Physiotherapy following concussion, neck injury and whiplash

Did you know a concussion is a kind of traumatic brain injury?

The brain is made up of soft tissue and is surrounded by a protective layer of blood and spinal fluid.

The protection of this layer is limited, a hard enough blow (whether singular or repeated) can change the way your brain functions.

Recovery from these injuries can require careful neurological and physical management - and your physiotherapist can aid your recovery.

What is a concussion?

A concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body.

The rapid movement of the brain inside the skull causes a temporary alteration in brain function.

Although this type of injury is not always life threatening, the symptoms can feel significant and temporarily disrupt your daily functioning.

Following a concussion, you may experience a range of symptoms or difficulties.

These vary for each person and may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain
  • Increased sensitivity to noise or light
  • Concentration or memory difficulties
  • Mood changes

How physiotherapy supports recovery from brain injury

The good news is most people recover fully from their concussion or head injury.

Your physiotherapist can assist with some assessments which contribute to your best-possible recovery.

A physiotherapist can:

  • Provide education on concussion and strategies to both support your recovery and prevent further injury.
  • Liaise with other health professionals.

Physiotherapists work as part of a highly skilled, specialist team of clinicians.

These include medical specialists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, and others to ensure you receive the right support to actively manage your recovery.

Not every head knock causes a concussion

Instead, a neck strain or whiplash may be contributing to your symptoms.

Whiplash or neck problems share similar symptoms to concussion including:

  • Headaches
  • Pain or sensory changes in your face or arms
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Changes to your vision

APM physiotherapists can help you to recover from your neck strain or whiplash and refer you to other appropriate services.

Optimising your recovery

Accessing the right avenues of support at the right time is important. If you suspect you have had concussion, please see your doctor.

Your doctor will evaluate other health issues that might be contributing to how you are feeling and may refer you to APM’s concussion service through the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Our team treat clients of all ages, from tamariki (children) through to older adults.

Physiotherapists play an active role in supporting your recovery from concussion and/or neck injury, depending on your individual needs.


You can book a consultation with an APM physiotherapist online or by calling 0800 967 522.

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