Vestibular and Dizziness
- After a concussion, dizziness may occur; oftentimes it disappears within a couple of days or weeks.
- If it persists, you need to seek help. By understanding the “type” and “pattern” of your dizziness, your health care team can help provide strategies and specialized treatment.
What is Dizziness?
Dizziness is a broad term used to describe different types of experiences including feeling:
- Like you are spinning
- Like the world is spinning around you
- Sick, nauseous, or vomiting
- Like “in a fog”
- “not right”
After a concussion, all of the descriptors of dizziness listed above can occur in teens. They can occur all the time, sometimes, or only with certain activities. While you are recovering, dizziness makes it very difficult to participate in many activities.
Why are you dizzy?
The “dizzy” feeling may be related to an injury to your balance organ located in the inner ear from the concussion, but it may also be related to other things such as:
- Your blood pressure
- Side effects from medications
- Being emotionally upset
- Problems with your vision
- Problems with your neck
- Problems with your vestibular system📝Located in your inner ear. This system provides information to your brain regarding your body and position in space. It also helps integrate information from your eyes or vision and your body position sensors.
By describing the “type” of dizziness experienced, you and your doctor can best understand what system(s) are involved and provide treatment.
What can you do?
- Tell your doctor and your family/friends you are experiencing dizziness.
- Try to detect a pattern of your dizziness: what makes your dizziness better and worse? How does your dizziness change when you look upwards or when you perform chores such as doing your laundry? How about when you go for a walk outside or when you are in a car? These are just some examples that commonly affect dizziness.
- Improvement of other concussion symptoms, such as sleep, headaches/neck pain, and mood/anxiety can often lead to improvements in “dizziness.”
Add to My Recovery Plan 📒
Here are some common strategies that many teenagers find helpful. You can chose the one that you would like to add to your personalized Recovery Plan.
Who can help you?
If your dizziness is not improving or becoming worse, it is important to let your doctor know. Your doctor can help determine the causes of your dizziness and refer you to the appropriate specialist(s).
If you experience a brief spinning sensation, this is likely very treatable. You should try and see a medical professional trained in the vestibular system📝Located in your inner ear. This system provides information to your brain regarding your body and position in space. It also helps integrate information from your eyes or vision and your body position sensors.. This may be a Physiotherapist or Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.
What does treatment look like?
After a neurological examination and specific tests for dizziness, a vestibular specialist can provide a treatment plan for you.
Treatment may involve head maneuver techniques, balance exercises, finding other ways to stay active, reviewing and modifying your medications, and/or recommending lifestyle modifications.