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How physical therapy can help treat Post-Concussion Syndrome

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Concussions are becoming increasingly common for people who play sports with physical contact. While typical recovery from a concussion can take from a few hours up to a few weeks, sometimes symptoms may last longer than normal. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is when typical concussion-related symptoms last for weeks, months or occasionally a year after a concussion. PCS is also possible when someone has been in a car accident or fallen and hit their head.

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision/blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Headaches, pressure in the head
  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Feeling in a fog/not feeling “right”
  • Fatigue, low energy, depression, anxiety
  • Change in irritability, more emotional or change in personality

Females and young people are at a higher risk for PCS, as are those who have already experienced three or more concussions. Other risk factors are preexisting conditions such as migraines or learning disabilities. Continue Reading »

Pre-Concussion Testing for Kids

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Did you know that 50 percent of concussions may go unreported? Head injuries are on the rise for athletes at all levels of play. It is estimated that between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur in the U.S. each year during competitive sports and recreational activities.* My fellow licensed athletic trainers (LATs) and I have become very concerned with these statistics, which is why we have partnered with ImPACT in an effort to provide state-of-the-art concussion care to athletes throughout the Fox Valley.

What is the Community Baseline Project?
It is a program that offers a Baseline ImPACT computerized test for any local athlete who does not already have access to a cognitive test through their club or school. These tests are to be done before a concussion occurs in order to establish a baseline or “normal” cognitive score.

The test costs $10 and takes about 25 minutes to complete. Several Affinity providers, including myself, who are trained in concussion management and ImPACT testing, can administer the test. These baseline tests are suggested every two years, starting at age 11 (must be 11 years old at the time of the test). Baseline reports help serve as a comparison to a repeat ImPACT test if a concussion is suspected. This helps assess the damage caused by a concussion.

The ImPACT test is a computer-based testing of neurocognitive responses (i.e. – memory, concentration, eye-hand speed, processing and reaction). All of these are improved with good rest and healthy habits. Getting rest and proper nutrition is essential to performing at each person’s optimal level. See “how to prepare” section below for details. Continue Reading »

Don’t fall short on diagnosing a concussion

Many times the word “concussion” gets tossed around when someone has fallen or been hit in the head at a sporting event. But how many of us actually know what happens in the brain for a concussion to occur or how to gauge the seriousness of one?

A concussion is defined as a type of traumatic brain injury usually caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall or another injury that jars or shakes the brain. This blow or jolt to the head triggers a complex flood of physiologic events that lead to a disruption in the proper functioning of the brain reflected by a group of signs and symptoms.

Many times when I see patients who have concussions, they occur while playing sports with physical contact, such as basketball, football, soccer, snowboarding, hockey, boxing and wrestling. Although there may be bruises or scrapes, there are no other outward signs of a concussion. People don’t even have to loss consciousness to have one. Continue Reading »

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