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Early Vestibular Rehab After Concussion May Reduce Risk of Symptoms

Early Vestibular Rehab After Concussion May Reduce Risk of Symptoms

Recent research has led to new insight on management of concussion treatment in young patients. While past guidelines have recommended complete rest until symptoms have resolved, new studies highlight a reduction of symptoms for those who begin physical therapy treatments, such as vestibular rehab, within three weeks of their injury.

Let’s take a look at concussions and how vestibular rehab can help.

What is a Concussion?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the U.S. What many people may not realize is that a concussion is a type of brain injury; thus it can impact each patient differently.

Concussions are considered a mild traumatic brain injury and are typically caused from a sudden acceleration, deceleration, or rotation of the head, fall or direct hit to the head. Commonly seen in contact sports or motor vehicle accidents, concussions cause microbleeds in the brain, called cerebral microbleeds. While symptoms (and the best approach for treatment) will vary depending on the severity and type of concussion, common symptoms include decreased level of consciousness (LOC), loss of memory, and confusion. Neurologic deficits may also be present including vertigo, dizziness, balance problems, difficulty with vision, ringing in the ears and headaches.

Unfortunately, concussions can often go undiagnosed or treated incorrectly.

Teens with Concussions may Benefit from Earlier Vestibular Rehab

An article in PT in Motion: “Beyond Rest: Physical Therapists and Concussion Management,” highlights the growing body of evidence for an active approach to concussion recovery versus resting and waiting for symptoms to resolve on their own.

Another recent study, Teens with concussion may benefit from earlier physical therapy, released in The Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy (JNPT) highlights research-driven changes geared toward promoting a return to activity in adolescents with concussions.

Past guidelines recommended complete physical and cognitive (mental) rest after concussion, until symptoms resolved. But recent studies have suggested that resting for more than a day or two has limited benefits, and may even be linked to increased concussive symptoms.

Today, concussion management is shifting toward a shorter period of rest, followed by gradual return to usual activities, guided by the patient’s symptoms. Physical therapy has been recommended for adolescents with persistent symptoms of concussion, generally after three weeks.

What is Vestibular Rehab and How Can It Help?

The vestibular system is a sensory system, located in the inner ear. It contributes to our balance and spatial orientation. Vestibular rehab is a form of specialized therapy designed to help patients reduce dizziness and headaches and improve balance.

If you or your child have the symptoms of a concussion, it’s key to get an assessment as soon as possible. As part of our unique One2Four approach, vestibular rehab involves individualized treatment with customized exercises to promote brain adaptation and improve recovery. During your initial session, your physical therapist will perform an assessment to determine what kind of concussion you have to determine the proper vestibular rehab.

Some of the potential treatments included within vestibular rehab include:

  • Vision stability training
  • Balance exercises
  • Posture correction
  • Mobility exercises of the neck
  • Fitness and strengthening techniques

Read more on our blog:

Why Choose Twin Boro Physical Therapy

Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 38 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.

It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.

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