Concussion Physiotherapy Edmonton

Concussion Physiotherapy Edmonton

A concussion, often characterized as a mild traumatic brain injury, arises from an intricate physiological process triggered by intense biomechanical forces. This condition usually originates from an abrupt impact to the head, face, neck, or any part of the body that results in a forceful transmission of impact to the head. Symptoms can range from headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion, to cognitive, emotional, and sleep disturbances.

At Eastwood Physiotherapy Clinic, we acknowledge the multifaceted nature of concussion management and recovery. Our physiotherapists are experienced in assessing and treating a range of physical symptoms and dysfunction related to concussion.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Concussion Management

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the multidisciplinary approach to concussion management. Physiotherapists have specialized skills to evaluate and treat many of the physical symptoms and conditions associated with concussions.

The physical symptoms of a concussion can include headaches, dizziness, balance problems, fatigue, visual disturbances, and neck pain. Physiotherapists are ideally suited to treat these conditions and have various tools and techniques to help manage these symptoms.

Causes of Concussion

Concussions are predominantly caused by a direct blow to the head or even a sudden jolt to the body, leading to a forceful impact on the brain. This can occur in various situations, such as sports, falls, vehicle accidents, or physical violence. Whiplash injuries, where the head is swiftly jerked backward and forward, can also lead to concussions. It's crucial to understand that even a seemingly minor hit to the head or body can lead to a concussion, as it's the rapid movement causing the brain to bounce or twist inside the skull, resulting in the injury.

Identifying a Concussion:
Symptoms and Signs

Concussions may not always have visible symptoms, making them challenging to identify. However, they typically present an array of physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep-related signs that can indicate this form of mild traumatic brain injury.

Physical signs include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, light and noise sensitivity, balance issues, and fatigue. Cognitive symptoms can encompass confusion, difficulty concentrating or remembering, feeling slowed down, and struggling with problem-solving. Emotional signs could be irritability, sadness, more emotional responses than usual, and nervousness or anxiety. Sleep disturbances might include sleeping more or less than usual and difficulty falling or staying asleep.

These symptoms might not appear immediately following the incident, sometimes surfacing hours or days later. It’s critical to seek medical attention if a concussion is suspected, as ignoring the signs can lead to long-term complications.

Assessment and Diagnosis

Our physiotherapists perform a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the physical symptoms of a concussion. This assessment may include a thorough history taking, a physical examination, a detailed assessment of the neck and spine, a balance assessment, a visual and vestibular assessment, and an evaluation of cognitive function.

The information gathered from this assessment will guide the development of an individualized treatment plan. In some cases, referring the patient for further medical evaluation may be necessary.

Treatment Techniques

Following a concussion, rest is crucial in the early stage, but research has shown that prolonged periods of rest may hinder recovery. Physiotherapy intervention typically begins with gentle activities and progresses as tolerated by the patient.

At Eastwood Physiotherapy Clinic, we use a variety of evidence-based treatment techniques to manage concussion symptoms:

  1. Manual Therapy: Manual therapy techniques include soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization that can be used to treat headaches and neck pain associated with concussions.
  2. Vestibular Rehabilitation: Vestibular therapy techniques can be used to manage symptoms of dizziness and balance problems.
  3. Visual Rehabilitation: Visual disturbances following a concussion can be managed with various visual exercises to improve eye tracking and focusing.
  4. Exercise Therapy: Graded exercise therapy can help manage persistent symptoms of a concussion.
  5. Education and Advice: Educating patients about their condition and providing advice on activity modification, sleep hygiene, and return to play/work strategies is a vital part of concussion management.

Precautions for Patients with Concussion

Physiotherapists typically recommend the following precautions to patients diagnosed with a concussion:

  1. Rest and Recovery: Initial rest is essential for the brain to recover. It’s crucial to gradually return to normal activities and avoid any that might risk another blow to the head.
  2. Cognitive Rest: This includes limiting activities that require intense concentration and attention, like studying, working, video games, and texting, as they may exacerbate symptoms.
  3. Physical Activity: While rest is necessary, prolonged inactivity can hinder recovery. Once the initial symptoms have subsided, gentle physical activities like walking or light stationary biking can be introduced under the guidance of a physiotherapist.
  4. Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration and a balanced diet can aid the recovery process. Patients should avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, which can disrupt recovery and increase the risk of further injury.
  5. Gradual Return to Activities: A graduated return to school, work, or sports is recommended. Patients should follow a stepwise process, with each step requiring a minimum of 24 hours. If symptoms worsen at any step, it’s advised to return to the previous stage.
  6. Avoiding Re-injury: Until fully recovered, patients are more susceptible to another concussion. Re-injury can lead to more severe symptoms and a longer recovery period.

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the process of recovery from a concussion. A physiotherapist can provide personalized advice and precautions based on the patient’s specific situation and symptoms. It’s essential to communicate openly with the physiotherapist throughout the recovery process and report any changes in symptoms.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder with symptoms that may include headaches, dizziness, and cognitive difficulties. These symptoms can last for weeks or months after the injury that caused the concussion. At Eastwood Physiotherapy Clinic, our physiotherapists have the training and expertise to manage post-concussion syndrome and support patients through their recovery process.


At Eastwood Physiotherapy Clinic, we are committed to providing comprehensive and evidence-based care for patients with concussions. Our dedicated team of physiotherapists collaborates with healthcare providers to deliver coordinated and effective concussion management. Trust us to guide you or your loved one on the path to recovery following a concussion.