Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation in Oakville, ON is an official Complete Concussion Management™ (CCMI) clinic. We have certified practitioners who are physiotherapists and chiropractors that have made a significant commitment to learning best practices when it comes to concussion. Concussions have become the focus for both professional and amateur athletes around the world, and Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation strives to be at the forefront of concussion diagnosis, concussion management, and concussion rehabilitation. We utilize a comprehensive, multi-modal approach to concussions, based on current advances in concussion research.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a disruption in neurological functioning following a significant impact to the head or elsewhere on the body. This causes a biochemical imbalance within brain cells as well as decreased blood flow and temporary energy deficits within the brain. Individuals who sustain a concussion frequently complain of a headache, feeling “out of it”, feeling off balance and dizzy. They may also have neck pain, mood and sleep changes and difficulty thinking, remembering and concentrating. Light, noise and “busy” situations may make them feel worse.
The current recommended approach is ”Recognize; Remove; Rest; Rehab”.
Following a suspected concussion, a player should be immediately removed from play, assessed and placed on complete rest for a few days in order to recover from the energy deficit. This is particularly true for children and adolescents and in recreational sports where on-site trained medical care is usually absent. For non-sport concussions, stopping all activities and starting complete rest is also necessary. Assessment by a trained CCMI practitioner at Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation in Oakville, ON is recommended within the next 24-48 hours to confirm whether or not a concussion has occurred.
What are “Red Flag” Concussion Symptoms
A “red flag” is meant to indicate danger or high alert. In concussions, red flags are helpful to ensure there are no more serious injuries present, like bleeding into the brain or brain swelling. If “red flags” are present, immediate medical care should be sought at the nearest hospital emergency department.
Here are the “Red Flags” or “Danger Signs” according to the Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Danger Signs and Symptoms for Adults
In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd the brain against the skull resulting in one or more of the following:
- Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
- Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
- Repeated vomiting or nausea.
- Slurred speech.
Furthermore, the people checking in on you should take you to an emergency department right away if you:
- Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
- Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
- Have convulsions or seizures.
- Cannot recognize people or places.
- Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
- Have unusual behaviour.
- Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored).
Danger Signs and Symptoms for Children with A Concussion
Take your child to the emergency department right away if they received a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, and:
- Have any of the danger signs for adults listed above.
- Will not stop crying and cannot be consoled.
- Will not nurse or eat.
If there are no red flags then rest at home is the best medicine in the first day or two. Studies have shown that activity, both mental and physical, in the immediate 1-3 days following a concussion can delay the process of recovery. This may mean no school or work, no sports and no activities that make the symptoms worse. When it’s time to have the concussion assessed by a certified CCMI practitioner at Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation in Oakville, ON, they will help you develop that plan of action. Your assessment will include a variety of tests to gather information about how you feel, your balance, memory, coordination, and eye movements.
Another major concern surrounding concussions comes from the energy deficit that occurs in the brain following injury. When the brain is in this low energy state, scientists have established that the brain is extremely vulnerable to additional trauma, where even smaller impacts can lead to another concussion. These second concussions can cause severe brain injuries with potentially permanent or fatal outcomes. So it’s critical to be on board with the advice that your certified CCMI practitioner at Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation gives you.
How Long is Concussion Recovery Time?
The time when symptoms go away or improve does not always mean the brain has fully recovered. Individuals may feel better within days of getting a concussion. In order to know when the brain has fully recovered and out of this “vulnerable period” , your certified CCMI practitioner at Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation will test the different aspects of your current brain function. This post injury assessment is multi-modal and evaluates symptoms, but also memory, concentration, balance and proprioception, eye movements, reaction time and strength, all shown to be impaired following a concussion. For individuals in high-risk sports (e.g. football, hockey or rugby) or who have completed a baseline test, computer based neurocognitive testing may also be performed.
Fortunately, the concussion recovery time for about 80-90% of people is less than a month. Many recover in about 2 weeks. Younger athletes generally take longer. Each concussion is different, so a person’s concussion recovery time may take a little less or a little more time.
Patients not recovering in this time frame require further evaluation, possibly by a specialist that your certified CCMI practitioner at Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation recommends, while adjusting rehab to address any persisting symptoms.
What’s New in Concussion Management?
Before, it was recommended that concussed individuals rest until all symptoms were gone. However, for many, symptoms changed over time and often patients felt worse and experienced more distress. Current international consensus states that too much rest may promote prolonged symptoms. After 24-48 hours of rest, patients are encouraged to gradually begin activities that do not worsen their symptoms. Activities can include light exercise and cognitive tasks.
Researchers have shown that continued rest after 5- 7 days may not be as helpful as once thought. A groundbreaking study by researchers in Ottawa showed that children who rest too long are more likely to have persistent symptoms. Children, who rested less and began light activity after about 7 days, did better. Other scientists in Buffalo have also shown that exercise, particularly in those with symptoms at 3 – 4 weeks, is beneficial to recovery. There are many suggested reasons for this and include improved brain circulation, restoring more normal routine and social connections and maintained fitness.
When Should I Get Help for a Concussion?
Remember “When in doubt, sit them out!”
If you believe you or your child has suffered a concussion, please contact Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation in Oakville, ON immediately, so we can do a thorough exam and get you on a recovery plan.