Concussion Management: How Occupational Therapy Makes a Difference
Increased awareness about concussions, including expanding research, demonstrates the need for occupational therapy in concussion management. Concussions result in functional changes that can affect a person’s participation in social, work or household activities. As experts in function, OTs are well-equipped to assist clients with concussions. OT Works! regularly helps insurers at ICBC and WorkSafe BC, as well as other third-party insurance companies, to assist clients as they recover.
What is a concussion?
A concussion can result when impact to the head, or a whiplash movement, causes the brain to move quickly and abruptly. There are a variety of symptoms that can occur including:
- Physical symptoms: headache, nausea, dizziness
- Cognitive symptoms: decreased attention, slowed response time, memory difficulties
- Emotional/behavioural symptoms: irritability, sadness, anxiety
- Sleep-related: increased sleep, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep
There is increasing evidence against the notion that prolonged rest (after the 24-48 hour mark) improves one’s symptoms. In fact, it is important the clients start to gradually return to their activities within the first few days post-injury. The activity level should not bring on or worsen symptoms.
How can an OT help after a concussion?
Occupational therapists support their clients in returning to daily activities gradually and safely. They provide education regarding concussions and explain what a typical recovery looks like. Experiencing a concussion may be alarming to a person with a head injury. OTs can help their clients understand their symptoms and what they can do about them. OTs often review what is can be expected in recovery and provide strategies to return to the things the cleint wants to do.
OTs recognize the unique potential each client possesses. Together, the OT and client can develop an individualized rehabilitation plan. They address the individual client’s concerns and personal goals. For instance, some clients may require gradual exposure to busier environments over a longer period of time if they experience light or sound sensitivity.
OTs also help their clients who have concussions by:
- Reviewing strategies to be active, without overdoing it: energy conservation, pacing and relaxation techniques
- Determining ways to work around or with challenges, ultimately to enable a successful return to work
- Liaising with other healthcare providers and insurers to ensure a timely and thorough rehabilitation
Get started with an OT for concussion management
All of our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in concussion management. Our approach is based on current concussion science and best practice.
If you or someone you know could benefit from concussion management with an occupational therapist, contact us today!
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.