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Recognizing the Symptoms of a Concussion - Physical Therapy

While there’s no sign of it on a brain image, health experts say the impact of a concussion can affect many aspects of a patient’s health. “They can’t sleep. It’s hard to get up in the morning. They are tired all day. Their head hurts all day. They can be dizzy, imbalanced, so it affects every aspect of their life. It can be very overwhelming,” said Dawn Root, a physical therapist with Lee Health. Dawn works with patients who have suffered a concussion—sometimes years after the injury has occurred. “Even though the brain may heal, these deficits may not fully resolve, and we may see patients several years after a concussion to work on lasting symptoms that they are still experiencing,” she said. A concussion occurs when there’s an injury to the brain that changes how the brain functions. Some of the most common causes of concussions in adults are falls, car accidents, or bicycle accidents. “It changes the chemical composition of the brain. It makes the brain not function as effectively. It demands more energy, but it can’t give it the energy,” said Root. Using a thorough evaluation, physical therapists determine what treatment options will be most effective. “We’re looking at how well their eyes are working together, that could be contributing to any of the eye issues that they’re having. We will look at their inner ear function to see if there are issues with that’s leading to any balance problems,” Root said. Practicing balance exercises and different head movements may help to improve their symptoms. “I think the treatments can be very effective. Our goal for any patient that comes to us with a concussion is to return them to their prior level of function,” she said. Helping patients to manage and overcome their symptoms can improve their quality of life. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit