Category Archives: Blog

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Muscle Pain

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Muscle Pain

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle Pain; SCM Muscle

Patients with complaints of ear pain or fullness could have Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle pain.

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle pain typically brings complaints of dizziness, sudden hearing loss, headache, or jaw pain, even when everything appears to be normal. If this is the case it might be time to consider a muscular or mechanical reason for the symptoms. Many patients with these complaints are referred to physical therapy clinics after months of testing that are inconclusive and often negative. We have found the sternocleidomastoid muscle is often the source of the patient’s complaints.

Pain and Symptoms Associated with the Sternocleidomastoid

Sternal Division
This is the muscle head that connects to the breastbone (sternum).
Pain may be felt in these areas:

  • Cheek and jaw
  • Sinuses
  • Back of the head at the bottom of the skull
  • Around one eye
  • Top of head

It may also be associated with these symptoms:

  • Tearing of eye
  • Visual disturbances when viewing parallel lines
  • Chronic “sore throat” when swallowing,
  • Chronic dry cough

Clavicular Division
This is the muscle head that connects to the collarbone (clavicle).
Symptoms may be felt in these areas:

  • Pain across the forehead
  • Frontal sinus-like headache
  • Earache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Car-sickness
  • Faulty weight perception of held objects
  • Hearing loss in one ear

Physical Therapy can help patients experience Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle pain relief in as little as one visit.

A physical therapist will evaluate the patient to determine which part of the Sternocleidomastoid Muscle is causing the patient pain, as well as the sensitivity levels of trigger points. Once a treatment plan has been determined our licensed physical therapists will work with patients on certain exercises and stretches designed to increase flexibility and strengthen the Sternocleidomastoid muscle. Hands-on manual therapy techniques are used to relax the muscle to help reduce pain levels. Dry needling may also be utilized to give relief to multiple trigger points.

This article was written by the physical therapists at Quad City Physical Therapy, located in Davenport, IA. More information about Qaud City PT can be found at

Ways to get rid of stress

6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Stress

Ways to get rid of stress

When talking about stress, the first thing I think of is a quote from a poem by Damian Bar.  “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Our experiences and perspectives on situations are unique and can provide stress in different ways. Regardless of the size and shape of your boat, we invite you to practice some self-care and hopefully reduce the amount of stress you’re experiencing.

6 Ways to Overcome Stress

1. Exercise
Exercise is great for so many reasons. You already know it’s good for you, but did you know that it also helps reduce stress? Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, helps clear the mind, and can improve the quality of your sleep.

2. Promote Sleep
Stress can not only cause you to lose sleep, but lack of sleep is a key cause of stress! This cycle causes the body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time. Reduce your afternoon caffeine intake, spend time each day exercising, and try turning the TV off early. Instead of watching the news or binge-watching a new show, read a book.

3. Take Deep Breaths
“Take a deep breath” is not a cliché. For an easy 3-5 minute exercise, sit up in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. Deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind, while shallow breathing may cause stress.

4. Eat Right
Eating healthy foods is a great way to get rid of stress. Avoid sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Fruits and vegetables are always a good option. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have also been known to reduce the symptoms of stress.

5. Spend Quality Time with a Family Member or Friend
Combat stress by calling or texting a friend or family member. Put some time aside to grab a coffee or to talk. Having a scheduled time with someone can give you something fun to look forward to.

6. Listen to Music
When you feel overwhelmed, take a break and listen to relaxing classical or meditative music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body. It can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

What Does Self-Care Look Like To You

Take our poll to see what others are doing to relieve stress. 

Not every solution works for every person. If you need help finding stress relief or a self-care regimen that works for you, don’t hesitate to connect with a counselor or therapist for help. You’re worth it. PTandMe works closely with physical and occupational therapy clinics around the country. If you need help with an exercise program or are experiencing pain, please find the help you need to start feeling better today.

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fall prevention at home

Fall Prevention: Fall Risks & Tips in your home

fall risks prevention tips at home

While falls can happen anywhere, more than half occur in the home. One in every three adults 65 and older fall AT HOME each year in the U.S. One of the easiest ways to help prevent a fall is to make sure that specific tripping hazards are addressed and removed. We’ve compiled a short list below to help you get started.

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  • Feeling pain or stiffness when you walk
  • Needing to walk slower or to hold on to things for support
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady when you get up from your bed or chair
  • Feeling weak in your legs
  • You take more than one medication
  • You have problems seeing
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year



  • Is the lighting adequate, especially at night?
  • Are stairwells well-lit?
  • Is there a working flashlight in case of power failure?
  • Can lights easily be turned on even before entering
    a dark room?


  • Are there any wet surfaces that are frequently wet?
  • Are steps and stairs in good repair and the
    appropriate rise?
  • Do steps have handrails in good repair?

Trip Hazards

  • Are there throw rugs in the walking path?
  • Does the family pet often sleep in walking paths?
  • Is the carpet in good repair without tears or fraying?
  • Are there extension cords or raised door sills in the walking paths?
  • Is there a clear path from the bed to the bathroom?

If you feel that you are at risk for falls, talk to your physical therapy provider. Most physical therapy clinics offer fall risk assessments that can help determine any areas of risk. By participating in a fall prevention program, you can reduce the likelihood of a fall and increase the ability to live independently. Fall prevention programs mainly focus on core strength, flexibility, and patient education.


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FLYR_FallPrevention_HomeFalls fall risks

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:

fall risks    fall risks
Gamer Ergonomics

Gamer Ergonomics

Ergonomics for Gamers

You’ve probably heard of ergonomics and how important it is. However, most people typically think of them when setting foot in the workplace, but what if we told you that it applies to gamers as well?

That’s right! Gamers can use proper ergonomics to keep their body healthy and pain-free while keeping the game off pause!

Physical Therapy Appointment

What is Proper Gamer Ergonomics Posture?

Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down. Gaming posture, therefore, is simply the position in which your body is in while gaming, which, more often than not, is in the sitting position.

Prolonged periods of sitting can increase your risk for muscular imbalance and joint degeneration of the hips, spine, and shoulders. This is why the #1 thing you can do to improve your gamer ergonomics is to take a standing break to stretch out and loosen up your body.

Some ailments that can be caused by improper gamer posture can include but are not limited to:

  • Back pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Improper balance
  • Muscle tightness

Proper Gaming Posture

We all know that playing video games while standing isn’t the ideal way to play, as most of us want to kick back and relax when firing up the console or PC, so some ways to improve your gaming posture when doing so include:

  • Sitting up straight in your designated gaming seat with your lower back supported by a lumbar curve.
  • Sitting with your bottom & thighs distributing even pressure on your seat.
  • Making sure that your monitor or TV is at eye level to put less strain on your neck.
  • Keep your controller or mouse and keyboard in a position where your wrists are straight and not angled upwards or downwards.
  • Making sure that the area behind the knee is not touching the seat.
  • Keeping your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Proper gaming ergonomics promotes good posture and helps:

  • Keep bones and joints in the correct alignment so muscles can be used properly.
  • Decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis and other severe conditions over time.
  • Decrease the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Counter fatigue because muscles are used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevent strain or overuse problems.
  • Avert backaches and muscular pains.

Ergonomics play an instrumental role in how your body feels on a day-to-day basis, helping prevent suffering injuries due to strain and overuse.

Physical and occupational therapists have experience working with patients to improve posture and ergonomics. For more information, find a therapist near you today!

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Preparing Athletes for a New Season

Back to Sports – Preparing Athletes for a New Season

Preparing Athletes for a New Season

Physical Therapy Appointment

Stepping onto the field, court, or track after a hiatus feels like reuniting with an old friend. To help athletes prepare for an upcoming season, we consulted with expert Brad Perry, owner of Kingwood Occupational & Physical Therapy in the Greater Houston area, for practical tips on training and injury prevention. Brad is a licensed physical therapist, USA Triathlon-Certified Coach, USA Track & Field-Certified Coach, an Adjunct Faculty at the Institute for Athlete Regeneration, where he teaches certifications for Sports Manual Therapy to the MLB, NBA, NFL, & NHL sports medicine teams, and a consultant for the Olympian Ryan Bolton.

How can athletes prepare for an up-and-coming sports season?

Some of the biggest things that people leave out are the recovery and rest portions.

They think about the output of what they need to do. They think ‘I have to put in all this training’, but they never schedule recovery and rest and coaches do it as well. They’ll schedule out all these weeks of training, but they forget to schedule out days to recover and rest properly. Some athletes think “Instead of recovering I’m going to go do an extra rep or two for whatever that sport is” and so then they end up overdoing it.

A lot of research has shown that rest and recovery is usually the most important thing for an athlete to do to prevent injury.

Sleep is Just as Important as Recovery and Rest

Young athletes can forget that sleep is so important. They stay up late studying and then they wake up the next morning, get to practice, and run on only five to six hours of sleep. Young athletes need sleep, especially if they’re a teenager, they’re growing and they need sleep. They need at least 8 hours of sleep.

Scheduling sleep and recovery days, of course, are some of the most precious things to keep in mind before getting back into a sport. I recommend all athletes have an athletic assessment performed on their mobility and strength before the season begins. That will examine where their weaknesses are, where their immobility and tightness are in their body. 

Most people get a school physical which is an assessment of general issues to make sure there are no alarming issues, such as with the heart and lungs, whereas an athletic assessment will uncover any underlying, detailed issues that might lead to injury. 

What routines should athletes do before starting their season? (ie. Basketball, cross-country, volleyball, football)

Trying to do some kind of strength and conditioning before the season gets rolling is important.

If an athlete hasn’t been training over the summer, it’s going to hit hard when they get out and try to practice.  From an individual standpoint, looking at their [athletic] assessment of what we were talking about before;  the mobility and strength assessments, looking at those and seeing what their strengths and weaknesses [are], and then we can teach them what exercises they need to be doing. From there, I [physical therapist] can prescribe the proper exercises and the proper strength and mobility exercises for them. Based on their assessments, we would focus on that routine.  For instance,  if they have decreased mobility in their ankle joint, we’d give them some ankle stretches. 

Athletes shouldn’t just go through the motions of a dynamic warm-up if they don’t know what’s weak and what’s tight.

Dynamic warm-ups should be specific to the athlete, and not necessarily to the team. They’re going to do warm-ups for the team, but at an individual level, an athlete should take 5 minutes before the team warm-up to focus on their specific strengths, weaknesses, and tightness.

What equipment do you suggest purchasing before going back to sports training? What should they pack in their duffel bag?

Proper shoes.

Make sure that they’ve tried those shoes on [and that] they’ve practiced in those shoes before game day. You know, you can’t just walk in — and that’s one of the biggest things– sometimes people throw on a pair of shoes and go run cross country or play basketball, and they’ve never tried their shoes on before, except on gameday. Then, all of a sudden, they have pain in their feet because they don’t fit properly. So, make sure they have the proper shoe wear at that point.  Each sport will have its equipment, but I think footwear is the most important thing.

What are your nutrition recommendations to prepare for sports training?

Clean eating is #1. When I say clean, I usually talk about eating your nutrients instead of just relying on shakes and things like that.

If you try to hit all the proper nutrition [goals] through actually eating the proper food, then you’ll probably check all the boxes off as far as getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals into the diet. Every sport is going to be a little bit different depending on what their needs are. One sport might need more protein or runoff carbohydrates than another sport, so it is going to be specific to their sport on what their food pyramid looks like.

Every pyramid is going to be a little bit different. Everybody thinks about the food pyramid, but in sports, every sport is a little bit different as far as energy levels and what they need to produce the best energy. If they haven’t already, I would definitely recommend talking to a dietitian, that way they understand what they need for their body to be fueled properly. Sometimes they’re just focused on calories and they’re eating bad food, with lots of sugar, and that doesn’t benefit an athlete at all.

Should athletes get a pre-participation sports physical?

There are physicals and then there are athletic assessments.

I have helped with school physicals every year. What it checks for is scoliosis, you’re checking for [any alarming] conditions. They’ll do a test on the strength of their shoulders to see if they can hold their arms in certain positions. It doesn’t tell you a lot about their specific weaknesses and strengths. [During a physical], they’ll listen to the heart and lungs, listen for heart murmurs or lung issues. And so that “checks the boxes” as far as being able to play the sport. Athletic assessments assess the athlete’s ability to perform the sport. The physical is [used to determine] if they can physically participate. The athletic assessment is [used to determine] if they can perform that sport to the best of their ability.

The athletic assessment is assessing, “What do they need to do to be able to get back to that sport?” We watch them squat. We watch them lunge. We watch them do a push-up. Then we usually [have them] do about 8 or 9 different types of movements to watch and assess their weaknesses. “Why can’t they perform this certain movement?” Well, is it because they’re weak or is it because they can’t move that way? So, they [may be] tight. If we do a squat, we can assess why they can’t go all the way down on a squat. “Is it because their glutes are weak or is it because their hips are stiff?”

That’s what a physical therapist should be able to do, to look at the mechanics of that movement and determine what’s stopping them, whether it is a strength or a mobility issue.


We’d like to thank Brad Perry, PT, MS, STS, FAAOMPT,  for taking the time to answer our questions.  To find more information about his clinic in Kingwood, TX, or find a physical therapist near you, click the button below.

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Back Pack Safety

Backpack Safety 101

Back Pack Safety
With summer coming to an end and the need for school supplies and backpacks returning, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping with your child. Continue below for back pack safety tips to make sure your kids don’t have any unnecessary back pain this year.


  • Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
  • Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
  • Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back


  • Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
  • Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
  • Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders


Weight Of Pack

  • Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine

BackPack Weight Charts

Lifting Of Pack

  • Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack

  • Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
  • Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center


  • Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.

If your child does start to complain of constant back pain, talk to your pediatrician and make sure that it isn’t a more serious issue such as scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine is curved either front to back or side to side and is often rotated to one side or the other. It can occur at birth (congenitally), develop over time having no obvious cause, but often seen related to posture and growth (idiopathically) or due to an injury or the other condition (secondarily), such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The most common type is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15, during periods of rapid growth. There are two kinds of curves, single or “C” curves and double or “S” curves. “C” curves are slightly more common than “S” curves. The curve can occur in the upper back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar), or a combination of both.

Strength for necessary upright postures of daily life is essential. Sometimes it cannot be maintained due to a “growth spurt,” fatigue from daily postural demands or poor postural habits common among adolescents. A physical therapist can analyze a patient’s history, habits and activities which may be contributing to their curvature and symptoms. Common findings include tightness and decreased motion and strength in the hips and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to compensate with side bending and rotation. Treatment will include muscular re-educating techniques and manual techniques to restore motion, posture training, specific strengthening and home exercises.

Benefits of Water Aerobics

The Benefits of Water Aerobics

Benefits of Water Aerobics

When summer gets too hot (Especially in August!), it’s good to break free from your typical outdoor exercises in your workout to avoid overheating. If you’re looking for a break from the heat and don’t want to ruin your routine, swimming laps or doing aquatic exercises are great alternatives. 

Both swimming and aquatic exercises (water aerobics) provide a great workout. Swimming laps build up endurance, speed, and strength, but if you’re unfamiliar with proper swimming techniques, or don’t have a lot of endurance, it’s better to start with water aerobics.

The Benefits of Water Aerobics

Aquatic exercise routines keep you cool in the summer and provide full-body aerobic workouts with anaerobic benefits. Some health benefits include burning calories, strengthening the muscles, improving cardiovascular health, and more balanced mental health. Plus, you get bonuses that you can’t get from a dryland exercise routine; these include:

  • Buoyancy: Water decreases the gravity placed on limbs. The decrease in gravity makes movement easier by lessening the stress on joints, muscles, and bones.
  • Water Pressure: Water surrounds the body and helps blood circulation in the joints. This can reduce swelling, and as swelling decreases, the range of motion can increase.
  • ResistanceWater provides a full-body workout to strengthen every working muscle. Muscle toning, weight reduction, and sensory awareness can improve with aquatic exercises.

Starting a Water Aerobics Workout

No matter how beneficial aquatic exercises are for the body, stay within the bounds of your swimming abilities. Most water aerobic exercises can be performed in waist-deep water. There is no reason to put yourself at risk in the pool. Simple exercises to help get you started include:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Running/Walking
  • Squat Jumps
  • Side Shuffling
  • Scissor Kicks

Water aerobics is a great way to boost the overall health of your body. So take advantage of your local pools while you still can. If you are on a workout plan provided by a medical professional or have been put on medical restrictions, contact your provider today to determine if you could benefit from a water aerobic routine.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News July 2023

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout July 2023. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

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1. What is Dry Needling Really Like?

Written by Southern Rehab & Sports Medicine (Powered by P4) with over 4 locations in NW Georgia

The term “dry needling” refers to the fact that the needles themselves do not contain any medication. Because the needles do not have to be large enough to hold medicine, the needles themselves are very thin–8x smaller than the injection you receive at the doctor when undergoing vaccines. The primary goal of dry needling is to desensitize those irritable, tender knots in muscle tissue that cause pain…  Read more


breast cancer physical therapy

2. Physical Therapy and Breast Cancer

Written by The Jackson Clinics an outpatient physical therapy practice with 19 locations in NE Virginia

Breast cancer treatment often involves surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy. Although these life-saving interventions are essential in breast cancer treatment, they can have side effects of pain, loss of range of motion in the affected limb, or swelling in the arm, commonly referred to as lymphedema. Physical therapy is a critical and essential part of breast cancer rehabilitation and recovery to restore function and improve quality of life…  Read more


Physical Therapy

3. What do Physical Therapists Do?

Written by Jaco Rehab, an outpatient physical therapy group with 4 locations on Oahu.

Physical therapists have a broad skill set. They can rehabilitate sprained ankles, treat a burn wound, or regulate a premature baby’s vitals in neonatal care. They collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide treatment and get you moving. So if you get a physical therapy referral from your doctor, know you’re on the way to recovery. Keep reading to learn what physical therapists do… Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News July 2023 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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recovery after an injury

The 4 Stages of Recovery After an Injury

recovery after an injury

Soft tissue injuries are commonly categorized depending on a time frame beginning with the date the injury occurred. Physical therapy programs can help make recovery after an injury easier on the body.  Physical therapists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries. They can also determine your phase of healing and the best techniques to continue the path to recovery.

Stage 1: Acute Stage | Protection Phase

A soft tissue injury is termed as acute from the initial time of injury and while the pain, bleeding, and swelling is at its worst. Your body’s aim at this point is to protect your injury from further damage. The usual time frame for your acute symptoms to settle is two to four days post-injury, but this can vary depending on how you treat your injury.

Treatment consists of modalities such as:

to help control inflammation and pain. Gentle movement can be added to maintain mobility.

Stage 2: Sub-Acute Stage | Repair Phase

A soft tissue injury is termed as sub-acute when the initial acute phase makes a transition to repairing the injured tissues. This phase commonly lasts up to six weeks post-injury when your body is busy laying down new soft tissue and reducing the need to protect your injury as the new scar tissue begins to mature and strengthen.

  • Modalities are still used as needed for inflammation.
  • Strengthening exercises are added as tolerated to stabilize around the injured area and begin to increase function.

Stage 3: Late Stage | Remodelling Phase

Your body does not magically just stop tissue healing at six-week post-injury. Healing is a continuum. At six weeks post-soft tissue injury your healing tissue is reasonably mature but as you stretch, strengthen and stress your new scar tissue it often finds that it is not strong enough to cope with your increasing physical demand.

When your body detects that a repaired structure is still weaker than necessary, it will automatically stimulate additional new tissue to help strengthen and support the healing tissue until it meets the demands of your normal exercise or physical function.

The period between six weeks and three months post-injury is commonly referred to as the remodeling phase.

  • Treatment will focus on progression back to pre-injury level and modality use is minimized.
  • Strengthening exercises are more dynamic and in several planes of motion.

Stage 4: Final Stage | Ongoing Repair and Remodelling

The final stage of tissue repair can last from 3 months up to 12 months. Scar tissue needs time to properly align and gain tensile strength needed for the forces placed on it. This phase focuses on improving the quality of the new tissue and preventing re-injury.

  • Treatment will be sport and activity specific to prepare for demands placed on the injured site.
  • Education on preventing re-injury is key!

Every injury faces its own challenges and breakthroughs. For more detailed information about a specific soft tissue injury reach out to your physical therapist. They can bring you successfully through each stage of recovery after an injury.

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concussion treatment

Concussion Treatment and What to Expect

concussion treatment

Concussion Treatment and What To Expect

Physical Therapy Appointment

  • Our goal is to alleviate all concussion-related symptoms so that you may return to a normal, symptom-free life.
  • Vestibular, oculomotor, cognitive, and cardiovascular exercises will be incorporated into your treatment. Some exercises will bring on symptoms, which is normal. By introducing symptoms in a controlled manner, we are retraining the brain to adapt to these demands.
  • To monitor your symptoms while you are here, imagine that when you come in you have a “gas tank” or work capacity of 100%. We would like to work until your brain is at 50%. The goal is to fatigue your brain to make it stronger, not to make it hurt.
  • In the first 24 hours after therapy, you may experience an increase in symptoms, fatigue, and emotional changes.
  • Routine activities such as work and school may bring on symptoms. you should work until symptoms appear, then rest until they are gone. Finding your limit and not going beyond it will contribute to your success.
  • Symptoms can be limited at home, school, and work by minimizing screen time, especially at night and learning when your body and brain need to rest.
  • Exercises will slowly increase in duration and intensity as your treatment progresses and your brain begins to heal.

This information about concussion treatment was written by Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, they are dedicated to working with one another as a team across their sub-specialty practices and their physician partners. For more information click here.

More PTandMe concussions articles can be found here:


concussion physical therapy   


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