Treating a concussion can be very different case by case, however all treatment begins with cognitive testing and rest. In an office setting, Dr. Holmes says physicians track a certain set of physical symptoms.
“We check how their eyes are tracking, their sense of balance, their reaction time and coordination…these issues are typical for someone with a head injury,” he says.
Developing an individualized treatment plan helps ensure each patient is getting exactly what they need to make a full and safe recovery.
“Treatments are very individualized and can include physical therapy, balance training, ocular tracking, or restriction from school and activities that can aggravate the injury,” he explains. “However, in some cases exposure to certain exercises are part of the prescription for rehabilitation. It really depends on the patient and the nature of the concussion.”
As far as recovery goes, the optimal timeline depends on the patient, the extent of the injury, and history of previous concussions. Most healthy athletes, however, can expect to see a significant improvement in their symptoms within seven to 30 days of their injury. Even cases of uncomplicated concussion require rest and limited physical activity. A physician can help determine when patients can be cleared to return to their sport.
Physicians play an integral role in explaining the proper management of the injury and can prescribe any treatments needed to control or help improve symptoms. The concussion specialists at Advanced Orthopaedic Centers use state-of-the-art computerized neurocognitive assessment tools to make sure patients are truly ready before issuing a medical clearance for safe return to play.
It is important for patients to avoid making treatment determinations on their own when it comes to concussions. The extent of the injury may not be apparent, and an improperly treated concussion can lead to long-term problems like chronic difficulty with concentration, memory, headache or keeping balance.
Patients need individualized care plans to help them recover as quickly and as safely as possible.