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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Beattie

Occupational Therapy & Post-Concussion Rehab

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Have you or anyone you know ever experienced a concussion/mTBI?

Did you know that 80-90% of people who experience a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) fully recover?

The other 10-20% of people go on to develop Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) or Persistent Symptoms Post Concussion.

What does PCS look like?

  • Headaches

  • Sleep Disturbances (sleeping too much or too little)

  • Mental Health Disorders (developing anxiety related to social settings, feeling depressed about low tolerance for activities)

  • Cognitive Difficulties (impaired memory, attention, organization, planning, etc.)

  • Balance Disorders (feeling unsteady, tripping, falling)

  • Auditory Processing Disorders (difficulty filtering out certain sounds or following verbal information)

  • Vision Disorders (difficulty looking at screens or being in busy environments like the grocery store)

  • Fatigue

What's this got to do with Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapists are regulated health practitioners with a holistic approach to physical, cognitive, and psychosocial well being. We evaluate and consider all of the symptoms and how they interact with one another when treating clients.

What can an OT do to help?

  1. Educate clients on best evidence-based practices for managing concussions and related symptoms.

  2. Review cognitive compensatory strategies to help clients maintain as much function and independence as possible (Try an instant pot which will shut off automatically when it’s done if you are forgetful when cooking on the stove. Try using a calendar app with built in alerts/reminders prior to and at the time of appointments. Set up a colour coded system for tracking things like household chores, medical appointments, work tasks, leisure activities, etc. to get an idea of where you spend most of your time and energy.

  3. Provide education on sleep hygiene (i.e. tips and tricks to optimize the quality and quantity of your sleep).

  4. Review energy conservation and ergonomic principles that will help reduce fatigue and make the most of the energy you have.

  5. Create and oversee the implementation of a gradual exposure therapy program (whether it’s for anxiety related issues or sensitivity to sound/vision) to increase tolerance for activities.

  6. Vestibular rehabilitation to treat balance and/or vision related disorders.

  7. Help connect you with other practitioners whose services you may need (ophthalmologist, physiotherapist, audiologist, psychologist, etc.).

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident and is struggling to cope with a concussion, they have coverage from ICBC for OT services. Get in touch today to learn more about how Occupational Therapy can help:

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