Introduction: Vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance are a symptom complex that is commonly found following concussion. Early metabolic changes following concussion may lead to worsening of the injury and symptoms in individuals not properly managed from the outset. When symptoms do not recover spontaneously, skilled vestibular rehabilitation can be an effective modality in an attempt to normalize the individual's vestibular responses.
Purpose: The purpose of this review is to appraise the current and accepted methods available to the skilled clinician in quantifying and treating vestibular dysfunction following concussion. Incidence and prognostic indicators will be reviewed along with common barriers to recovery.
Summary: Vestibular Rehabilitation following concussion utilizes similar tools and techniques employed when treating those solely with peripheral pathology. The clinician must not only have a solid understanding of when and why certain exercises are required, but also be willing to accept that less exercise may be indicated in this population. As injury to the system following mild traumatic brain injury can include both peripheral and central structures, the duration of therapy and the time to recovery may be prolonged. Co-morbidities including cognitive and behavioral issues, visual-perceptual dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction, and autonomic dysfunction may hamper the effectiveness of the traditional Vestibular Rehabilitation approach. As successful treatment does not occur in a vacuum, working closely with other disciplines well versed in treating these co-morbid issues will help the individual to obtain optimal recovery.
Conclusion: Vestibular Rehabilitation is an effective modality for managing dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance following concussion. Careful consideration of the acuity of the injury, along with effective management of co-morbid conditions will optimize the result.