Recovering from concussion - how physiotherapy can help

The importance of timely and appropriate sports-related concussion (SRC) management is an area of healthcare that has been receiving significant media and community exposure over the past few years.

With recent high-profile cases such as Australian cricketer Steve Smith and St Kilda footballer Paddy McCartin, the potential impact of SRC has never been so front and centre in the public eye.

With escalating health sector and community concern surrounding SRC and potential health ramifications in later life, we are now equipped with a rapidly expanding body of high quality research assisting medical professionals in accurately identifying symptoms of SRC and ensuring best practise care in recovery and return to sport.

Due to the potentially serious nature of SRC, consultation with a sport and exercise medicine physician should be arranged at the earliest opportunity in order to establish a clear diagnosis and streamline a structured and appropriate treatment plan.

In the majority of cases, a short period of rest (24-48 hours) can be followed by light activity and exercise, transitioning into more intense exercise and ultimately a return to sport, all the while paying close attention to the possible resurfacing of symptoms that would in turn mandate a decelerated rehabilitation.

Many people aren’t aware that physiotherapists can have a very important role in assisting rehabilitation.

Your physiotherapist will complete a full assessment of the neurological function of your upper and lower limbs, assess your neck, your balance and the function of your visual and vestibular systems (part of your inner ear that assists in balance control).

From this assessment they will be able to provide targeted treatment which, according to needs, may include manual therapy and stretches for your neck, postural correction and strengthening, or specialised techniques to aid those with troublesome visual or vestibular symptoms.

Working alongside your doctor they will guide and help you to return safely to the activities and sports that you love!

Find detailed information on the topic of sports-related concussion here.

Eric Coleman is an APA Physiotherapist and member of the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Association. He works at Lifecare Prahran Sports Medicine on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The clinic is close to suburbs including Malvern, South Yarra, Toorak, Armadale, St Kilda East, Caulfield, Richmond and Hawthorn, and has early and late appointments for all your sports medicine and physiotherapy needs.