The symptoms of a concussion can affect multiple areas of a person’s life. Depending on the severity and duration of symptoms, those who suffer from concussion may experience fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nausea, anxiety, and episodes of depression. Memory, ability to focus, and relationships may also be compromised. Simple, everyday tasks may become challenging and exhausting.
Luckily, there are a number of applications out there to help concussion victims manage their symptoms. Let’s first look at several apps to help with preventing, detecting, and tracking concussion symptoms.
Concussion prevention, detection, and tracking:
o The Concussion Ed app developed by Parachute is a free resource designed to help individuals prevent, recognize, manage, and track concussions and their symptoms. It includes written and video content, and outlines the specifics of how concussions can be managed at school, home, and at play. Sections are tailored for use by coaches, parents, and athletes and are intuitive to navigate.
o A friend of mine who has suffered from post-concussion syndrome for several years now, recommends this app as a great one-stop-shop. “This app is able to distill a lot of information into a fairly simplified format. I especially appreciate the “Return to Activity” protocols that this app lays out. It gives such specific action steps, going beyond the traditional advice of aimlessly sitting alone in a dark room, which I think is empowering for everyone involved in the recovery process.”
o Learn more about the Concussion Ed app and Parachute here: http://www.parachutecanada.org/concussion/whattodo
Head Check Health
o Head Check Health was specifically designed with athletes in mind. It allows coaches to conduct quick and reliable concussion assessments directly from the sidelines. Once a coach downloads the app, they can conduct baseline assessments for each player within the app, storing the information in a profile unique to the athlete. If a head injury is suspected, the gold standard assessment tool/questionnaire can be used to evaluate symptoms and assess cognition and balance.
These results can then be compared to the athlete’s baseline score.
o Learn more about Head Check Health here: http://www.headcheckhealth.com/about/
PAR Concussion Recognition and Response
o This app helps you recognize signs and symptoms of suspected concussions and respond quickly and appropriately. If you suspect a concussion, you can use the “new incident” option which guides you through a series of questions regarding the incident, producing recommendations on how you should respond to the incident. Other sections of the app include Home Symptom Monitoring, Past Incidents, Concussion info/FAQ, Ace Post-Concussion Instructions, and a Return-to-Play guide.
o Learn more about the PAR Concussion Recognition and Response app here: http://www4.parinc.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductID=CRR_AP
Now let’s look at a few apps that may be helpful in managing symptoms and navigating life with a concussion or post-concussion syndrome.
o F.lux is a computer app that alters the color of your screen to adapt to the time of day and year, removing the harsh blue light in the evening and night hours. Those who suffer from post-concussion syndrome often experience headaches, and the blue light of an LCD screen only contributes to this. F.lux warms up your computer screen, helping to decrease the incidence of headaches and visual strain. While F.lux is not available for mobile devices, there are other ways to block this harmful lighting on your phone:
iPhone users can use the Night Shift option built into their phone. Head to your Settings, go to Display and Brightness, and select Night Shift to take advantage of this feature.
There’s an app for Android users called Twilight that does the same trick.
o Learn more about F.lux here: https://justgetflux.com/
o Personally, I have never suffered a concussion, but I have been using this app for the past three years. To appreciate the difference it makes, you simply need to compare how your screen looks with the app on vs when it is turned off – I guarantee you’ll notice a drastic difference.
o For those who struggle with concussion symptoms, it may be helpful to take a bit of a time out to regain a sense of calm. Headspace is a free meditation app that allows you to do this. The app comes preloaded with a meditation series called “Take 10:” Ten 10-minute guided meditation sessions. This series can be repeated indefinitely, or, if you’re looking for more, you can subscribe to the app, unlocking a library filled with hundreds of sessions. Sessions range from 1 minute to over an hour in length, and all recordings are extremely high quality. With series’ dedicated to anxiety, regret, relationships, self-esteem, patience, creativity, sport, and so many other areas, you are bound to find one that’s relevant to whatever you are experiencing.
o The same friend of mine who recommended the Concussion Ed app has said that Headspace has been “one of the most crucial and accessible apps/tools that [she has] consistently used.”
o Learn more about Headspace here: https://www.headspace.com/
o Similar apps for mindfulness include LoveYourBrain, Pacifica, and Calm.
o For those who’ve had a concussion, reading fine text may become a cause for headaches. Audible allows you to download and listen to your books, taking the strain out of reading. The app is free to try for the first 30 days, and $14.95 each month after that.
o Learn more about Audible here: http://www.audible.com/
o For those who struggle with memory issues, Qcard may serve as a helpful assistant. This app, designed by a survivor of a traumatic brain injury, claims to “strengthen memory, enhance organizational skills, and improve time management by acting as a notepad, to-do list, calendar, alarm clock, and organizer, all in one.” Its creation and design were supported and validated by the Ontario Brain Injury Association and Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. Qcard is free to use for the first month, and subscribers are charged $2.79/month after that.
o Learn more about Qcard here: http://www.qcard.ca/index.html
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) represents physiotherapists, physiotherapist assistants and physiotherapist students across Canada. CPA members are rehabilitation professionals dedicated to the health, mobility and fitness of Canadians.
Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals who combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.
More than 20,000 registered physiotherapists work in Canada, in private clinics, general and rehabilitation hospitals, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces, and schools.
The CPA presents its educational references as a public service and for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CPA membership.