Expert treatment for concussions
One minute you’re chasing the puck or biking your favorite trail. The next minute, a body check into the boards or a fall off your bike can cause you to bump your head and get a concussion – bringing on physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms that make getting back to your favorite physical activities difficult.
At TRIA, we have a team of neuropsychologists, sports medicine doctors, physical therapists and athletic trainers who specialize in getting you back to play. We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help you return to your sport or favorite activities safely and as quickly as possible.
With the innovative treatment options found through our Sport Concussion Program, we’re regional leaders in treating concussions. And as part of HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we can connect you to neurologists and other specialists, if needed. No matter what you’re here for, you can expect world class care from the moment you walk through the doors.
"The care and treatment I received from the entire staff was nothing but outstanding."
Emergency care for concussions
If you or someone you know is experiencing any
What is a concussion?
The skull acts as a hard shell around the brain, protecting it from most injuries. Inside your skull, the brain floats in fluid. Sometimes, a blow to the head or a hard jolt to the body can cause the brain to bump against the inside of the skull, causing a concussion.
A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in a temporary change of normal brain function. It may affect the way the brain functions and processes sensory information, emotions, behaviors, balance, vision, memory and learning. This is referred to as a “functional injury” not a “structural injury.”
Concussions can cause physical, cognitive, mood and sleep-related symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, imbalance and visual disturbance. The signs and symptoms of a concussion can occur minutes or hours after the injury happens, and no two concussions are exactly alike – symptoms will look a little different for each person. Concussion symptoms may also appear as mental fogginess, difficulty concentrating, sleep disruptions, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, irritability or feeling more emotional than usual.
Just as concussion symptoms are a little different for everyone, recovery times will also vary from person to person. In most cases, symptoms heal in one to three weeks, but there are many factors that affect how quickly someone recovers from a concussion, including age.
After a concussion, we’ll work with athletes to make sure the injury has fully healed before returning to play. It’s important to get treatment for a sport concussion in order to prevent future injuries and lingering symptoms.
In some cases, concussion symptoms can linger longer than expected. This is protracted recovery, sometimes called post-concussion syndrome. Some people may continue to have headaches, difficulties concentrating, sleep disruptions, dizziness, and mood or behavioral changes more than three weeks after experiencing a sport concussion.
Our specialized approach can help you manage and recover from lingering concussion symptoms. We’ll provide care tailored to your specific needs to help you regain your quality of life and return to your sport or favorite activities.
When you visit the doctor for a concussion, we’ll start by asking you questions about your injury and symptoms. Then we’ll determine which tests are needed to diagnose the type and severity of your condition. Common tests include:
This is an exam that you’ve likely had before at a checkup. During a neurological exam, we’ll check your balance, coordination and motor skills. We might use a small hammer to tap your joints to check your reflexes, shine a light into your eyes to check your pupils, and do other small, painless tests.
Concussions often come with cognitive symptoms such as memory issues and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms aren’t always obvious. We use cognitive testing to check for even subtle changes to your brain function.
During cognitive testing, we’ll ask you to perform different mental exercises. You might memorize a short list of words or do counting exercises. These exercises use different parts of your brain and help us make sure your brain is working as it should.
Treatment for concussions
In many cases, concussions will heal on their own over time. However, specialized treatment may be needed to help manage more severe symptoms. Here are some of the treatments we commonly use at TRIA:
Our neuropsychologists will guide you toward the best treatment options and through challenges at school or work. We’ll also help you with social or behavioral modifications that will keep you more comfortable. And we’ll work with you to help prevent future injuries, determine the next steps in your treatment plan and make decisions about returning to play.
Post-concussion symptoms like dizziness, imbalance, visual concerns and difficulties focusing can make recovery difficult. Our physical therapy specialists have advanced training in vestibular and ocular motor therapy, a type of physical therapy that treats these issues. We’ll work with you and tailor treatments specifically to your sport and unique needs. In most cases, you’ll have weekly visits with one of our physical therapists, along with prescribed home exercise programs.
Our physical therapy specialists also have advanced training in assessing and managing neck-related injuries that can occur with concussion. Neck and spine injuries can cause pain, discomfort, limited range of motion, headaches and dizziness. Treating all of your concerns is a key part of helping you recover from your injury. Addressing cervical spine problems and pain management during recovery is vital.
Physical exertion training and return to sport progression
Once concussion symptoms have resolved or stabilized, athletes are often encouraged to begin an exercise program or return-to-play plan. This will include exertion therapy.
Exertion therapy is an important treatment for people who have lingering concussion symptoms (protracted recovery). During this treatment, we’ll guide you through an individual treatment plan with exercises to help you rehabilitate. Our team specializes in designing sport-specific return-to-play plans to help you recover fully and safely get back in the game.
Medication is sometimes needed to help with headaches, sleep disturbance, mood concerns or cognitive difficulties. We’re experts in how to use medicines and supplements for concussion recovery.
If we prescribe medication, we’ll talk with you about what we’re prescribing and how it will help, making sure to answer any questions you have.
At TRIA, we offer several different types of integrative medicine, including yoga therapy, acupuncture and TRIA Well consults.
Counseling and sports psychology services
Changes in behavior and mood, like anxiety or irritability, can occur with concussion. These symptoms can arise from changes within the brain or the stress of being away from academic, exercise and sports routines. Our clinical sports neuropsychologists offer counseling and sports psychology services to help you recover from these changes and feel like yourself again.
If you need other mental health services, we’ll refer you to a specialist.