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concussion and post concussion treatment

Concussion and Post Concussion Treatment – serving our Fitzroy North, Brunswick and Thornbury communities


A concussion is considered a mild form of traumatic brain injury, characterized by a complex pathophysiological process that disrupts brain function, resulting from biomechanical forces. The following criteria are useful in identifying a concussion:

  • Concussions can occur from a direct impact to the head, face, neck, or from a blow elsewhere on the body that transmits an “impulsive” force to the head. This includes scenarios like a tackle in sports, which may not involve a direct hit but can cause a whiplash effect, making the brain move rapidly within the skull.
  • The onset of concussion symptoms is typically swift, presenting a temporary impairment of neurological functions that tends to resolve on its own. Nonetheless, the manifestation of symptoms and signs might develop over several minutes to hours.
  • While concussions can lead to changes at the neuropathological level, the immediate clinical symptoms primarily indicate a functional disruption rather than structural damage. Hence, standard neuroimaging tests usually do not show any abnormalities.
  • The symptoms of a concussion vary in severity and may include loss of consciousness. The recovery process involves a gradual resolution of clinical and cognitive symptoms, although it’s crucial to acknowledge that, in certain instances, these symptoms can persist for an extended period.

Individuals most susceptible to concussions encompass young males aged 15-24 engaged in sports such as Australian Rules Football (AFL), American Football (NFL), hockey, soccer, wrestling, and boxing. Additionally, females, especially those older than 65, are at an elevated risk due to a higher likelihood of falls. Military personnel, individuals who have experienced abuse, and those involved in vehicular accidents also face a significant risk of sustaining concussions.

Signs/symptoms of concussion: 

  1. Loss of consciousness (only 8-12% of people experience this)
  2. Headache
  3. Dizziness
  4. Balance problems
  5. Fatigue
  6. Visual changes (double or blurry vision are most common)
  7. Insomnia
  8. Hypersomnia
  9. Drowsiness
  10. Attention issues
  11. Short-term memory and learning problems
  12. Difficulty multitasking
  13. Phonophobia
  14. Photophobia
  15. Feeling mentally “foggy”

It’s important to note that symptoms of a concussion might not appear right away. Vigilant observation is crucial in the minutes to days following the initial injury to detect any emerging signs. A headache is the most prevalent symptom, occurring in approximately 83-86% of all concussion cases, making it a key indicator to watch for.

The presence of multiple symptoms, along with the severity of the deficits experienced, significantly increases the likelihood of long-term consequences. Therefore, recognizing and addressing these symptoms early is essential for managing the impact of a concussion effectively.

What happens if a concussion is left untreated?

Approximately 20% of all concussions do not resolve on their own, leading to a condition known as post-concussion syndrome. This syndrome mirrors the signs and symptoms of a concussion, but with a critical difference: the symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years.

Headaches are a common aftermath of post-concussion syndrome, ranging from tension-type headaches, which are the most frequent, to migraines. These headaches are often linked to either a direct or indirect injury to the neck that occurred simultaneously with the head injury.

Addressing post-concussion syndrome typically requires a multifaceted approach. This may include hands-on therapy, vestibular rehabilitation to help with balance and dizziness, and specialized concussion rehabilitation. Such comprehensive care is crucial to facilitate a patient’s return to daily activities, including work, school, or sports, safely and effectively.

What does your first consult look like?

If you have not already been to the hospital, then the first thing to look out for is any serious injuries that would require more investigations.
There is no single test to diagnose a concussion and it cannot be detected on scans such as x-rays, MRIs etc. broken bones or other internal injuries are treated separately from a concussion.

After that your Osteopath/ health practitioner will take a in depth case history including a timeline of events of how the concussion occurred and the symptoms you are experiencing. Following that your osteopath will perfume a range of test to check for any neurological, muscular or joint injuries that
may have occurred.

Once that is complete then they will give you a diagnosis and treatment plan or a referral for further testing if needed.

A detailed and comprehensive treatment plan will include the following: how many sessions will be needed, exercise to do at home as well an addressing any other lifestyle factors such as desk ergonomics or dietary changes.

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