Mild Traumatic Brain Injury ( or Concussion )
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs after a blow or any other type of impact injury to the head. Most commonly, a concussion occurs due to sudden movement of the head forward, backward, or sideways, similar to what occurs during a whiplash.
What practitioners are qualified to treat a mild traumatic brain injury ( or concussion )?
Managing concussion is a team effort. Depending on the severity and range of symptoms, trained physiotherapists, occupational therapists, vision therapists (optometrists with special training), medical doctors, neurologists, neuropsychologists, nurses and case managers can all be involved to effectively manage Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS).
In mTBI or concussion, a trained physiotherapist usually is one of the first health care practitioners who is involved in assessing symptoms to determine if a concussion is present. Physiotherapists can treat the injury by guiding the patient through a safe and individualized recovery program while collaborating with other practitioners as needed.
The assessment by a trained physiotherapist in concussion will include asking many questions to understand all of the symptoms that are experienced by the patient and will include numerous tests for sight, hearing, memory, balance, and coordination to identify problems caused by a concussion. Often a neurocognitive computer test such as ImPACT will be administered to establish a baseline to measure the effectiveness of treatment and for future reference.
The findings of these tests will be used to evaluate what type of program is required to manage symptoms and rehabilitate the patient for a safe return to recreational and work activities or play. The treatment usually includes exercises for vision, head movement, balance, physical excursion, and work-related activities. This may include computer games and the use of Wii fit and virtual reality equipment in advanced stages of rehabilitation and return to play or work.
During treatment, you will be tested frequently to gauge your progress and make a decision regarding your return to work, school, sport, or recreational activities. The goal of a comprehensive mTBI or concussion program is the successful reintegration of the patient back into school, work and play.
When the recovery is not as expected and cognitive, somatic and emotional symptoms develop, a referral to a head injury clinic may be necessary.