A concussion is a form of brain injury resulting from either a direct or indirect blow to the head, face or jaw. Concussion causes alterations in brain function and can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms including headache, nausea, balance problems, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mental “fogginess”, mood changes, visual, memory, and concentration problems. The time frame for recovery varies widely. The diagnosis of concussion is usually based on the presence of any combination of symptoms related to the injury, as there is no gold standard test to detect a concussion. Therefore, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to rehabilitation and recovery.
Computerized neurocognitive testing is one component of an effective concussion management strategy. This type of testing provides objective information for both baseline and post-injury concussion management protocols. It assesses a variety of performance factors including memory, reaction time, attention span and problem solving. Neurocognitive testing, along with physical testing of balance, visual processing and other physical measures, provide objective measures of function. Every post-injury assessment should involve both neurocognitive and physical testing.
Treatment is individually designed to limit the amount of impairment from a concussion and speed up recovery as much as possible. It includes education, resting strategies, treatment for associated neck and musculoskeletal complaints, vestibular/balance/coordination rehabilitation and a plan for a graduated return to activity.
Anybody with a suspected concussion injury should seek medical assistance immediately from a physician, and then should arrange an assessment with a qualified health care provider to assess the effects of the injury. In the Kingston and surrounding areas this help can be accessed through the Kingston Concussion Alliance (KCA), a professional collaboration of interdisciplinary healthcare practitioners in the fields of Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Athletic Therapy. The members of the KCA are Marguerite Daubney, PT at Best Health Physiotherapy (613-634-2378), Adrina Patterson, DC at Kingston West Family Chiropractic (613-389-5331) and Carla Brash, CAT(c) at Kingston Athletic Therapy Clinic (613-507-5282). You can access Certified Shift Concussion Management professionals for concussion care at any of these clinics or through the Kingston Concussion Alliance website (www.kingstonconcussion.com).