• Concussion

  • Concussion physio nz

    With winter upon us, sport such as rugby, soccer and snowsports are a big part of life here in Mid Canterbury.  But these sports are not without risk.  According to ACC Sport Smart approximately 35 000 Kiwi’s suffer traumatic brain injuries every year with 20% all concussions related to sport. Rugby, cycling and equestrian report the highest incidence of sports related concussion in New Zealand. (1)

    What is a concussion?

    Concussion is a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force transmitted to the head.  Symptoms can have a rapid onset but may evolve over a number of minutes to hours (McCrory et al, 2017).  It is important to note that no abnormality is seen on standard brain scans such as CT and MRI scans.

    Symptoms might vary from person to person. 

    You might experience any of the following:

    • Mood and cognition symptoms such as difficulty remembering, concentration and or fatigue. 
    • Physical symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, sleep disturbances and/or noise sensitivity. 
    • Visual disturbances such as blurred or double vision and light sensitivity might also be reported.

    To put it simply, a concussion is a injury to your brain and even though you cannot see it, it is very real and needs to be taken seriously to reduce long term negative effects and to help you bounce back faster.

    What to do when you sustain a concussion?

    Importantly: Seek medical attention if you have severe pain, headaches, are vomiting or experienced a loss of consciousness.

    • Rest for 1-2 days and then gradually increase your daily activity level. Prolonged rest and activity avoidance is not recommended.
    • Sort out sleep pattern – return to a good bedtime routine. We need good sleep for recovery. It is important for optimal accuracy, muscle growth and restoration, learning and memory consolidation. Use mindfulness, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises if you are struggling with hypersomnia or insomnia.   There are several sleep apps that can be used.
    • Physiotherapy can help with neck pain, headaches as well as dizziness symptoms. This is done by various treatment techniques such as manual therapy, BPPV treatment, and exercises.  A return to work/sport plan can also be implement for each individual.


    • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest if needed during the day.
    • Initially avoid activities that are physically demanding or require a lot of concentration.
    • Return to school/work/study takes priority over return to sport.
    • Reduce the risk of a second concussion – avoid activities such as contact or recreational sports.
    • Reduce the stimulation (light; noise; screens; coffee; energy drinks; social events; cafes; restaurants).
    • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs! – they makes your symptoms worse and the hangover is so much worse than usual.

    Most adults recover in 14 days and children in 3-4 weeks.  If you are struggling with recovery, seek assistance from your GP or physiotherapist.  ACC can also assist in your return to work or school/studying.  Together, we can get you back to doing the things you love.

    For more fantastic information, see the ACCSportsSmart website and if you have any lingering symtoms such as dizzyness, headaches or any upper neck pain you should book in to be assessed by a experienced Physio.