Do you or someone you know experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, difficulty reading, or have problems concentrating? If you have been reading my concussion blog series, you know these symptoms can be caused by neck pain but they can also be caused by vestibular dysfunction.
If you haven’t read my previous concussion blogs you may find it helpful to read them before you continue
3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!
Understanding Exertion Therapy – Concussion Treatment #1
Musculoskeletal Therapy – Concussion Treatment #2 Is Neck Pain a Predictor of a Concussion?
What you may ask, is your vestibular system?
Glad you asked! Your vestibular system is housed in your inner ear and its job is to give your brain information about your body’s movement and position. When it is functioning well it helps you to balance along with your eyes and the sensory receptors in your joints. However, in the case of concussion where your vestibular system is no longer functioning correctly, it sends incorrect signals to your brain, which can lead to the symptoms that started this article.
Fortunately, this cause of concussion symptoms can also be treated through exercises involving eye and head movements. These exercises are used to help re-train you to correctly use your vestibular system.
For a healthy individual these exercises may seem quite simple but for someone with a concussion they will prove to be quite challenging at first, but with practice will improve and help to increase quality of life.
The other piece of treating the vestibular system is working on balance activities. These activities progress from a large base of support on two legs and progress to smaller bases of support until balancing on one leg. As people progress into more challenging exercises they gradually see their symptoms decrease. This is the final tool I use in my standard approach to concussion rehabilitation!
Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT