Treatment for Concussion Rehabilitation & Brain Injury Care
Concussion Rehabilitation in Edmonton with Zone Psychology
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body. In fact, most whiplash motions have the potential to become a concussion. Although there may be no signs of injury this doesn’t mean a concussion hasn’t occurred.
At Zone Psychology Edmonton, we use cutting edge, Cognitive-Perceptual Training technology to accurately assess and more importantly, provide you with concussion rehabilitation and treatments for your concussion symptoms to systematically improve your brain function. In most cases, Neurofeedback and Biofeedback are recommended for rehabilitation.
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What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Concussions can be caused by a blow to the head or body. In fact, most whiplash motions have the potential to become a concussion. Although there may be no signs of injury this doesn’t mean a concussion hasn’t occurred.
Concussion Symptoms May Include:
- Nausau or vomiting
- Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Feeling “foggy” or confusion
- Appearing dazed
- “Seeing stars” or dizziness
- (tinnitus) inging in the ears
- “When in doubt, sit them out!”
- If you feel nauseous, dizzy, or are experiencing blurred vision, headaches, or just feeling “not right”, it is best to remove yourself from work, physical activity, or from sports.
- Visit your family physician.
- Visit a chiropractor to determine if headaches, pinched nervers, or neck damage are the underlying cause of headches.
- Create a recovery program.
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Our Concussion Rehabilitation and Baseline Testing Program Begins with a Comprehensive set of Tests
Our concussion rehabilitation and baseline testing protocol consists of a series of tests examining memory, concentration, visual tracking speed, processing abilities, balance, and reaction timing. These tests are used to assess the overall current functioning of the brain. If a concussion is later suspected, the results established from the baseline can be measured against a post test and used to determine impairment in brain functioning. In addition, they are used as an effective measure to determine when the brain has fully recovered and the athlete is safe to return to play or the client is ready to return back to work. For most accurate measuring, a baseline test for athletes should be done prior to the start of each season.
Following a concussion, the “sitting in a dark room” approach is only effective for so long. Concussions, like other injuries, should be properly managed and rehabilitated. At Zone Performance Psychology we understand that each client is affected differently and therefore a customized rehabilitation program will be designed to meet the specific needs of each client. Management strategies are used to limit the amount of impairment as well as expedite recovery as much as possible. The following procedures will be utilized to assess and rehabilitate your concussion so that you can recover as quickly and safely as possible:Concussion Rehabilitation and Baseline Testing
A series of Cognitive Performance Tests (CPT’s):
- Sustained Attention
- Sequential Memory
- Episodic Memory
- Working Memory (Visual and Auditory)
- Short-Term Memory (Visual and Auditory)
- Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
- List Retention
- Spatial Sorting
- Stroop Test
The IVA-2 (Integrated Visual & Auditory -2 Continuous Performance Test
The TOVA Test (Test of Variable Attention)
A 19 channel Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG)
A Cognitive-Perceptual Assessment
Most concussions will not show up on CT scans or other neuroimaging processes. Everyone is different, so is no set timeline for concussion recovery.
“Any blow to the body that is significant enough to cause whiplash will result in damage to the brain.”
“Symptoms and relief of symptoms ultimately determines the degree of severity”
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Quantitative Electroencephalography (qEEG) & Neurofeedback
Quantitative Electroencephalography (qEEG) is a brain imaging technique that provides a wealth of information regarding brain function that allows us to better understand an individual’s experienced symptoms and behavior. Creating a map of the brain’s electrical activity is actually fairly straightforward and takes only a couple of hours. It is also completely non-invasive and pain-free. This procedure allows us with pinpoint accuracy to identify what parts of the brain aren’t “firing” correctly, and why.
Our Lead Psychologist will conduct a thorough post-injury evaluation in order to gain a complete picture of your injury and how it’s impacted you. This includes a detailed interview in order to obtain information on:
- How the injury occurred
- How you felt immediately after
- How you’re feeling currently
- History of previous concussions
- Current and past medical conditions
- Previous trauma/injury
Neurofeedback, also called EEG feedback also known as Electroencephalography (EEG) Biofeedback is a learning strategy that enables a person to alter their own brain waves.
For over four decades, EEG has been used in research and medical settings to help train individuals to change brain wave patterns. Only recently, have advances in computer technology made it widely available for the general public and athletic populations.
Thus, Neurofeedback can be referred to as brain exercise or mental training. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. Good self-regulation is necessary for optimal brain function and performance optimization. Self-regulation training enhances the function of the central nervous system and thereby improves mental performance, emotional control, and physiological self-regulation.
During a 50-minute Neurofeedback session, sensors are attached to the scalp at preselected locations with EEG paste, which detects the brain waves. It is a painless procedure and does not involve the application of any voltage or current to the brain. It is entirely non-invasive.
The Neurofeedback Performance Psychology Consultant observes the brain in action on the computer screen from moment to moment by monitoring brain waves and rewards shifts towards more optimal and stable brain states.
As the client engages in a training screen or video game that responds to the client’s brain waves that represent well-regulated attention focus and arousal levels the graphics appear uninterrupted.
Conversely, when the brain waves are not meeting the parameters set by the intervention, the training screen or video game is temporally stopped. Specifically, Neurofeedback (auditory and visual) allows the client’s brain to detect and release un-useful or sub-optimal patterns, which can be a source of distraction-such as negative self-talk and self-regulate them and convert them into a positive attentional focus.
Consequently, the brain responds to the challenge of the feedback and moves towards a more adaptive and flexible functioning. During the course of the training, program settings are continuously adjusted on the feedback program to define greater challenges for the client until the client achieves mastery. In some cases, this can be done in 15-20 sessions, in others it could take quite a bit longer (80-100).
Contact us for more information on concussion rehabilitation and baseline testing.
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Audio Visual Entrainment / Photic-Biomodulation
This is a technique that utilizes pulses of light and sound at specific frequencies to gently and safely guide the brain into various brain wave patterns. By altering your brain wave frequencies, you have the ability to boost your mood, improve sleep patterns, sharpen your mind and increase your level of relaxation, all with the simple push of a button! AVE also increases brain health by increasing cerebral blood flow and stimulating beneficial neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins.
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Cognitive-Perceptual Assessment and Training for Concussion Rehabilitation and Baseline Testing
NeuroTracker emerged out of 20 years of neuroscience research to enhance cognitive performance and endurance. It challenges you to track multiple targets moving dynamically in 3D space. Training sessions are continually adapting for speed and complexity to ensure your brain is being challenged at a threshold that promotes the most change.
NeuroTracker isolates, trains and tests the high-level mental resources that are necessary for the perception of complex movement in a dynamic sports environment. These perceptual-cognitive resources are known be sensitive to concussion-related damage, particularly during late recovery stages when impairments are measurable but the patient is otherwise symptom free and feeling normal. For this reason, combined with the reality that NeuroTracker is a direct objective measurement of brain function and processing speed, NeuroTracker is an ideal baseline measurement in any concussion program. A baseline session lasts approximately 30-40 minutes.
Zone Performance Psychology has partnered with NeuroTracker to assist our patients in both their concussion rehabilitation, and sports performance. The systems and cognitive functioning that are impaired following a concussion are the same as what athletes need to perform at their best during competition. This is what makes NeuroTracker such a valuable tool for both concussion patients, and athletes striving to give themselves an edge to perform at their best.
Brain scans reveal that NeuroTracker training sustainably increases brainwave speeds, associated with heightened alertness and learning capacity. This is also associated with increased neuroplasticity, meaning that the brain has an increased ability to adapt and change to better respond to the demands of functioning in day to day life. Research has shown that the use of NeuroTracker enhances attention, alertness, working memory and processing speed. What does this mean? The use of this tool will allow you to use your visual system more efficiently in a way that allows you to better attend to multiple sources of information in your environment, pay attention for longer with sustained focus, and maintain enhanced awareness.
Often times following a concussion, we hear patients describe forgetfulness, word finding challenges, difficulty with multi-tasking, and challenges engaging in group discussions. When used in combination with an appropriate assessment and treatment program, NeuroTracker can help improve brain function by reteaching patients how to simultaneously integrate the systems that are necessary for recovery and can otherwise be difficult to train.
At Zone Performance Psychology, we will incorporate NeuroTracker training into your post-concussion rehabilitation program to allow for enhanced recovery of cognitive and visual processing systems.
Heart Rate Variability Training
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a technique that measures your physiological functions under stress and peak performance like breathing (respiration rate RR), heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP). This technique teaches clients how to self-regulate these functions through diaphragmatic breathing techniques taught at an optimal pace to ensure coherence between heart rate and respiration.
More specifically, heart rate is coordinated with your breathing patterns and vice versa. The client will receive feedback on the monitors how these physiological functions change (HRV) under situations of stress and optimal functioning in both performance and life situations. The aim of the process is to teach clients how to control or self-regulate HRV for optimal functioning under pressure on demand.
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6 Steps to Return To Play and Academics
A typical return to play or activity protocol is as follows.
Please note that each level is a step, not a day, so it may take more than one day to proceed with each step. However, each step should take a minimum of one day.
The time needed to progress from non-contact to contact exercise will vary with the severity of the concussion and player.
Begin drills with body contact.
Insurance Coverage for Treating Concussions
Zone Psychology offers DIRECT BILLING. Your concussion treatments may be covered by your health insurance plan or employee health benefits. Contact us or your health insurance provider about coverage.