A concussion is an injury to the brain which occurs when the brain moves or twists and strikes the inside of the skull. This can result in cognitive symptoms without necessarily causing a change in the structure of the brain. Falls, motor vehicle accidents and sports related injuries are common causes of concussion. After acute management of concussion, functionally limiting symptoms may persist and can include headache, dizziness, light-sensitivity, ringing in the ears, fatigue, emotional changes and difficulty completing cognitive tasks. The proper timing and utilization of client education, pacing, activity modification, vestibular therapy, exertion-graded exercise and graduated return to daily activity facilitates a return to normal functioning at home, school, in sports settings, and the workplace. Our evidence-based approach to concussion management utilizes occupational therapy, physiotherapy and kinesiology.
Evidence supports the early provision of education, reassurance and strategy coaching to facilitate functional recovery after concussion. OT services focus on education regarding symptom management, task modification to reduce the risk of over-exertion, and gradual systematic increases in activity levels in home, community and workplace settings. OTs provide ergonomic intervention to adapt the home or workplace (e.g. lighting, noise sensitivity management), and collaboratively develop strategies to address symptoms such as poor sleep, fatigue, pain, vision and vestibular issues. Cognitive and emotional symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, slowed thinking, stress and low mood are also addressed.
Physiotherapists design and implement graded cardiovascular exercises, address concurrent cervical spine dysfunction and help manage headache, neck pain and disturbed balance through a combination of hands-on (manual therapy) and exercise-based treatment. Physiotherapists evaluate motion sensitivity, exercise tolerance, visual function, balance, gait and vestibular function to design a safe and effective program for restoration of physical abilities.
Dizziness and balance problems affect approximately 50% of all adults at some point during their lifetime. A large percentage of these cases can be attributed to problems with the inner ear and its interaction with the brain, collectively known as the vestibular system. Disease or concussion can affect the vestibular system and may result in vertigo, dizziness, spinning sensations, poor balance, nausea, headaches, motion sensitivity and other symptoms. Vestibular therapy utilizes specific exercises and mobilizations of the head to improve these symptoms and restore proper functioning of the vestibular system.