Concussion Recovery

1. What is a concussion? The Centers for Disease Control and Protection's (CDC) definition of a concussion is:  "a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells."  

2. What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion? Many times after a concussion, people will state that they "just don't feel right" and may have a difficult time explaining their symptoms. Below are symptoms observed and reported. 

Observed symptoms                                                             

  • Loss of consciousness  (even brief)                                                 

  • Can't remember events just prior to, or after hit/fall                     

  • Appears dazed or slightly confused                                                

  • Difficulty following directions                                                           

  • Memory problems                                                                              

  • Moves in a clumsy or sluggish manner                                           

  • Personality or mood changes                                                          

  • Extreme fatigue or difficulty sleeping

Reported symptoms

  • Headache or pressure in the head

  • Feeling nauseated or vomiting

  • Balance problems

  • Sensitivity to light, sound and touch

  • Low tolerance to social situations

  • Problems with blurry vision or focusing

  • Feeling "off" or having foggy thinking

Some of these signs and symptoms are seen right away. However, some may take hours or even days to show up.  

3. What is post-concussive syndrome? Post-concussive syndrome occurs if the symptoms last longer than a few weeks. These symptoms can last for months, or even years after the concussion. Craniosacral therapy has been found to be very helpful in the treatment of post-concussive therapy. Craniosacral therapy works with the brain and its surrounding membranes. It has been shown to improve fluid exchange, decrease swelling and tension in the membranes that surround the brain. Here are some links that provide more information on CST and post-concussion syndrome.  http://www.upledger.org/what-we-do/concussion-program.phphttp://www.upledger.org/docs/CranioSacral-Therapy-and-Concussion-Mariann-Sisco-for-FSMTA-Dec-2014.pdf

4. Treatment for post-concussive syndrome. The most important factor in treating post-concussive syndrome is becoming aware of what activities increase symptoms and learning how to manage these symptoms. There is a variety of practices that have been shown to help with brain recovery that range from nutrition to physical therapy. 

 

5. How can you help with my concussion?  I have had extensive training in vestibular/balance therapy, am certified as a craniosacral therapist by the Upledger institute, have taken many courses in concussion and post-concussive syndrome, have an extensive referral source, and love to work with additional practitioners in a team approach. I have been treating concussions for the past 8 years. 

6. What would an evaluation and treatment session look like? I believe that the most important factor of any assessment or treatment is to spend time listening to the client.  Only the client knows what they are feeling and how that is reflected in their bodies.  After spending time listening to their current complaints, I will then ask some questions to help clarify and understand exactly what is happening in their body at this time.  Finally, we would discuss their goals for concussion recovery and start to form a plan as to how they are going to arrive at that goal.  During an evaluation I perform several tests to determine which systems are affected.  We then start a treatment program to address both their list of complaints and their goals. Some treatments may include balance/vestibular therapy, techniques to learn how to become more aware of what is happening inside their own body (self-awareness), when to stop activities that aggravate their symptoms, and craniosacral therapy.  I may also refer the client to a vision therapist, speech therapist or occupational therapist. Most sessions are 45-60 minutes in length.