Concussions, often labeled as mild traumatic brain injuries, can have profound effects on an
individual's health and well-being. As awareness of concussions grows, so does the recognition of the crucial role that physiotherapists play in the comprehensive management of these
injuries. In this blog post, we will explore the multifaceted approach that physiotherapists bring
to concussion management, focusing on their role in assessment, rehabilitation, and overall
*Assessment and Diagnosis
Physiotherapists contribute significantly to the initial assessment and diagnosis of concussions.
Through thorough clinical examinations and specialised tests, they evaluate symptoms such as
headaches, dizziness, balance issues, and cognitive impairments. Their expertise in
musculoskeletal and neurological assessments enables them to identify specific impairments
related to the concussion, contributing valuable information to the overall diagnostic process.
*Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals
In the complex landscape of concussion management, collaboration is key. Physiotherapists
work closely with other healthcare professionals, including physicians, neurologists, and
neuropsychologists, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the patient's condition. This
collaborative approach enhances the accuracy of the diagnosis and allows for the development
of individualized treatment plans.
*Customized Rehabilitation Programs
Physiotherapists design tailored rehabilitation programs based on the unique needs and
challenges faced by each individual with a concussion. These programs often include exercises
targeting vestibular and ocular-motor function, as well as graded aerobic exercises to safely
reintegrate patients into physical activity. The gradual progression of exercises is closely
monitored to prevent symptom exacerbation and promote a steady recovery. Having worked extensively in Elite Junior Rugby League Program, we have had extensive experience in integrating contact sport athletes back into their sport of choice.
*Vestibular and Ocular-Motor Rehabilitation
Concussions often disrupt the intricate systems that control balance and eye movements.
Physiotherapists employ vestibular and ocular-motor rehabilitation to address these issues. This
may involve gaze stabilization exercises, balance drills, and head movement desensitization to
improve coordination and reduce symptoms like dizziness and visual disturbances.
*Gradual Return to Activity
Physiotherapists play a pivotal role in guiding patients through a gradual return-to-activity
protocol. This stepwise progression considers both physical and cognitive exertion, ensuring
that individuals can tolerate increased demands without triggering a recurrence of symptoms.
Physiotherapists monitor the patient's response to activity, making adjustments as needed to facilitate a safe return to daily life and, where appropriate, sports participation.
*Education and Support
Beyond the physical aspects of concussion management, physiotherapists provide crucial
education and emotional support. They help patients understand the nature of their injury,
manage expectations for recovery, and address any anxiety or concerns. This educational
component empowers individuals to actively participate in their recovery and make informed
decisions regarding their rehabilitation.
*Long-Term Management and Prevention Strategies
For some individuals, the effects of a concussion may persist over the long term.
Physiotherapists play a continuous role in managing lingering symptoms, adjusting rehabilitation
strategies as needed, and implementing preventive measures to reduce the risk of future
injuries. These strategies might include neck and upper back strengthening.
Reach out to us if you have had a concussion and need assistance in your
rehabilitation - it is an important injury to get on top of so it does not affect your life going
- McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W. H., Aubry, M., Cantu, B., Dvořák, J., Echemendia, R. J., ... &
Turner, M. (2017). Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international
conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016. British Journal of Sports
Medicine, 51(11), 838-847. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097699.