A concussion is a form of brain injury resulting from either a direct or indirect blow to the head, face or jaw causing an alteration in brain function. A wide array of both physical and cognitive symptoms including headache, nausea, balance problems, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mental “fogginess”, mood changes, visual, memory and concentration problems can arise and the time frame for recovery varies widely. The diagnosis of a 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 objective testing provides information for both baseline and post-injury concussion management protocols and is designed to assess 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 and every post brain injury assessment should involve both neurocognitive and physical testing.
Treatment will be individually designed to limit the amount of impairment and speed up recovery as much as possible and will include, as indicated, education, resting strategies, treatment for associated neck and musculoskeletal complaints, vestibular/balance/coordination rehabilitation and graduated return to activity planning.
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 individual effects of the injury. Marguerite Daubney, Physiotherapist at Best Health Physiotherapy is a certified Shift Concussion Management provider and can do baseline testing, post-injury assessment and provide individualized, appropriate post- concussion treatment and rehabilitation.