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It's All in Your Head

  • Author: Makayla Tucker
  • Date Submitted: Jan 30, 2018

Makayla Tucker was in eighth grade the first time she got a concussion. An avid basketball player, Makayla would have four more concussions by the time she was a junior in high school. While she sought treatment for each one, even going as far as Denver for doctor’s appointments, it was the last concussion that really set her back.

“I was getting really dizzy every time I stood up,” Makayla said. “I would always feel nauseated.”

A certified neurologic specialist, Ryan Schrock DPT, NCS, CSCS, works with post-concussion patients at CCH’s Rehabilitation Services department. In addition, he works with individuals who may experience vertigo, struggle with balance or have had a traumatic brain injury.

CCH Makayla Tucker with Ryan Schrock“He helped me with little things like turning my head,” Makayla said. “We worked on my balance in general.”

It was two months of intense therapy before Makayla started feeling some relief, and she continued treatment for about eight months. She stopped going a few months ago, but struggles with recurring headaches related to the concussions brought her back to try to find an answer.

“Without treatment I have no idea where I’d be right now,” Makayla said. “I’m not 100 percent, but definitely a lot better than when I started.”

Often times people with concussions struggle with headaches, neck pain, memory loss, dizziness and emotional regulation. Ryan works with a number of athletes in Gillette and often he works with post-concussion patients for up to two years, creating individualized therapy programs that address each patient’s unique needs.

CCH Ryan Schrock, DPT, NCS, CSCS, Rehabilitation Services “My job is really rooted in function,” Ryan said. “With neurologic injury, every exercise is going to be different.”

For concussion and traumatic brain injury patients a lot of the symptoms they may be experiencing depend on which area or areas of the brain that were damaged. Post-concussion therapies are relatively new treatment areas and more research and studies are being conducted on the impacts of concussions on the brain.

“It’s an area of neurology we’re just starting to learn about,” Ryan said. “We’re starting to wrap our head around what it is and how to best treat it.”

For patients like Makayla, the science is in the physical relief she’s feeling from her symptoms since starting therapy. In addition to Ryan helping to relieve her symptoms, Makayla has enjoyed working with him one-on-one.

“He’s really upbeat,” Makayla said. “He loves helping everybody. He’s a really good guy in general.”

Not only has Ryan helped move Makayla’s recovery process along, but he’s also helped the now high school senior realize which direction she wants to go after graduation. Inspired by working with Ryan, Makayla has decided that occupational or physical therapy might be her calling as well.

CCH Makayla Tucker and Ryan Schrock Rehabilitation Services“I’ve always really wanted to be in the medical field,” Makayla said. “Working with Ryan, he’s helped me realize that more. I’m planning on going to Casper College and majoring in occupational therapy.”

Campbell County Health Rehabilitation Services in Gillette, Wyoming provides complete physical and occupational rehabilitation care to people with musculoskeletal problems caused by disease or injury. Rehab Services strives to help you reach your rehabilitation goals and function at your optimal level, whether you are at home or at work. Our specially trained staff offers baseline concussion testing for all contact sports, comprehensive neurologic exams to diagnose possible concussion and physical therapy to deal with the effects of concussion such as balance and gait training, neuromuscular rehabilitation, eye tracking training and re-education of movement. Learn more by calling 307-688-8000 or visiting www.cchwyo.org/rehab.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer

CCH Makayla Tucker and Ryan Schrock concussion therapy