The severity of a concussion, increasingly referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), can vary from one incident to the next, and symptoms can tell us a great deal about what issues need to be addressed during rehab. Particularly in the case of multiple sustained concussions, repeated blows can result in serious damage to the cervical spine, brain, vestibular and ocular systems. Evaluation by a competent sports neurologist is the first step in identifying which systems have been affected, and what treatment measures are called for to address them.
Most patients who sustain an MTBI report more than one symptom, which may include any combination of:
● Temporary loss of consciousness
● Muddled thinking
● Trouble concentrating
● Memory loss
● Persistent headache
● Blurred vison
● Bouts of dizziness
● Nausea and vomiting
● Balance issues
● Running into objects
● Loss of sense of time
● Other various issues
Damage sustained from an MTBI may affect more than one system, and careful diagnosis by an experienced concussion specialist is called for to identify appropriate and effective treatment.
Many practitioners claim to be concussion specialists, yet lack the tools, credentials and expertise to effectively diagnose and treat MTBIs. In fact, effective rehab may require a team of specialists to treat multiple symptoms in the same patient. Team members might include:
● Sports neurologist
● Physical therapist
● Occupational therapist
● Speech therapist
● Other specialists
Brain injuries are complicated, and accurately assessing and diagnosing symptoms is key to developing a treatment strategy to restore an MTBI patient to full functionality.
Every case of MTBI is unique to the injured and the incident, and therefore all cases of MTBI should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The length of time and the strategies needed for recovery will vary from one individual to the next.
One cutting-edge approach to evaluating MTBI symptoms is CAREN, acronym for Computer Assisted Rehab Environment. This virtual reality environment helps concussion specialists fully evaluate the severity and types of injuries sustained by MTBI patients, and provides a safe environment in which to treat them without risk of further injury. Presently, NYDNRehab in Manhattan is the only facility in the United States that uses CAREN as an integral part of their MTBI treatment approach. The team of concussion specialists at NYDNRehab are professional, experienced and equipped to diagnose and treat MTBI in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of NYC.
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