Treating Head Injury Impacts and Concussions
Each year more than 20 million children and adults in the United States will suffer from concussions, mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or head trauma as a result of sports injuries, falls, blunt force trauma and motor vehicle accidents, according to the Center for Disease Control.
These injuries can seriously impact the patient’s quality of life. They can disrupt their participation in work, sports and everyday living.
People with head impact trauma often experience symptoms like dizziness, nausea, blurred or double vision, imbalance, hypersensitivity to light and cognitive impairment.
When a person who has sustained a serious injury is experiencing these symptoms, the challenge is to evaluate their balance (both static and dynamic), their concentration, their dynamic visual acuity and vestibular function.
Their conditions and recovery status post-trauma must be determined.
The health professional treating them must also provide evaluation and treatment resources and establish their baseline function prior to their participation in contact sports.
Normally this evaluation takes about one hour and includes seven standardized tests that give the health professional a complete profile of the person’s status or progress through recovery. A computer-generated report that includes test descriptions and normative data, results and recommendations is completed.
Evaluation tools include:
Clinical Test of Sensory Integration of Balance (CTSIB) – This test studies the balance-vestibular function under static and dynamic surface with and without vision.
Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) – This procedure evaluates the patient’s balance during active ambulation with specific activities and challenges.
Saccadic Eye Movement: Using two camera video goggles and software, this test allows for a precise computerized measurement of accuracy and timing of coordinated binocular eye movements.
AIB Computerized Dynamic Visual Acuity Test: This is a test for blurred or double vision during active head movement. It was based on N.A.S.A. research and developed at the American Institute of Balance. All branches of the U.S. Military has used this test.
IMPACT: Used by most major college and professional sports teams and head trauma centers, this popular test evaluates concentration in a fun to play computerized game.
Vestibular Rotation Test: The function of the vestibule-ocular reflex (VOR) is evaluated with this test. The VOR controls coordination of head and eye movement.
Provoked Vertigo Test: This procedures tests for the presence of Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo (BPPV), a common, but easily treated condition that follows even mild head bumps.