For Physical Therapists
Concussion. Like any brain injury you can’t see the injury but you can see how the injury impacts people in their daily life. From sports related injury to motor vehicle injury, the damage is life altering and the consequences may be a life-long. As the incidence and awareness of concussion injury grows so does the need for your services to help those who are injured return to their daily activities free of symptoms.
As a physical therapist it is your role to guide clients through a course of rehabilitation with knowledge, compassion and clinical experience. As you know, many of the symptoms associated with concussion injury are visual and parallel the symptoms of binocular dysfunction. Providing vision therapy, vision rehabilitation and oculo-vestibular training plays a significant role in the journey to a symptom free functional recovery from concussion injury.
Oculo-motor skills – [saccadic eye movements, fixation and ocular pursuits] - break down with concussion injury and never break down in isolation. These, along with the associated accommodation and convergence dysfunction are known to be trainable and when trained, help recovery four times faster than with rest alone. Since 50% of neural tissue is indirectly related to vision and 66% of the brain’s electrical activity is visual (when eyes are open), it should be no surprise that as the visual distress from concussion injury resolves, so do the symptoms of concussion injury.
The training you provide in clinic is essential. Adding a home based vision therapy/vision rehabilitation program to compliment your clinical work would go a long way to help the recovery process. To do this you can and should, provide every concussion patient with a C-Rod. The C-Rod is a low cost, light weight, portable, water and damage resistant vision rehabilitation tool developed with vision science by an optometrist to train slow saccades, fast saccades, fixation, ocular pursuits and accommodation/convergence in your clinic and at home. The C-Rod provides a standardized target separation of 40 cm on a defined plane along five axes and held at Harmon distance in keeping with VOMS. A new concussion client who first attempts to use the C-Rod will have distress and will not be able to complete the C-Rod’s six exercises. Over time, and as recovery evolves, oculomotor skills will be regained and eventually most concussion sufferers will successfully manage the C-Rod’s six skills without distress.
The C-Rod is a diagnostic and therapy tool and can be used for return-to-play decisions.
Visual rehabilitation not only assists with the functional recovery from concussion, it also provides feedback of recovery to the injured person. Every concussion patient will ask three questions:
- Am I getting better?
- How do I know I am getting better?
- What can I do to help myself get better?
Vision rehabilitation is not a stand-alone therapy for concussion/brain injury, but using the C-Rod for five minutes a day in clinic and at home will help resolve the visual symptoms associated with concussion and answer the three common recovery questions.
Adding the C-Rod to your clinical therapy program will enhance your clinical outcomes.