Exercise to Recover from Concussions

Exercise to Recover from Concussions - New Heights Physical Therapy - Portland OR

If you have suffered from a concussion, you know the immediate effects it can have on your ability to function physically, cognitively, and behaviorally. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries caused by direct force or a blow to the head that severely rattles the brain. It has been estimated that more than two million people suffer from concussions in the United States each year. If you have or think you have a concussion, it’s urgent to seek immediate help from a medical professional. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we take concussions very seriously and encourage all patients to consult their doctor before we can help you recover.

What Causes Concussions?

Concussions can occur during rapid movement changes or, most commonly, when there is a direct blow to the head. Because the brain is affected by this, there is immediate or delayed changes in the brain’s chemistry and function. There are a number of incidents that are known to cause concussions:

  • Motor vehicle accidents or collisions
  • Sports-related injuries to the head or neck
  • Falling or tripping (the leading cause)
  • Accidents at hard-labor jobs
  • Violent assault or abuse

Signs of a Concussion

Because concussions can cause long-term damage, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and seek professional help immediately. It’s also essential to note that symptoms can show immediately or even months after the incident. A few of the symptoms of a concussion include:

  1. Physical symptoms: Nausea/vomiting, difficulty balancing, headache, difficulty sleeping or increased sleepiness, blurred vision, exercise intolerance, sensitivity to light and sound, slurred speech, dazed and confused staring, etc.
  2. Emotional symptoms: Irritability, anxiety or depression, aggression, restlessness, inability to handle stress, mood swings, or a noticeable change in personality or behavior.
  3. Cognitive symptoms: Worsened long-term or short-term memory, confusion, difficulty concentrating/focusing, slower processing, difficulty with decision-making, etc.
  4. Long-term symptoms: Fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, chronic headaches, loss of libido, developmental problems in children, low blood pressure, etc.

If you are experiencing any number of these symptoms, you need to contact a medical professional. If symptoms are ignored, the problem can become worse and lead to long-term brain defects.

How Can Exercise Help Treat Concussions?

At New Heights Physical Therapy, we know how distressing a concussion is and are dedicated to helping our patients recover from their traumatic injury. Because we are specialists in sports medicine, we are accustomed to treating athletes that have suffered a sports-related concussion (SRC). No two concussions are the same and we will work hard with you to determine the best course of treatment. There is extensive data suggesting that exercise, especially aerobic exercise, may help patients recovering from a concussion. Some of the ways physical therapy may help treat concussion include:

  • Determining the appropriate amount of time to rest and recover before treatment.
  • Restoring strength and endurance through closely monitored exercises, and overcoming exercise intolerance.
  • Improving balance and confidence through specific monitored exercises.
  • Improving headaches and pain through stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Helping patients return to normal activity or sport through renewed confidence in endurance and strength.

Professional Physical Therapy for Concussion

Rest and monitored physical exercise or activity can help patients recover from a concussion. We know the trauma and life-altering changes a concussion can bring, and are dedicated to helping those who are suffering from the symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about how exercise and physical therapy can help treat the effects of a concussion, give the professionals at New Heights Physical Therapy a call today to set up a consultation today!

How Kinesiology Tape Works

How Kinesiology Tape Works - New Heights Physical Therapy in Portland OR

You’ve undoubtedly seen brightly colored kinesiology tape on athletes, but how is it used in physical therapy and how can it help you? Kinesiology taping involves placing strips of this special tape on areas of the body to help improve mobility and support the joints, muscles, and tendons. The tape is light and flexible, non-restrictive, allows normal movement, improves lymph transport, and increases circulation. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we want to help our patients better understand how kinesiology tape can play a crucial role in their physical therapy routines.

What Kinesiology Tape Does

While there are several theories about precisely how kinesiology tape works, it is generally believed to create balance in the neural circuitry in muscles, tendons, joints, and skin. In effect, this can work to reduce pain, decrease swelling, and improve muscle performance and function.

Kinesiology tape serves several functions that have made it so popular in the past decade:

  • Offers structural or muscle support
  • Corrects postural problems
  • Increases blood flow and lymphatic drainage

When applied directly, kinesiology tape can achieve the above effects as it lifts the skin to create a small space between the muscle and dermis layers. Even within that very small space, pressure is taken off any swelling or injured muscles, allowing for smoother movement.

Using Kinesiology Tape in Physical Therapy

People use this special tape for a variety of reasons. When you meet with your physical therapist, they will assess your current situation to decide on the best use of the kinesiology tape. They can also show you how to properly apply the tape yourself. It is especially helpful in accordance with our sports medicine and dance medicine treatments.

Common uses of kinesiology tape include:

  • Inhibition and pain management. This tape can help decrease pain and muscle spasms that may occur after injury.
  • Facilitation. Using this tape helps improve muscular firing and contraction patterns, which is often helpful in improving athletic performance.
  • Swelling management. As mentioned before, kinesiology tape helps with swelling by decreasing pressure between the skin and underlying tissues.
  • Scar tissue management. If you’ve developed scar tissue after surgery or trauma, this tape can be used to gently pull on scar tissue to provide a low-intensity stretch that may help properly align collagen cells.

Could You Benefit from Using Kinesiology Tape?

When you visit your physical therapist at New Heights Physical Therapy, we’d be happy to discuss how kinesiology tape may be beneficial to your physical therapy routine. Not only can we provide you with vital information on how it works, we can also show you the various ways to apply it that will best serve your unique situation. Give us a call today to set up your next appointment!