Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome
A concussion can come either directly from a blow to the head, or indirectly from a strong force elsewhere to the body. You do not need loss of consciousness to be diagnosed with a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury.
The injury causes inflammation, irritation, and damage to the brain. It is referred to as mild because the injuries to the brain are at the cellular level, too small to be seen on an MRI. However mild does not refer to how much a concussion affects a given individual, or how long it will last.
It can vary from a short-lived bump on the head to a life-altering event. Fortunately, after a concussion test and with appropriate concussion treatment, most concussions resolve quickly and well. Post-Concussion Syndrome is not just a long-lasting concussion. It is best thought of as another condition altogether, which sometimes develops in the three-month period following the concussion.
Our Unique Concussion Programs help:
To relieve concussion symptoms
|To reduce impairments|
To restore function
Including headaches, head pressure, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, neck pain, fogginess, light & sound sensitivity, sadness, and anxiety.
|Including poor sleep, balance problems, blurred vision, loss of neck range & strength, and memory & concentration difficulties.|
By managing the gradual return to activities, whether this is for work, school, activities of daily living, caregiving and /or play.
What to do after a concussion?
As all concussions and PCS are different, they are sometimes said to be like snowflakes. Not only do they affect each person very differently, but if the person goes on to have another concussion, it will be different from the previous one.
At Athletic Edge, we take a multi-disciplinary approach with in-house and, as necessary, out-of-house clinicians. We do not use a cookie cutter approach of one-size-fits-all favoured by some other programs. Instead, our programs are customized to the individual, and factor in their unique issues.
To help meet their sometimes-complex needs, our approach combines two complementary programs:
- Concussion Medical Management (CMM) is led by neurosurgeon Dr. Karen Johnston. Concussions can only be diagnosed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. If the patient has not already been diagnosed before coming to Athletic Edge, the concussion diagnosis is made by one of our physicians. In addition, as needed, the CMM doctors manage any diagnostic tests required, medications, referrals out to specialists and decisions with regard to return to sport. Referrals are generally made by the family doctor to the CMM program in general, or specifically to either Dr. Johnston (only if sport-related) or to one of our other MDs. Athletic Edge’s CMM program is covered by OHIP.
- Concussion Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT) is a form of therapy used for treatment at all stages, from acute to PCS. The type and number of treatments are customized to the person & their limitations. Referrals to our CRT program come from multiple sources: internally from the AESM’s CMM program, and externally from specialists, GPs, and other health care providers. A client can also refer themselves directly to the CRT program. AESM’s CRT program is covered under the client’s extended health care insurance. With the exception of concussion covered by the WSIB or by motor vehicle accident (MVA) insurance, our CRT program treats concussions and PCS from any source.
Depending on your needs and limitations, you may be directed to see one or more of the following in-house or out-of-house professionals:
|Concussion Medical Management Team||Concussion Rehabilitation Therapy Team|
All the treating clinicians have their profession’s required certification, along with extensive postgraduate experience. In addition, the program leader, Dr. K. Johnston has training and widespread experience treating both concussions & PCS.