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Concussions After Car Accidents

At Advanced Injury Treatment Center, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive care and support to individuals who have experienced a concussion after a car accident.
Brain Injury

What Is A Concussion


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain sustains damage from violent shaking forces resulting in sudden changes in movement. Common causes of concussions include motor vehicle accidents and direct blows to the head. These forceful impacts can cause the brain to collide with the skull, leading to injuries that can impair its function and disrupt various biochemical processes. It is important to note that experiencing a loss of consciousness is not necessary for a diagnosis of concussion; interestingly, less than 10% of concussions involve any form of LOC. Given the potential impact on multiple bodily systems, it is recommended that individuals seek professional assistance from trained physical therapists who specialize in managing concussions. This approach will help optimize the healing process and facilitate recovery effectively while minimizing the risk of long-term complications.


SYSTEMS AFFECTED BY CONCUSSION THAT BENEFIT FROM PHYSICAL THERAPY


Vestibular System

The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, is essential for maintaining balance and coordinating body movements. When a concussion occurs, it can disrupt the function of this system by dislodging calcium crystals within it. As a result, the nerves responsible for vestibular function receive abnormal stimulation leading to symptoms such as vertigo or spinning sensations. Vestibular physical therapy addresses this issue through specialized maneuvers designed to reposition these crystals and restore normal functioning to the vestibular system.


Studies have shown that incorporating multidisciplinary care into concussion management yields positive outcomes. In addition to medication-based symptomatic management which primarily focuses on alleviating symptoms like dizziness or difficulty focusing experienced by patients with concussions across various domains including visual deficits - other rehabilitation techniques also play an important role in helping individuals recover from concussions more effectively.


Visual System

Your eyes play a crucial role in providing information about the environment and your spatial awareness. It is common for the visual system to be affected by a concussion, leading to various problems such as difficulty with eye coordination, focusing on objects at different distances, maintaining focus during head movements, and impaired ability to control eye movement accurately. The American Physical Therapy Association's Clinical Practice Guidelines suggest that physical therapists should assess ocular alignment in individuals who have suffered from concussions. [1] A physical therapist examines which issues require attention and provides a variety of eye movement control drills that can help restore this system to normal.


Proprioception

As the body moves, the pressure on your tissues provides crucial information to your brain regarding orientation in space. This allows for rapid and automatic postural reactions to occur, thereby assisting in stabilizing the body. In instances where there is an injury affecting these orthopedic systems, there may be incorrect information being supplied by the nervous system to the brain concerning movement and our relationship with our surroundings. Thankfully, physical therapists are well-trained in providing hands-on interventions like soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques that aid in healing these tissues while also restoring accurate input from the body to the brain. Additionally, they will collaborate with patients to create personalized exercise programs tailored specifically toward facilitating their neurological and orthopedic recovery needs.

 

Studies have shown that incorporating multidisciplinary care into concussion management yields positive outcomes. In addition to medication-based symptomatic management which primarily focuses on alleviating symptoms like dizziness or difficulty focusing experienced by patients with concussions across various domains including visual deficits - other rehabilitation techniques also play an important role in helping individuals recover from concussions more effectively. [2]


Ultimately, the body is amazing in its ability to put all this information together automatically to tell us how to maintain equilibrium without us ever having to think about it. When an injury disrupts any and/or all of these systems, your central nervous system cannot process this information correctly. Physical Therapists who are trained in vestibular rehabilitation are specialists in these specific areas and help injured patients get back to their lives as soon as possible.


References

  1. [1] J. O. Helminski et al.. "Reliability of two dissociating tests of phoria in artificially created phoria in normal adults". Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. vol. 6. no. 5. pp. 1142-1150. Sep. 2021. 10.1002/lio2.653.

  2. [2] P. D. Asselin and R. Mannix. "Demographics and management of outpatient concussion visits among neurologists and non-neurologists: 2006–2016". Sep. 2020.

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