Without appropriate management, over 30% of concussed people can go onto experience long-standing or persistent symptoms that last beyond 4 weeks. This is called Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)

There is a range of reasons why this may occur. The following information will break down the most likely theories, and how we can target these areas to help alleviate any lingering symptoms.

Blood flow abnormalities:

  • Following a concussion, our body’s ability to control blood flow to the brain is impaired. This can increase symptoms, particularly during exercise where there is an increased demand on the cardiovascular system.
  • Your treating osteopath will assess for this via heart rate monitoring and physical exertional testing on a treadmill or exercise bike at our clinic. Based on this assessment, controlled sub-symptom-threshold exercise can be prescribed to help facilitate your recovery and normalise any blood flow issues.

Metabolic:

  • The energy (ATP) levels within our brain are significantly reduced following a concussion. These usually return to normal levels after approximately 3-4 weeks, however, may remain in a deficit in rare cases. Depending on your clinical history, a trial rest period may be prescribed to allow energy levels to normalise.

Inflammatory:

  • Inflammation in the brain begins immediately following a concussion. Whilst this is all part of our body’s natural healing process, this inflammation can progress into a chronic inflammatory cycle that contributes to ongoing symptoms.
  • Your treating osteopath will help prescribe specific dietary changes and supplementation based on up-to-date research to help regulate this inflammation and get it under control.

Visual and/or Vestibular:

  • A range of visual and vestibular issues can arise following a concussion, leading to difficulties with sight, balance issues, dizziness, and feelings of nausea. Your treating osteopath will conduct a thorough examination, including Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) testing, to help identify these issues and prescribe appropriate exercise rehabilitation to target and improve them.

Neck issues:

  • The level of force required for a concussion means there will always be an additional element of whiplash or neck issues that result. Whiplash can present very similarly to concussion, with symptoms of headaches, dizziness and visual disturbances possible.
  • Your treating osteopath will perform a physical assessment to identify whether any lingering symptoms are originating from the neck and will be able to perform certain treatment techniques to help alleviate them.

Psychological:

  • Feeling down, anxious and/or fearful are all common following a concussion. These feelings can enhance and even cause symptoms related to concussion. Your treating osteopath will take a patient-centred approach to understand your individual concerns, and provide the necessary education and advice to reassure and support you. They will also be able to identify any unhelpful beliefs or behaviours that may be hindering your recovery, as well as prescribe useful and research-based techniques to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

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