Understanding Concussion: Exploring Physiological Changes and Recovery Strategies
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when a blow or jolt to the head causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull. This sudden movement can cause temporary changes in brain function, leading to a range of symptoms. Common symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, sensitivity to light or noise, and difficulty concentrating or remembering things. While most people recover fully from a concussion within a few weeks, some individuals may experience persistent symptoms that can last for months or even years.
The exact physiological changes that occur in the brain following a concussion are still not fully understood, but researchers believe that several mechanisms may be involved. These include:
Axonal Injury: The brain is made up of billions of neurons that communicate with each other through axons. During a concussion, the rapid movement of the brain can cause these axons to stretch and twist, leading to damage and disconnection between neurons.
Neurotransmitter Imbalance: Following a concussion, there may be a disruption in the normal balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. This can lead to changes in brain function and affect mood, cognition, and behavior.
Cerebral Blood Flow Changes: Concussion can cause changes in cerebral blood flow, leading to decreased oxygen and glucose delivery to the brain. This can further exacerbate brain injury and contribute to symptoms such as dizziness and fatigue.
Inflammation: Following a concussion, the brain may release inflammatory cytokines that can lead to further damage and prolong the recovery process.
Energy Crisis: Concussion can cause a temporary energy crisis in the brain, with a decrease in glucose metabolism and an increase in lactate production. This can lead to reduced brain function and contribute to symptoms such as fatigue and cognitive impairment.
It is important to note that the exact pathophysiology of concussion may vary depending on the severity of the injury, as well as individual factors such as age, sex, and pre-existing medical conditions. While most people recover from concussion within a few weeks, some individuals may experience persistent symptoms that can last for months or even years. Therefore, proper management and treatment of concussion is crucial for minimizing the long-term effects of the injury.
MANUAL THERAPY FOR CONCUSSION
Manual therapy is a type of physical therapy that involves hands-on techniques to help reduce pain, stiffness, and other symptoms associated with injury or illness. In the case of concussion, manual therapy can be helpful in reducing symptoms such as headache, neck pain, and dizziness. One common technique used in manual therapy for concussion is called cervical spine mobilization, which involves gentle movements of the neck to help improve blood flow, reduce inflammation and tensions on the brain membranes.
EYE EXERCICES FOR CONCUSSION
Eye exercises are another type of therapy that can be helpful for people recovering from a concussion. One common symptom of concussion is visual disturbance, such as blurred vision, double vision, or sensitivity to light. Eye exercises can help improve eye movement and coordination, reduce eye strain, and reduce visual symptoms. One example of an eye exercise for concussion is called the "near-far" exercise, which involves focusing on objects at varying distances to improve depth perception and eye coordination.
Latest Research on Concussion Treatment:
Recent research has shown that a combination of manual therapy and eye exercises can be particularly effective in treating symptoms of concussion. One study published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation found that a combination of cervical spine mobilization and eye exercises resulted in significant improvements in symptoms such as headache, neck pain, and visual disturbance. Another study published in the journal Physical Therapy found that a combination of manual therapy and eye exercises was more effective than either therapy alone in reducing symptoms of concussion.
EXAMPLES OF EYE EXERCICES
It is important to note that while eye exercises can be helpful in recovering from concussion, they should only be done under the guidance of a trained healthcare professional such as a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Every patient's situation is unique, and what may be helpful for one person may not be appropriate for another. It is always recommended that patients refer to their therapist for a proper assessment and tailored treatment plan. Following the appropriate treatment plan can help ensure safe and effective recovery from concussion.
Saccade exercise: This exercise involves moving the eyes rapidly between two objects placed at different distances from the eyes. This helps to improve the speed and accuracy of eye movements.
Pursuit exercise: This exercise involves tracking a moving object with the eyes, such as a bouncing ball. This helps to improve the smoothness of eye movements.
Convergence exercise: This exercise involves focusing on an object as it moves closer to the eyes, and then shifting focus to a distant object. This helps to improve the ability of the eyes to work together.
Visual tracking exercise: This exercise involves tracking a moving object with the eyes while keeping the head still. This helps to improve eye tracking ability.
Eye coordination is important for a number of reasons. When we look at an object, our eyes need to work together to focus and maintain clear vision. If one eye is not functioning properly, it can lead to symptoms such as double vision, eye strain, and headaches. In the case of concussion, eye coordination can be disrupted due to damage to the brain. By doing eye exercises, individuals can help to retrain the brain to improve eye coordination, reduce visual symptoms, and improve overall function. Additionally, good eye coordination is important for balance and spatial awareness, which can also be affected by a concussion.
PHYSICAL AND COGNITIVE REST
Cognitive rest is an important part of concussion management and involves limiting activities that require concentration and mental effort. This can include activities such as reading, using electronic devices, and even socializing. The goal of cognitive rest is to reduce the amount of stimulation to the brain, allowing it to rest and heal more effectively.
Following a concussion, the brain is in a vulnerable state and may require more time to recover than other parts of the body. Cognitive rest can help to reduce symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, which are common after a concussion. In addition, it can help to prevent further damage to the brain and reduce the risk of persistent post-concussion symptoms.
It is important to note that cognitive rest does not mean complete inactivity. Light physical activity, such as walking or stretching, can be beneficial for reducing symptoms and promoting recovery. It is also important to gradually reintroduce cognitive activities as symptoms improve, under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Overall, cognitive rest is an important aspect of concussion management and can help to facilitate safe and effective recovery.
In addition to cognitive rest, physical rest is also an important part of concussion management. Physical rest involves limiting physical activity, particularly those activities that involve contact or a risk of further head injury. This can include sports, exercise, and even some household chores.
The goal of physical rest is to allow the brain to heal without the risk of further injury. Following a concussion, the brain may require more energy to heal, which can lead to feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. Physical rest can help to reduce these symptoms, allowing the body to devote more energy to the healing process.
It is important to note that physical rest does not mean complete inactivity. Light physical activity, such as walking or stretching, can be beneficial for reducing symptoms and promoting recovery. It is also important to gradually reintroduce physical activities as symptoms improve, under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Overall, physical rest is an important aspect of concussion management and can help to facilitate safe and effective recovery. By following appropriate rest and activity guidelines, individuals can help to minimize the long-term effects of concussion and promote optimal brain health.
Sleep hygiene is an important aspect of concussion management and can help to facilitate optimal recovery. Good sleep hygiene involves maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, which includes going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This can help to regulate the body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up each day.
In addition to a consistent sleep schedule, it is also important to avoid too many daytime naps, which can disrupt nighttime sleep. Additionally, avoiding screen time, including electronic devices such as smartphones and computers, for at least one hour before bedtime can help to promote better sleep.
Screens generate wavelength of light that suppresses endogenous melatonin release.
Certain substances can also impact sleep quality, including caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. These substances can interfere with the body's natural sleep cycle, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It is recommended to avoid these substances, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Overall, good sleep hygiene is an important aspect of concussion management and can help to promote optimal brain health and recovery. By following these guidelines and seeking appropriate medical care, individuals can facilitate a safe and effective recovery from concussion.
In summary, concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can cause a range of symptoms. While most people recover fully from a concussion within a few weeks, some individuals may experience persistent symptoms that can last for months or even years. Manual therapy and eye exercises are two types of therapy that can be helpful in reducing symptoms of concussion. Recent research has shown that a combination of these two therapies can be particularly effective in treating symptoms of concussion. If you are suffering from symptoms of concussion, speak with a healthcare professional about whether manual therapy and eye exercises may be right for you.
Most patients recover from concussion or at least, get less symptoms overtime (generally 3 months post trauma).
It is very important to do the right things at the way beginning:
1) observe one week rest (minimize cognitive and physical activities to the minimum)
2) restart very progressively both cognitive and physical activities. Do not push your body and stop the activity when you feel symptoms are increasing.
3) the evolution should be favorable already after 6 weeks. If the symptoms remain the same or are getting worse, it is important that you visit your health practitioner.