Concussion Recovery After an Injury or Fall | Northfield Hospital & Clinics

Concussion Recovery After an Injury or Fall

A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by the brain shaking against the skull when it receives a blow or jolt to the head.

Concussions - Concussion Recovery After an Injury or Fall

A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by the brain shaking against the skull when it receives a blow or jolt to the head. You do not have to hit your head or lose consciousness to suffer a concussion. The most common causes of concussion are falls, car accidents and sports injuries.

Concussions affect people differently. Symptoms can occur immediately or may take days to appear.

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Light headed, dizziness, loss of balance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision or light sensitivity
  • Tiredness or sleeping problems

Cognitive/Emotional symptoms

  • Trouble remembering things
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Personality changes: irritable, tearful, anxious, withdrawn
  • Slowed thinking or speech

What should I do if I have a concussion?

A concussion is an invisible injury. First, get a thorough evaluation by a doctor. Then, get some rest. Most concussions heal with physical rest and cognitive rest: Limit screen time (cell phone use, TV, playing video games) reading, listening to music.

How long does it take to recover?

80% of people fully recover within 2-3 weeks with rest, but symptoms can last for several months. Recovery may take longer for people who have had multiple concussions or have other health problems.

When is it safe to return to normal activities? 

A person can return to normal activities when he or she is completely symptom free at rest and with activity. The decision to resume normal activities should be made by a health care professional. 

Stepwise Progression

  1. Rest 
  2. Light activity
  3. Moderate activity
  4. Regular activities of daily living

What if my symptoms don’t go away?

If symptoms haven’t gone away after three weeks, therapy may help you return to your normal daily activity. 

CDC recommends referral to a specialist when:

  1. Symptoms worsen at any time.
  2. Symptoms have not gone away in 10-14 days. 
  3. Previous history of migraines, depression, mood disorders, or anxiety as well as developmental disorders such as learning debilitates or ADHD. 

Post-Concussion Rehabilitation Program

This program helps people whose symptoms last more than three weeks. Our team of physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists help you understand and manage concussion symptoms. Therapy restores normal function by gradually advancing treatment until it’s safe to return to your normal daily activity. Our therapists have specialized training in concussion rehabilitation.

Physical Therapy

A Physical Therapist makes a comprehensive evaluation to be sure it’s safe and appropriate to proceed with therapy to improve balance, eye coordination, neck movement and your specific challenges, using:

  • Massage for shoulders and neck
  • Joint mobilizations to restore mobility to surrounding joints
  • Visual exercises
  • Balance exercises
  • Strengthening of neck, shoulder, scapula, and core

Occupational Therapy

An Occupational Therapist conducts standardized evaluations to identify cognitive problems with memory, attention, information processing and problem-solving. 

Then, your therapist tailors treatment to improve your specific challenges. We develop different ways you can complete tasks so you can participate as fully as possible in home, work and community activities during your recovery.