I do see a fair number of patients who have dizziness after a concussion.

However, I do not specialize in mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) or concussion rehab.

In this blog, I’ll talk more about dizziness after concussion and what might need to be addressed for a full recovery.

Spontaneous Recovery Occurs within Two Weeks

The most common complaint after sustaining a concussion is headaches. Dizziness is the second most common complaint after a concussion.

Dizziness and severe headaches started for me in first grade after sustaining a major concussion with loss of consciousness.

Dizziness after a concussion typically resolves on its own within two weeks.

In the past, when patients have contacted me with dizziness after a new concussion, I’ve advised them to consult with their primary care provider first. Sometimes, patients may need to seek emergency care after sustaining a concussion.

If they still have symptoms of dizziness after a concussion when two weeks have passed, they are welcome to contact me back to initiate physical therapy for dizziness.

Pro Tip: If people with dizziness after concussion are going to have a spontaneous recovery, it typically occurs in the first two weeks after their injury.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

Persistent dizziness after a concussion is due to a complex condition called “Post-concussion syndrome.”

These potentially debilitating but invisible symptoms can linger for weeks, months, or years after an injury.

Patients who suffer from this typically need a multidisciplinary team approach for a full recovery, especially if symptoms linger for more than two weeks after the initial injury.

Multiple Possible Root Causes of Dizziness After A Concussion

If a patient consults with me, I typically conduct an initial consultation and physical exam for root cause analysis. I treat any BPPV and make referrals for other specialized providers as needed.

The purpose of my analysis is to differentially diagnose any combination of the following:

Post-Traumatic BPPV

Patients with post-traumatic BPPV typically have crystals in multiple canals, which makes it more complicated.

These patients are also more likely to have BPPV in the horizontal or anterior canal than a nontrauma-related case of BPPV.

I am an expert in resolving all types of BPPV, including typical, atypical, and complex.

As a BPPV treatment expert, I typically only treat any BPPV that I find in patients with dizziness after a concussion.

This care is completed in about four to eight visits with me on average and can provide significant relief for patients with post-traumatic BPPV.

Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Then I usually refer out to a multidisciplinary network of providers who specialize in those various root causes of dizziness that present in post-concussive syndrome.

Depending on what I find in my exam, I build a multidisciplinary team to meet the patient’s other needs.

For Example: Orthopedic Care

As part of my comprehensive initial consultation and root cause analysis, I do assess all of my patients for a cervical component of their symptoms of dizziness after a concussion. My treatment interventions for that problem include instruction in self-care strategies, soft tissue mobilization on the neck and jaw, and patient education.

However, I do not specialize in hands-on treatment for cervical dizziness or vertigo. Instead, I refer my patients to another provider for orthopedic manual physical therapy for their head, neck, and jaw. That provider can address all orthopedic pain issues and any whiplash-associated dizziness as well.

After the pain has improved, the patient can work with the orthopedic provider or personal trainer on strength and conditioning, with return to sport as a long term goal.

I’ve written a number of blog articles on dizziness or vertigo related to the neck, two of which you can find here and here.

For Example: Vision Care

Patients may recover from any oculomotor deficits (visual symptoms) caused by a concussion within six months, if they remain active. Therapy may help speed this process with targeted exercises.

If I think a patient needs to see a specialized eye doctor for visually triggered symptoms after concussion, I refer to neuro-optometry. You can use this directory to search for a neuro-optometrist in your area.

Disclaimer

This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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