Concussion Physiotherapy: Your Guide to a Full Recovery

Concussion Physiotherapy

Concussions are more than just a bump on the head; they can have lasting effects on physical and cognitive well-being. While rest and gradual return to activity are pretty important aspects of recovery, an often underestimated hero in this journey is concussion physiotherapy. In this blog, we will delve into the essential role of physiotherapy in the management and rehabilitation of concussions.

Exploring ConcussionExploring concussion physiotherapy

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs due to a sudden, forceful impact or blow to the head. This movement can often lead to a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain. Concussions are usually considered “mild” traumatic brain injuries because they are generally not life-threatening, however, they can still have significant effects on an individual’s cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being.

Common causes of concussions include sports-related injuries, falls, car accidents, physical altercations, and any event that involves a sudden and forceful impact on the head or body. In sports, for example, concussions can occur in contact sports like football or hockey when players collide or are struck by objects or other players.

How Do Concussions Occur?

Concussions can happen in a multitude of scenarios:

  • Sports-Related Injuries: Contact sports such as football, soccer, and hockey have a high risk of concussions as they involve collisions and tackles.
  • Accidents and Falls: Everyday mishaps, such as slipping on ice or falling down stairs, can result in concussions.
  • Vehicle Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents, even with seatbelts and airbags, can lead to concussions due to the sudden deceleration or impact.
  • Assaults: Physical altercations, including punches or blows to the head, can cause concussions.

The duration of recovery from a concussion varies from person to person and depends on several factors, including the severity of the concussion, the individual’s age, overall health, and how well they follow recommended treatment and rest protocols. While some individuals may recover within a few days or weeks, others may experience symptoms for a more extended period.

Dealing With Concussion Through Physiotherapy Dealing With Concussion Through Physiotherapy

The role of physiotherapy in the management of concussions is significant and multifaceted. While rest and cognitive recovery are crucial aspects of concussion care, physiotherapy plays a vital role in addressing the physical symptoms and impairments that often accompany head injuries. Here are the key roles of physiotherapy in the context of concussions:

  • Symptom Management: Physiotherapists can provide techniques to alleviate tension and pain associated with post-concussion headaches. Concussions also lead to dizziness and balance issues which can be treated through vestibular rehabilitation, a specialized form of physiotherapy. Neck pain is a common symptom after a concussion. Physiotherapy techniques can help alleviate discomfort and improve neck mobility.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation: Vestibular rehabilitation focuses on the inner ear’s balance system, which is often affected in concussions. Through specific exercises and maneuvers, physiotherapists can address dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems.
  • Visual Rehabilitation: Concussions can disrupt visual processing and cause issues like double vision or sensitivity to light. Physiotherapists can employ visual exercises to improve these symptoms.
  • Gradual Return to Activity: Physiotherapists work with individuals to establish a safe and gradual return to physical activities and sports, ensuring that exertion does not exacerbate symptoms or risk re-injury.
  • Neck and Cervical Spine Management: Neck pain and stiffness are common in concussion cases. Physiotherapy techniques, including manual therapy and exercises, can relieve these symptoms and improve neck function.
  • Customized Rehabilitation Plans: Physiotherapists create personalized rehabilitation plans based on the individual’s specific symptoms and impairments. These plans may include exercises, hands-on treatments, and education about symptom management.
  • Monitoring and Progress Evaluation: Physiotherapists continually assess an individual’s progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed. They track improvements and ensure that the return to activity is gradual and safe.

Exercises To Help Deal With Concussions

Here are some common types of exercises that may be included in a concussion rehabilitation program:

Vestibular Rehabilitation Exercises

  • These exercises focus on improving balance and reducing dizziness and vertigo, which are common symptoms of concussions.
  • Examples include gaze stabilization exercises, balance training on unstable surfaces, and head-eye coordination drills.

Cervical Spine ExercisesNeck Stretches

  • Neck pain and stiffness often accompany concussions. Strengthening and mobility exercises for the neck and upper back can help alleviate these symptoms.
  • Examples include neck stretches, chin tucks, and neck muscle strengthening exercises.

Cardiovascular Conditioning

  • Gradual reintroduction of cardiovascular exercise under the guidance of a healthcare provider can help improve endurance and reduce symptoms like fatigue.
  • Exercises might include stationary cycling, brisk walking, or swimming, starting at a low intensity and gradually increasing.

Oculomotor ExercisesOculomotor Exercises

  • Concussions can affect eye movement and coordination. Oculomotor exercises aim to improve visual tracking, convergence, and other visual functions.
  • Examples include smooth pursuit exercises and near-far exercises.

Gentle Aerobic ExerciseGentle Aerobic Exercise

  • Low-impact activities like stationary cycling or walking can help improve blood flow and reduce symptoms without overexertion.

Strength Training

  • Strength training exercises, especially for the core and upper body, can help improve overall physical function.
  • These exercises should be performed with a focus on proper form and technique.

Breathing and Relaxation Exercises

  • Stress and anxiety can exacerbate concussion symptoms. Breathing and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, can help manage stress.

Coordination and Proprioception Exercisessingle-leg balance exercises

  • These exercises aim to improve body awareness and coordination, helping individuals regain a sense of balance and spatial orientation.
  • Examples include single-leg balance exercises and foam pad activities.

Visual Rehabilitation

  • Visual exercises can help improve visual processing and reduce symptoms like double vision or light sensitivity.
  • Activities may include tracking moving objects, near-far focusing exercises, and visual scanning drills.

Precautions And Prevention For ConcussionsPrecautions And Prevention Of Concussions physiotherapy

Preventing concussions and taking precautions to reduce the risk of head injuries is crucial, especially in activities or situations where head trauma is a potential hazard. Here are some precautions and prevention strategies:

  • Wear Protective Gear: Always wear a properly fitted helmet when participating in activities that carry a risk of head injury, such as cycling, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, and contact sports like football or hockey. In sports with a high risk of collisions, such as football or rugby, consider using mouthguards to protect against concussions and dental injuries.
  • Follow Safety Guidelines: Abide by safety rules and guidelines in sports and recreational activities. These may include rules about proper tackling techniques in football or safe diving practices in swimming. Ensure that sports equipment and playing surfaces meet safety standards.
  • Teach Proper Techniques: In contact sports, teach and practice proper techniques for tackling, blocking, and checking to reduce the likelihood of head injuries.
  • Avoid Risky Behaviors: Avoid risky behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption and drug use, which can impair judgment and coordination, leading to accidents and head injuries.
  • Drive Safely: Wear seatbelts at all times when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Ensure children are secured in age-appropriate car seats or booster seats.
  • Concussion Education: – Educate yourself and others about the signs and symptoms of concussions. Understanding when to seek medical attention is crucial.
  • Reporting and Seeking Medical Attention: – If you suspect a concussion, whether in yourself or someone else, seek immediate medical attention. Continuing to play or engage in activities with a concussion can lead to more severe injury.
  • Rest and Recovery: – If you’ve had a concussion, follow healthcare provider recommendations for rest and recovery to reduce the risk of further injury.


In conclusion, concussion physiotherapy is a crucial tool in the journey to recovery after a head injury. It offers tailored exercises and therapies to address the physical and cognitive challenges that often accompany concussions. By working closely with a physiotherapist, individuals can regain their well-being and gradually return to their normal activities. So, remember, if you or a loved one experiences a concussion, consider the role of physiotherapy in the healing process.

Physical Therapy helps patients recover from pain. If you’re experiencing Back, Shoulder, Knee, Neck, Elbow, Hip, or Arthritis pain, a physical therapist at PhysioMantra can help: Book an online physical therapy session.