Our Team Takes Concussions Seriously

Make a concussion treatment appointment in Sioux Falls, SD

Our team at Britt Zink Physical Therapy Services LLC knows that dealing with a concussion can be scary. Our owner and founder, Britt Zink, is a Certified ImPACT ® Concussion Specialist and has undergone advanced training in evaluation and treatment for concussion and other associated symptoms such as dizziness and imbalance that are often present after sustaining a concussion. She is one of few physical therapists in the region who has completed advanced training in the assessment, management and treatment of concussion. This, combined with her specialty certification as a McKenzie MDT® Therapist means that she is able to offer highly-specialized spine, balance, and vestibular assessment and rehabilitation for the individual who has sustained a concussion.

What is a Concussion?

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a common type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by moving forces such as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or other part of the body that results an acceleration and deceleration of the brain within the skull. One common misconception is that someone must be hit in the head to cause a concussion and this is not true. A significant enough hit or jolt to the body may cause a whiplash effect that can result in a enough force to the brain to cause a concussion. A concussion can result in a variety of symptoms and temporary disturbances in cells caused by the acceleration and deceleration of the brain with the skull. This often produces temporary changes in mental status, coordination, and balance.

What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

A concussion causes the brain cells to become excited initially after the injury, followed by a pronounced drop in energy. This may result in any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness (it is important to note that more than 90% of concussions DO NOT result in a loss of consciousness)
  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Neck pain or whiplash
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Balance problems
  • Feeling tired, fatigued, slowed down, drowsy of feeling loss of energy
  • Not feeling right or "feeling off"
  • More emotional
  • Feeling sad, anxious, upset or angry
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Difficulty concentrating

What should I do if I or someone I care about has a concussion?

Always tell a parent, family member, coach, teacher, friend or teammate if you or a teammate may have sustained a concussion. When in doubt, sit them out!!!

The first 24-28 hours following a concussion are critical because there is a potential for a more serious brain injury that may require more immediate medical attention such as a bleed or swelling in the brain. Following the injury, the individual should be monitored for any worsening of their condition as this may indicate bleeding or swelling in the brain.

Seek immediate medical help if the individual exhibits any of the following symptoms:

Seek immediate medical help if the individual exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness for longer than 30 seconds
  • Very drowsy or can't be woken up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Slurred speech
  • Fluid or blood coming from the ears, nose, mouth or eyes
  • Inability to remember or recognize familiar people or places
  • Unsteadiness standing or walking
  • Drug or alcohol intoxication at time of injury
  • Bruising behind the ears, black eyes or very tender points on the face
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Confusion or mood changes

What is the treatment for concussion?

What is the treatment for concussion?

During the early stages following an injury, physical and cognitive rest is recommended for 24-48 hours. It is important to note that these decisions and recommendations are made on a case-by-case basis.

Following a short period of rest, treatment and rehabilitation may include a gradual introduction and increase of physical and cognitive activity under the supervision of a trained healthcare professional. If symptoms persist after 10 days, a holistic program including exercise therapy, physical and manual therapy for the neck and spine, diet and nutritional recommendations, and vestibular rehabilitation often result in effective treatment and recovery.

Why should I see a Concussion Specialist?

If you are concerned that you or a loved one has a concussion, a concussion specialist can perform an assessment that can provide you peace of mind.
Concussion specialists have been trained to recognize concussion symptoms and recommend concussion treatment specific to your case. Each concussion is unique. Treatment needs to be tailored to the specific needs of each patient. Our concussion specialists don't just treat sports-related concussions. We treat individuals who have also sustained concussion due to falls, car accidents, and many other non-sport injuries.

What can I expect for my physical therapy concussion treatment?

Early physical therapy intervention after a concussion is shown to dramatically improve recovery time.

Concussions normally DO NOT show up on a CT scan or MRI so your concussion specialist will use several other tools to assess for the presence of a concussion and recommend tailored treatment. These may include:

  • Balance screening
  • Neurocognitive testing
  • Physical Examination
  • Vestibular ocular examination
  • Concussion symptoms checklist
  • Spine evaluation

Most concussions resolve in a few weeks, but for some individuals, symptoms last longer. Individuals may suffer impairments of their vestibular, ocular, cervical and/or autonomic systems. These are all systems that a trained and specialized physical therapist can assess and treat if they are trained in concussion and vestibular therapy.

  • Your vestibular system controls your balance and awareness of your body's position in space.
  • Your ocular system refers to eye movement control and processing visual information.
  • The autonomic system includes your sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. These systems are responsible for your "fight or flight" and your "rest" systems.
  • Your cervical spine is your neck and surrounding joints, ligaments, soft tissue structures and nervous system components.


At your physical therapy appointment, your physical therapist will perform an examination that includes taking a history and performing a physical exam. The examination can include a series of clinical tests that will screen and further assess your symptoms. If any red flags are identified that are not in the scope of your physical therapist, you will be referred to the appropriate provider. Based on the findings of the exam, your physical therapist will partner with you on your treatment plan that is individualized for your needs. Typically this is 2 weekly sessions for a period of 4-8 weeks, but his can vary based on the individual's needs. This treatment plan also includes a home exercise program with recommendations for modifications and participation in activities at school, home and leisure/sports.

It is important that you see a concussion-trained specialist for your concussion.

A healthcare provider who is not specialty-trained in concussion can make your symptoms worse. It is very important that you see a concussion trained specialist as concussion specialists have advanced training in concussion care and will develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Some individuals suffer from post-concussion syndrome. Our specialists can perform the appropriate assessment and develop an individualize treatment plan to help you in your recovery from post-concussion syndrome.

Immediate Post Injury Testing:

Our clinic offers ImPACT™ (Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). Baseline testing is typically performed before an individual participates in activity. Baseline testing is comprised of computerized assessments that measure reaction time, memory capacity (visual and verbal), speed of mental processing, and executive functioning of the brain. Having an estimate of the individual's functioning prior to an injury helps the healthcare provider more accurately determine the extent of the injury and an appropriate treatment plan.

Our clinic is able to administer immediate post injury ImPACT™ testing to determine if the individual's results have changed from their baseline test. This can help determine readiness to return to participate in school, work and leisure/sports activities.

It is not acceptable for patients to wait to be seen following a concussion. Our clinic will ensure that you are seen right away to ensure the appropriate assessment and treatment is initiated promptly after your injury.

Are you wondering how PT can help you? Do you have questions you would like to ask before you schedule your first appointment? We would be happy to have a PT call you to answer your questions.

Do you have questions about insurance coverage or about scheduling your appointment? Wondering if a doctor order is needed for PT? We would be happy to discuss any questions you have. ​

Not sure how Physical Therapy can help you? Want to discuss your problem in person with a PT?