Dizziness and imbalance are very common after head trauma. There are several mechanisms that can cause this and often more than one are at play:
- Brain injury: Head trauma often results in a concussion syndrome with brain injury causing dizziness and imbalance
- Inner ear injury: The tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear are often shaken loose by head trauma, causing dizziness, imbalance or vertigo (see Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
- Cervical Spine Injury: Whiplash injuries that occur with head trauma will often injure the bone, muscles or nerves of the cervical spine. The cervical spine feeds important information into the balance system and this type of injury can cause imbalance and dizziness.
Treatment of dizziness following head trauma is challenging because all three of the above systems must be evaluated and treated, as necessary. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (see Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy) is often helpful in relieving these symptoms.