No two concussions are alike, no two recoveries will be identical.
Although there are common symptoms of concussion, the exact symptom constellations and impact on functioning for a student, athlete, parent, or professional vary widely and must be assessed on an individual basis. Comprehensive concussion evaluations can help provide a framework for understanding symptom severity and recovery progression.
Concussions are complex injuries
It can be challenging to recognize when a concussion occurs. Beyond recognition, early management can be concerning if symptoms don’t begin to resolve as expected. For those who suffer prolonged symptoms, the impact on their lives and the lives of those close to them can be profound.
Providing education, informing diagnosis, guiding recovery, providing clearance and coordinating rehabilitation - ACC provides the full spectrum of services, adhering to best-practice standards, to support complete recoveries in the most efficient time periods.
Cognitive change after a concussion is an easily recognized symptom of mild traumatic brain injury. Changes in thinking can include slowed processing of information, attention and concentration difficulties, problems learning and remembering new information, trouble planning and organizing, difficulties with visual-spatial information, slower reaction times and “foggy” thinking.
Our neuropsychology experts oversee standardized concussion baseline and post-injury tests using various methods to identify persistent problems or barriers to normal function in school or work environments and to monitor the resolution of cognitive symptoms over time.
Changes in behavior and mood are well documented effects of concussion and can include impulsivity, anger, low frustration tolerance, and changes in relationships and friendships. Irritability, depression, anxiety, and mood swings are also common. Physical or cognitive symptoms of concussion which persist for prolonged periods can also result in depression, fear, and anxiety.
Managing a concussion in a child or loved one can be challenging for family members and partners. The strength of the support network for a concussion patient can also impact their recovery. Our psychology experts have a unique understanding of the mood-related symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury as well as the impact of emotional and psychological functioning on recovery. Rehabilitation and recovery are carefully monitored with expert support provided when required.
Balance problems, postural instability, and dizziness are common symptoms following concussion, affecting almost half of all those who suffer concussive injuries. These symptoms have been reported to last for years post-concussion.
Vestibular rehabilitation involves assessment and treatment of neurological, inner-ear, and other conditions arising from concussion which control the individual’s sense of balance, positioning, and movement. Our expert team uses specific exercises or manipulations to support recovery of those systems which do not resolve spontaneously or with rest alone.
Visual dysfunction is common following a brain injury and has been shown to affect up to 90% of individuals. Disturbances in vision can profoundly effect a person’s physical abilities causing issues with balance, spatial awareness, and driving, as well as symptoms of headache and fatigue. If not identified or without targeted treatment, oculomotor dysfunction can negatively impact daily functioning.
Screening and treatment of visual dysfunction is incorporated early in our process to provide appropriate and targeted intervention during the optimal treatment window. Oculomotor physiotherapy involves careful assessment and treatment of the ways your eyes work together to focus on a target, keep focus while moving your head, shift from one target to another, or track images across a visual field, during movement as well as in isolation.
Exertion Based Physiotherapy
Consistent with current research and proven models of successful concussion rehabilitation, a structured, individualized, graded exercise program is developed considering the particular sport, age and concussion history of the individual.
This involves progressively and gradually increasing physical activity, or exertion, under close supervision and guidance of an ACC exertion specialist—physiotherapists and athletic therapists—improving patient tolerance to activity for longer periods of time without worsening symptoms. Sport- or activity-specific challenges are added to these programs when appropriate.
Neck injury, whiplash, and cervical spine injuries commonly occur at the same time as a concussion but are often overlooked. These injuries can result in symptoms that overlap with, or are identical to, symptoms of concussion. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, tinnitus, and ear or eye pain can be associated with cervical spine injury and neck pain.
Careful assessment of cervical function is performed by ACC physiotherapists and, when indicated, treated in conjunction with other indicated areas of rehabilitation to maximize recovery outcomes.