Concussions: What to do post-injury and how to prevent

Concussions: What to do post-injury and how to prevent concussions

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), meaning an injury to the head that affects how the brain functions. Typically, a concussion is caused by an outside force, usually a blow to the head that “shakes” the brain causing chemical changes and/or damage to brain cells. There are three levels to a concussion: Grade 1 (mild), Grade 2 (moderate), and Grade 3 (severe). While there are different severity levels of concussions, even the mild cases should be taken seriously and should seek out attention from a medical professional.

What are the signs and symptoms of concussions?

The symptoms of a concussion vary among the situation and the extent of the injury. Below is Table 1 from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the observed signs and reported symptoms post-concussion. The signs and symptoms of a concussion are not limited to those on this list, everyone’s situation is different meaning there will be different outcomes of the injury.

Table 1: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What is the recovery process?

Whether you’re an athlete or not, you must follow a return program to ensure you are safely returning to play, school, or work. A concussion doctor in Chicago, a physical therapist, and physician will work with you to create a plan and therapy guide for your recovery. Typically, there will be a process along the premises of rest, light activity, moderate activity, then back to regular activity.

How can I prevent concussions?

Prevention is crucial for concussions since the severity of a concussion increases with each injury. Depending on the sport, there are specific prevention measures you can ask your physical therapist about to reduce the risk of injury. Below a general list of things to keep in mind when going through your day to day.

  • Wearing protective gear during sports and other recreational activities

  • Buckling your seatbelt

  • Keeping the floors clear of tripping hazards

  • Protect your children in the home (For Example: block off stairways or installing window guards)

  • Exercise regularly

  • Educating yourself and others about concussions


Call today or schedule your individual phone consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. You may also book for an appointment today.

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NormaTec helps speed recovery, our physical therapist at Prep Performance Center in Chicago is readily available.

What is NormaTec?

NormaTec Recovery Systems are commercial-grade compression devices that enhance the body’s natural ability to recover. It uses full-length leg, arm, or hip compression to rejuvenate muscle tissue and dramatically reduce tightness and soreness. NormaTec helps speed recovery and improve outcomes when used within a rehab protocol. It uses dynamic compression, which has been shown to be a highly effective modality for sports recovery. It is an FDA cleared medical device indicated to treat a wide range of conditions. Many physical therapists report using the NormaTec extensively in their practice. Also shared by Medical News Today of NormaTec’s health benefits, considerations, and alternatives.

Proven Technology That:

  • Increases circulation
  • Reduces pain and soreness
  • Rejuvenates muscles
  • Accelerates athlete recovery

How It Works:

Created by a physician bioengineer (MD, PhD) to enhance blood flow, therefore, enhance the recovery process. It uses patented compression using pulsing to mobilize fluid, gradient holding to prevent fluid backflow, and distal release to allow normal circulation.

What’s The Research Behind It?

Lessens Pain Sensitivity

  • Peristaltic pulse dynamic compression is a promising means of accelerating and enhancing recovery by reducing muscle tenderness from pressure stimuli. Journal of Strength and Conditioning 2015

Increases Range of Motion

  • Peristaltic pulse dynamic compression rapidly enhances acute range-of-motion with less discomfort and time. Journal of Strength and Conditioning 2014

Pulse Compression Works as a Treatment for DOMS

  • A 30-minute treatment of pulse compression increases blood flow in the lower extremity, possibly making pulse compression a viable option in the management of exercise-induced muscle damage (DOMS). Journal of Athletic Training 2016

Decreases Muscle Fatigue After Acute Exercise

  • External pneumatic compression increases flexibility and reduces select skeletal muscle oxidative stress and proteolysis markers during recovery from heavy resistance exercise. PLOS One Medical Journal 2017

Clears Metabolites Passively

  • Intermittent pneumatic compression significantly lowers blood lactate concentrations when compared to a passive recovery group. Journal of Athletic Enhancement 2013

NormaTec Clinic

Are you wanting to try NormaTec for yourself? Contact PREP Performance Center at Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL centers today.

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Wellness Seminars

Our monthly Wellness Seminars offer your employees the education and knowledge they need to stay informed about topics in health care, how to stay healthy, and new ways to remain fit and active. With seminars on meal prep, mindfulness, and how to train for a 5k, our Wellness Seminars are geared towards increasing employee health and wellbeing, in addition to promoting productivity, job satisfaction, and engagement in the community. For more information on our Wellness Seminars, contact PREP Performance Center today!

Attending to some Wellness Seminars can be beneficial for you. Contact Prep Performance Center in Chicago, Il, USA to further discuss.

Why are Wellness Seminars important?

You may be wondering, “Why would I spend my free time attending a seminar when I can just make healthy decisions on my own?” While this is a fair question, many people sacrifice aspects of their health and wellness to compensate for their busy schedule without even realizing it. You may think that you are living the healthiest life you can, but the truth is that most of us are not – there is always room for improvement somewhere.

Perhaps you stopped taking your nightly walks or your meal prepping has turned into take-out. Whatever the case may be, attending one of our monthly Wellness Seminars can provide you with health tips for your own life and help find areas that you could improve in. They have been proven to help participants make informed health and wellness choices, in addition to understanding preventive health and how to avoid unnecessary risks.

When applied in a workplace setting, Wellness Seminars can also help in enhancing an employee’s happiness, satisfaction, and overall wellness in the workplace. When every employee within a company is healthy and happy, the work environment suddenly becomes less stressful and more enjoyable. As a direct result, productivity increases and longevity within the company becomes much more likely.

Our programs promote healthy mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, both inside and outside of the workplace. If you know how to balance your work and personal life well, you will find yourself in a much happier and healthier state of mind whether you are at work or at home. Visit Prep Performance Facebook page for more featured posts and update about wellness & benefits.

How will it benefit me?

Simply put, Wellness Seminars are meant to help improve your overall quality of life. At PREP Performance Center, we care about your wellbeing and would love to see you living your best life possible. Wellness Seminars will help you find balance between your work and personal life, and they will provide you with the education and resources you need to make healthy choices in both areas of your life.

Some common topics covered in Wellness Seminars include nutrition, exercise, and coping strategies. It is important to understand both the physical and mental aspects of health, and how they correlate with one another. We will discuss how to maintain a healthy diet and body mass index, how to incorporate daily exercises into your busy schedule, and how to cope with negative feelings, such as stress, anger, or conflict, in a healthy way.

There is always room to add a little more wellness into your daily life. For more information on how you can register for one of our Wellness Programs, and/or how they may personally benefit you, contact our Chicago physical therapy office today! One of our physical therapists would be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the details for our next session. Take care of your health and wellbeing – contact PREP Performance Center in Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL today.

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Trigger Point Therapy

Learn the master of Trigger Point Therapy with our best physical therapist at Prep Performance Center in Chicago, IL, USA.

I’ve heard of trigger point therapy before. What is it?

Trigger point therapy, often referred to as myofascial release or pressure point massage, involves the application of gentle yet firm pressure to specific areas along the body, known as pressure or trigger points. This pressure is provided by the hands of a skilled physical therapist trained in pressure point release. Sometimes, a physical therapist may choose to use certain devices or tools to assist with force application.

The manual pressure provided by a physical therapist during trigger point therapy is intended to relax and normalize trigger points within the fascia, a widespread, sheath-like, fibrous tissue encasing your musculoskeletal structures. Fascia, which is normally pliant and flexible, is important for protecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and nerves and helps them move together in a coordinated way. However, when stress, injury, poor posture, repetitive movement, or poor nutrition or hydration is imposed on the body, the fascia can become inelastic and stiff. This restricts the normal movement of the connective tissues beneath, leading to pain, immobility, and even an increased risk of injury.

To this end, trigger point therapy is intended to “release” the tension and stress in the fascia and other structures within targeted treatment areas, thus restoring normal movement, relieving pain, and reducing your risk of further tissue damage. By the way, see related article about trigger points by Physiopedia website.

What and where are trigger points?

You probably know what a knot feels like: an area that feels uncomfortable, stiff, dense, and maybe even tender. Indeed, “knots” are essentially synonymous with trigger points, although they may not always be overtly obvious or noticeable.

Trigger points can happen anywhere in the body and are especially common in the shoulders, back, and hips. As mentioned, the connective tissue within these areas exhibit increased tension and stiffness, often as a result of stress, illness, or injury. Muscle fibers may tense up in spasms and there may be a decrease in oxygenated blood or lymphatic flow to the area, as well, all of which can contribute to localized stiffness and discomfort.

Interestingly, trigger point pain can often be referred from other parts of the body. A buildup of scar tissue or a joint misalignment, for instance, may lead to pain or spasm in a nearby muscle. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to consult with a physical therapist if you’re struggling with pressure point pain, since there may be more to the symptoms than meets the eye.

What conditions may benefit from myofascial release?

Fascial tissue is located throughout your body, so adhesions and activated trigger points anywhere within this tissue can affect a wide number of physiological systems and structures. Our physical therapy team has found myofascial release to be effective for numerous conditions, including:


– Carpal tunnel syndrome

– Medial and lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow, respectively)

– Whiplash

– Osteoarthritis

– Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)

– Headaches and migraines

Neck pain

– Back pain

– Thoracic outlet syndrome

– Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder

How should I prepare for trigger point therapy?

To maximize the effectiveness of our care, our physical therapist team encourages you to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy supportive shoes—essentially, anything you’d be comfortable working out in. Of course, while much of our physical therapy services do involve active participation from you as the patient, manual therapy sessions (which includes trigger point therapy) allow you to take more of a passive, restorative role.

Know that when you first arrive for your initial appointment, one of our Chicago physical therapists will take you through a thorough patient history questionnaire and physical examination. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions along the way to help us gain insight into your unique condition and help us provide you with an accurate diagnosis and plan of care, which may include manual therapy as well as additional evidence-based physical therapy services such as therapeutic exercises, joint mobilizations, and modalities.

We always encourage our patients to stay well-hydrated both before, during, and after treatment. Water is essential to helping your body heal, and the effects of both active and passive therapeutic services (including pressure point massage) are amplified when you drink plenty of fluids. Aim for one third to one half your body weight in fluid ounces per day, or more if you exercise a lot or have a physically demanding job.

Are you struggling with acute or chronic pain? Contact PREP Performance Center at Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL centers today to learn more about myofascial release and other drug-free and non-invasive techniques. We’re happy to connect you with a physical therapist who can help you start feeling better as soon as possible.

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Therapeutic Exercise

For Balance and Condition, with Therapeutic Exercise, we have our best physical therapist at Prep Performance Center in Chicago.

When you say the words “physical therapy” most people automatically assume you have had surgery. Yet physical therapy goes beyond post-surgical care restoring strength, endurance, flexibility and stability to people who have been injured, are in pain, or have experienced an illness. Through therapeutic exercise, it is possible to have your function restored and live a life that is pain free. Contact PREP Performance Center in Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL to schedule your appointment and find out how we can relieve your pain.

What is therapeutic exercise?

The goal of any exercise program is to leave you feeling healthier and stronger than when you began. Therapeutic exercise has similar goals, but incorporates a wide range of activities that help you regain or maintain your strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, or stability. Whether you have been injured, experienced an illness, or are simply noticing you are losing your physical abilities, therapeutic exercise can prevent impairment and disability while improving your overall fitness. Typically performed as a part of a physical therapy treatment plan, this type of exercise is prescribed by a physical therapist. See related article from

Types of Therapeutic Exercises

Each therapeutic exercise is classified by its purpose.

  • Range of Motion – These exercises are aimed at increasing the range of motion in your joints and soft tissues. This may be done through active, passive or assisted stretching activities designed to help your joints move better, without pain.

  • Muscle Performance – Increasing power, endurance and muscle strength is vital to good balance and stability as well as bone and joint health. Resistance exercises and endurance exercises are designed to increase muscle strength without injury.

  • Posture – Hours spent at desks, bending over keyboards, poor muscle tone, or simple habit can all lead to terrible posture. What you may not realize is that posture has a direct impact on muscle strength, balance and a tendency toward injury. Posture exercises are aimed at correcting poor posture, not just when you exercise, but in your life in general which can alleviate aches and pains.

  • Balance & Coordination – Every time you stand or sit, bones and muscles work in conjunction with one another to help you remain upright. Every time you stand, walk, sit, brush your teeth, cook a meal, or take care of your daily activities, you are testing your coordination between the muscular and skeletal systems in your body. Your ability to care for yourself or your loved ones depends on your ability to balance and the coordination of your arms, legs, hands, and feet. That is why balance and coordination exercises are so important, especially after an injury or illness. If you cannot balance, if you lose coordination, you lose the ability to care for yourself.

  • Relaxation – Relaxation is part of therapeutic exercise? You bet! While it is important to work the muscles, joints, and soft tissues in the body, it is also important to help them relax. Pain relieving techniques including heat, cold, electrical stimulation, massage, or trigger point therapy can all help the body relax, improve your sleep, lower your blood pressure, and keep you coming back for more exercise!

  • Area Specific Exercises – It’s easy to think of exercise as something we do with our muscles, but it is also important to help the body’s other systems. In these cases, exercises that target breathing or circulation may be recommended to help speed healing, improve blood flow or lower stress on the body.

How does therapeutic exercise relieve pain?

It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you are in pain. After all, the last thing you want to do when you are uncomfortable is make yourself more uncomfortable. Yet when you treat pain with medication and rest, you are only allowing the supporting muscles to weaken, causing greater pain and less functionality of the area. A physical therapist is trained to evaluate your body’s function, strength and range of motion as well as your pain levels when you perform basic tasks. They can then create a customized treatment plan, including therapeutic exercise, that can strengthen weak areas, restore function to healing or surgically repaired joints, and reduce your overall pain levels. Not only can you experience a pain free life, you can do so with greater strength and endurance than before. Still curious how physical therapy services and therapeutic exercise can help you? Let us conduct an evaluation and help you get on the road to recovery.

For more information, Contact PREP Performance Center at Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL centers.

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Neuromuscular ReEducation

Neuromuscular ReEducation is a technique used by physical therapists to restore normal body movement patterns. Visit Prep Performance clinic today in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Neuromuscular ReEducation is a technique used by physical therapists to restore normal body movement patterns.

Your nerves and muscles work together to produce movement. Nerves send signals between your muscles and your brain about where, when and how fast to move. Over time, muscle movement patterns are learned and stored in your memory.

In the article from JAMA Network that says, neuromuscular reeducation deals with retraining the brain and spinal cord in voluntary and reflex motor activities. When nerves or muscles experience damage or injury resulting from trauma and various medical and neurological conditions, muscle movement patterns can be negatively affected. Neuromuscular re-education is one method used by physical therapists to facilitate the return of normal movement in patients with neuromuscular impairments. 

Neuromuscular re-education consists of:

  • Manual techniques (i.e., PNF-proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)
  • Activities for balance and core control
  • Therapeutic exercises that are designed to re-develop normal controlled movement patterns.

To eliminate many of the symptoms that a patient presents with during their treatment time, it is critical to re-establish normal kinesthetic sense and proprioception of the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar spine, and Appendicular skeleton. When these neurological characteristics are not functioning properly, a patient cannot maintain proper posture and many of the muscles of the involved area do not function properly. Pain, inflammation, and swelling due to surgery or injury can lead to loss of neuromuscular control and abnormal movement.

Many of our patients have general tenderness and decreased motion of a joint(s). A joint needs to have full motion to be fully functional. If the joint does have full range of motion, weakness and functional limitations will develop over time. This time period is different for every patient, normally several weeks to months when the symptoms are not treated properly. Any loss of motion and strength needs to be addressed to eliminate the patient’s symptoms and correct the underlying problem. However, re-education of the nervous system must occur prior to developing enough strength and motion to regain full function. Without the neuromuscular reeducation process, “normal” movement patterns are unlikely to be re-established.

Neuromuscular re-education plays a major role in the rehabilitation of our patients. Using the proper techniques, activities and exercises on an injured body part will prevent acute injury from developing into a chronic problem.

At PREP Performance Center, we look at the patient as a whole and address all aspects of the dysfunction to help the patient achieve her or his maximal rehabilitation potential, and to be the best they can be in performing all of their functional activities. Contact PREP Performance Center at Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL centers!

Read More Article: Muscle Energy Technique

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