A concussion is an injury to the head that affects how the brain works. It most often results from a hit to the head or a whiplash-type injury. A concussion can change your behavior, thinking and physical actions. Because there is not one specific test to detect a concussion, they can be difficult to diagnose. Recovering from a concussion can take time—weeks, and sometimes months.
Fortunately, there are concussion treatments that can help you get back to the life you had before your injury. If you’re looking for guidance in managing the early stages of a concussion, or if you’ve gone more than a week without your symptoms improving, a concussion specialist can help.
At Allina Health Orthopedics, we take a team approach to helping you manage your concussion recovery. Whether we are relying on the skills of our concussion specialists, our physical therapists and chiropractors, our occupational and cognitive therapists, our psychologists and neurologists, or our neuro-optometrists, we provide expert care for concussion symptoms and recovery—and help you return to wellness.
What is concussion treatment?
Concussion treatment and management is about more than just keeping you safe from further injury while the brain heals. It’s about proactively managing your recovery, which means understanding your concussion symptoms and trying to find out how the concussion affects you individually—so your care team can develop a treatment plan that’s suited to your situation.
Good for treating
In concussion treatment and management, the focus is on six key areas:
- cognitive/fatigue (mental processes)
- vestibular (balance/dizziness)
- ocular (vision)
- post-traumatic migraine
What to expect
At the initial clinic visit, your provider can often determine key areas of concern. Together, you’ll design an action plan specific to you. The plan may include recommending school or work accommodations, or referrals to other specialists such as a vestibular therapist to help you with dizziness/imbalance, a neuro-optometrist for vision problems, a chiropractor, or a neurologist. In some cases, medication may be needed.
The earlier you see a concussion management specialist after a concussion, the more they can positively influence your recovery.
Good to know
Before participating in sports, many athletes choose to undergo ImPACT testing. A standard tool used in the clinical management of concussions, ImPACT is a 20-minute test that measures memory, impulse control and reaction time.
An ImPACT baseline test doesn’t reduce the chances of getting a concussion, but it can help assess injury in the event of a future concussion.
If an athlete sustains a concussion, they can take the ImPACT assessment again. Those results can be compared to their pre-concussion assessment, giving their care team an accurate view of brain recovery, enabling a better and safer decision about returning to sports. If an athlete doesn’t have a pre-concussion ImPACT test, the results can be compared to national norms.