Effects Of Exercise On Post- Concussion
What is a Post- Concussion?
Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder associated with head injury; usually a blow to the head. Post-concussion has various symptoms, such as headache and dizziness, lasting for weeks or sometimes months. Most people suffering from this injury notice the symptoms within 7-10 days of initial injury though the loss of consciousness isn’t required for the diagnosis of concussion or post-concussion syndrome.
Causes of Post-Concussion Syndrome
Post-concussion syndrome usually occurs after an injury or trauma to the head. Since not all people who suffer mild traumatic head injury experience post-concussion syndrome, the syndrome may appear to be worse for people with a history of head injuries. However, those who experience a headache shortly after injury or those with mental history might suffer severely.
UB Public Health And Health Professions: Exercise And Concussions
See what researchers at the University at Buffalo's School of Public Health and Health Professions are doing with Concussion victims. Exercise is the medicine!
Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Concussion Syndrome
Symptoms of post-concussion can be vague and difficult to diagnose because there are no set procedure in testing it. The only measure used to diagnose this syndrome is a history of head injury and symptoms. Usually, a CT or MRI scan and physical exam are taken for evaluation to help narrow down the possible diagnosis.
Studies are finding the use of gradual exercise to help in post-concussion treatment. The introduction of gradual moderate exercise has resulted in greater recovery when compared to those who were at complete rest. Post-Concussion Syndrome, also known as PCS is a diagnosed when a person has three or more persistent concussion symptoms three weeks after injury. The improvement caused by the implementation of gradual exercise is credited to the restoration of the brain’s auto-regulation mechanism which controls blood pressure and blood supply to the brain says Kozlowski, a clinical instructor of exercise.
Kozlowski emphasis on the uniqueness of each injury and the measures of protocol to be taken before introducing gradual exercise as part of the treatment. "We started out wanting to determine if athletes who suffer from post-concussion syndrome could exercise at a level that wouldn't bring out symptoms but would allow them to stay conditioned while recuperating," says Kozlowski.
This treatment is now being used on professional athletes which is helping to better improve the precision of post-concussion syndrome tests on athletes. “If the patient does not develop symptoms during the exercise test, then the cause of their difficulties is likely to be another source. Most commonly it is neck strain, which tends to cause headaches that mimic post-concussion headache.”
“All of our subjects had been symptomatic for months before treatment and were not getting better on their own,” says Kozlowski, “so we are pretty convinced that the regulated exercise program did the trick. Patients and athletes suffering from post-concussion were treated using a low impact exercise program for about 15 minutes reported to be feeling better within 3 weeks. After several months of treatment, research found that the patients had significant reduction in symptoms and some fully recovered.