Occupational Therapy and the Management of Post Concussion Syndrome:
Occupational Therapy helps people with the functional aspects of their everyday life. Persons with Post Concussion Syndrome often have challenges with completing their instrumental activities of daily living and returning to work. By working with an OT, the client begins to develop strategies to help them manage their symptoms and gradually return to their pre-accident activities. During OT Sessions, we review the client’s Post Concussion Syndrome symptoms and then look at ways to help them manage their triggers. Below I have listed a number of common symptoms and the ways in which OT can help a person manage them. Each client comes with a specific set of symptoms and activities that they are struggling with on a daily basis, thus each section/recommendation is adapted for specifically for the client:
- OT will review and educate around proper body mechanics when completing every day tasks, desk posture, and proper sleep posture
- Relaxation strategies including breathing, use of eye pillow, and some gentle yoga poses that help decrease headaches and can be used on a daily basis.
- Pacing strategies, to help prevent the onset or worsening of headaches. This includes looking at the typical daily tasks, helping the client to prioritize, include rest breaks and develop a plan to manage their symptoms.
- This is followed by developing a structured plan to gradually increase their endurances such that the client is able to tolerate more tasks without increasing their headache.
- Participation in a yoga class for post concussion syndrome (designed and led by an Occupational Therapist)
OT often works in conjunction with Speech and Language Therapists to help with the following symptoms:
- Decreased Memory- review appropriate use of technology with alarms and reminders, develop systems to help manage everyday items that get misplaced.
- Google Read and Write-another piece of technology that can support cognitive issues
- Decrease in ability to keep organized-OT works closely with the client to develop strategies to help organize and maintain the organizational system
- Reviewing everyday problems/challenges and work to develop a strategy
- Pacing strategies (as cognitive work can increase headaches): OT works with client to prioritize and pace cognitive activities to help minimize headaches and then to help gradually increase cognitive endurance
- Time Management strategies-OT works with client and appropriate technology to develop client specific time management strategies
- OT works with Binocular Vision Optometrist/Physiotherapist and helps to support the client with Binocular vision and/or balance exercises
- Visual spatial processing exercises-
- Google Read and Write- teach this client to use this tool to read emails decreasing the amount of reading time required
- Recommend wearing sunglasses to help with photosensitivity (sensitivity to bright lights)
Client’s often report hyperacusis (a disorder of noise perception in which clients report being overly sensitive to a range of sounds). OT works with client to develop a noise sensitivity plan as follows:
- recommendation of appropriate assistive devices such as musician’s ear plugs and/or noise cancelling headphones
- develop a plan to have periods of the day that minimizes sound as sound breaks
- develop a plan to gradually improve cognitive endurance when there is background noise
- OT works with client to help develop an appropriate individualized sleep routine
- reviews strategies to help fall asleep and return to sleep after waking
For more details on how an Occupational Therapist can help manage Post concussion symptoms, please do not hesitate to email Sheri Martin Soosaar at Creative Therapy Health Services or call (519) 954-5026.