Exertion therapy is a guided return to sport program, or an introduction to exercise, for people who have had a concussion.
The experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program may prescribe this treatment to help:
Our exertion therapists will use aerobic and strength exercises to rehabilitate your vestibular system.
Near the end of treatment, we'll test you to ensure your symptoms don't appear when you return to your sport or routine.
To learn more about concussion treatment or make an appointment with a UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program expert:
It can help anyone who's had a concussion.
While exertion therapy does help athletes, it can also help those who:
Sometimes, people worry that exertion therapy will force them to work at a higher level of fitness than they ever have before.
Our therapists make sure that all exercises are within your skillset. They'll never push you to do anything outside your comfort zone — whether you're an elite athlete or someone who's mildly active.
During your first session, your physical therapist will check your vital signs and ask you to describe your symptoms.
We'll also discuss the reasoning behind the exertion therapy prescription.
Next, you'll take part in a vestibular ocular motor screening (VOMS) and a neck screening to check for cervical damage.
Once you finish all initial tests, you'll start a basic series of exertion therapy exercises that involve:
The exertion therapy session will continue as long as you feel comfortable and can complete the exercises. Once you're done, your therapist will assess your progress and give you exercises to work on at home.
You'll have follow-up appointments about once a week, or more, based on the severity of your symptoms.
Our concussion experts and exertion therapists: