of concussion vary greatly from person to person and can change rapidly. These can include dizziness, irritability, mental fogginess, “not feeling right”, confusion, headaches, or memory loss to name a few. The promising news is, whether you’ve been in a car accident or a sports-related collision, Wright Physical Therapy (WPT) has an exceptional team of Doctors of Physical Therapy able to help you recover from your concussion. 

Directly after a concussion, it is important to commit to a schedule of healing and stick to it. Sleep is one of the best ways to allow the brain to heal itself, so getting adequate sleep should be the main goal in setting schedules.  The first 48 hours after a concussion accident and during waking hours, the concussed individual needs to limit exposure to bright lights, loud sounds, busy areas, and cognitively challenging tasks. Gradually returning to these environments and tasks based on the occurrence of symptoms is key but should be done only with the consultation of the medical team. 

Diagram of Concussion Pain

Concussion Evaluation

So what is expected when being evaluated at WPT after a concussion?  A skilled Doctor of Physical Therapy with additional training will examine many areas of function including (but not limited to): neck, shoulders, gait, balance, vision, memory, reflexes, and dizziness. Again, symptoms greatly depend on the patient, so the subsequent therapeutic treatments will be aimed at improving function in areas that are most affected. These findings will be communicated to the appropriate members of the healthcare team including athletic trainers, physicians, and/or even neurological specialists if needed. 

Healing Time

One of the most important characteristics to understand about concussions is that they are fully expected to heal. Healing times vary depending on the age and previous concussion history of the patient. Typically, if no other complicating factors are present, adult athletes only take around 2-3 days, college athletes 7-10 days, high school athletes 14-21 days, and middle school athletes 28-35 days. To ensure the best/most efficient recovery possible, it is critical for the patient to begin physical therapy no later than 10 days post-concussion and preferably sooner. Furthermore, treatment is largely symptom-driven and is graded according to the response to slight changes in treatment intensity. 

If symptoms persist or worsen, the intensity is decreased until symptom resolution occurs. If symptoms are no longer present, the intensity is increased until normal function is restored under normal day-to-day conditions. After graduating from your treatment at WPT, it is still important to be on the lookout for warning signs of unresolved symptoms. Should any symptoms come back or new symptoms occur, further consultation with the medical team is warranted. 

Check out how we treat concussions or call Wright Physical Therapy at any of our locations.  We will guide the concussed person back to their game as quickly and safely as possible, whatever their game may be.