The Role of a Kinesiologist in Concussion Rehab
By Balraj Dhillon, BSc. Kin
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head or body. They can be caused by sports injuries, falls, or car accidents, and can result in a range of symptoms including headache, dizziness, fatigue, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating.
Prescribed therapeutic exercise by a kinesiologist has long been recognized as an important part of concussion rehabilitation, as it can help improve brain function, reduce symptoms, and speed up recovery. Here’s a closer look at how exercise can help with concussion rehab:
- Improve brain function: Exercise has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, which can help nourish and oxygenate the brain cells. This can help reduce symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness and can also help improve cognition and memory.
- Reduce inflammation: Concussions can cause inflammation in the brain, which can contribute to symptoms such as headache and fatigue. Exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help reduce these symptoms.
- Increase endorphins: Exercise can increase the release of endorphins which are chemicals that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. This can help reduce pain and improve mood, which can be helpful for people recovering from a concussion.
- Enhance sleep: Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration, which is important for concussion recovery. Poor sleep can contribute to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, all of which are common symptoms of concussion.
- Increase cardiovascular fitness: Exercise can improve cardiovascular fitness, which can help reduce the risk of future concussions. This is particularly important for athletes who may be at a higher risk of concussion due to their participation in contact sports.
It is important to note that exercise should be carefully managed during concussion rehab, as over-exertion can worsen symptoms. A kinesiologist can help develop a safe and effective exercise plan that is tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities.
In summary, exercise plays a crucial role in concussion rehabilitation. It can help improve brain function, reduce inflammation, increase endorphins, enhance sleep, and increase cardiovascular fitness. By working with a healthcare professional, individuals can safely and effectively incorporate exercise into their concussion rehab plan.