Children and adolescents are at an increased risk of sustaining a concussion and it can happen from a direct blow to the head during sports, fall from playground equipment, violent events, or a whiplash injury during accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one of the age groups with the highest incidence of concussion is children between 0-4 years of age, and individuals aged 15-24 years.
The pediatric population are more vulnerable for delayed recovery, and are at an increased risk for chronic health problems including anxiety, depression, migraine headaches and impaired school performance if not treated properly. Referral to skilled services is warranted for individuals experiencing delayed recovery and/or individuals planning on returning to sports.
Concussion can affect multiple body system and can result in chemical changes to the brain and may cause brain cell damage, requiring ongoing multidisciplinary care during the recovery process.
A diagnosis of concussion is made based on:
- A history of trauma
- Onset of signs and symptoms of concussion soon after the injury which represents an acute change from baseline
- Standardized assessments of symptoms and neurologic examination including balance assessment and neurocognitive function
- Exclusion of structural intracranial injures by clinical findings and clinical course, with or without neuroimaging
An individual with concussion may experience the following symptoms:
When to seek Physical Therapy?
If post-concussion symptoms last beyond anticipated recovery time, a referral to skilled rehabilitation service is warranted. Symptoms lasting >21 days indicates protracted recovery. The recovery time for the general pediatric population is longer than adults where most recovery occurs within <7 days for 80% individuals without any intervention.
A Physical Therapist can help you if the following symptoms persists:
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Balance issues
- Visual motor issues
- Feelings of fatigue or having no energy
What does the Physical Therapist do?
Evaluation: A pediatric vestibular trained Physical Therapist will perform a thorough initial evaluation to determine presence of cervical, neurological, musculoskeletal, visual-vestibular disorder and evaluate symptoms resulting from concussion. The therapist will also assist in appropriate referrals to other disciplines such as OT, Speech, or Neuropsychology if deemed necessary.
Treatment: An individualized treatment plan will be created based on evaluation findings for post-concussion symptom management, visual- vestibular rehabilitation, endurance training, balance training as well as management of any persistent musculoskeletal impairments. The therapist will administer standardized assessments, perform exertional testing, and utilize evidenced based practice to monitor progress and help you through optimal recovery as well as guide you through return to sports.
How to set up an appointment?
- Obtain MD prescription for PT evaluation for concussion when symptoms don’t resolve on its own
- Call or email Kitestrings to request an initial evaluation appointment or to inquire about whether your child is an appropriate candidate.