5 ways vestibular physical therapy can help after a concussion

Concussion Physical Therapy

You hit your head on something. Or it was violently shaken back and forth, like the whiplash movement that can occur during a car crash. These are the two most common ways that people develop the mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) known as a concussion. Specially trained physical therapists can help you learn more about concussions, and they can also offer vestibular physical therapy to address your concussion. 

Why did you get a concussion?

On the surface, the first two sentences you read explain how people develop concussions. But there is actually more to why 2.8 million people develop them every year. Hitting your head or violent head movement are just the first step in the chain of events that typically lead to a concussion. 

You see, your brain isn’t fixed in one location in your skull. This means that the head impact or violent movement can send your brain crashing into the inside of your skull. And what happens when soft tissue hits something hard? The soft tissue bruises. Unfortunately, a bruise on your brain, i.e., concussion, can trigger many troublesome symptoms like: 

  • Dizziness.
  • Vertigo. 
  • Chronic headaches. 
  • Nausea. 
  • Unexplained fatigue. 
  • Moodiness. 
  • Blurred vision. 

How can vestibular physical therapy help address your concussion?

The vestibular system includes the inner ear and certain areas of the brain. This system is often thrown out of whack by a concussion. Vestibular physical therapy is specifically designed to help address the vestibular issues that concussions can trigger. A few of the ways that vestibular physical therapy can help concussion sufferers are: 

  1. Educating you about concussions — You may not know what to expect if you have a concussion. That uncertainty can make it harder for you to focus on your recovery. Your physical therapist can help ease your uncertainty by educating you about your condition. They can also provide you with information about the symptoms you can expect. In addition, your physical therapist can help you understand the treatment techniques they use to address your TBI. 
  1. Stabilizing your gaze — The blurred vision that concussions can cause is often an eye-focusing problem. Your vestibular physical therapist can use gaze stabilization exercises to help you with this issue. These exercises are designed to help you improve your ability to focus on objects. 
  1. Helping you with habituation — Concussion sufferers may experience symptoms when they move around. They might also develop them in environments that are visually stimulating, such as a movie theater. Physical therapists can evaluate you to determine what triggers your concussion symptoms; they can then build you a habituation exercise program. This program involves gradually helping your body get used to the symptoms by repeatedly exposing it to the things that cause the symptoms. 
  1. Working to bring back your balance — The symptoms of a concussion tend to make balancing normally much harder. As your symptoms improve, your physical therapist may add balance exercises and cardio into your vestibular therapy plan. These additions aim to help you feel more stable while doing normal daily activities. 
  1. Motivating you to do work at home — The brain requires repetition to learn things. That’s important when you have a concussion because your brain has to learn how to overcome the vestibular issues a concussion can cause. It follows then that repeating your vestibular therapy exercises as often as possible can be beneficial. However, there is only so much time you can spend at a PT clinic. That’s why your physical therapist will try to motivate you to do certain parts of your recovery plan when you’re at home. 

Find vestibular physical therapy for your concussion at Excel PT

Seeking a place to get vestibular physical therapy for your concussion? You can find the help you need at our Excel Sports & Physical Therapy clinics. You can start your recovery process by coming into one of our clinics for a free screening. Our vestibular therapy experts can then build you a recovery plan that is personalized to your needs. 

Contact our team today for more information about the vestibular therapy we offer or to schedule your initial appointment.