Primary objective: To review relevant literature regarding the effect of concussion on vestibular function, impairments, assessments and management strategies. REASONING: Dizziness and balance impairments are common following sport-related concussion. Recommendations regarding the management of sport-related concussion suggest including tests of balance within the multifactorial assessment paradigm for concussive injuries.
Analysis: The literature was searched for guidelines and original studies related to vestibular impairments following concussion, oculomotor and balance assessments and treatment or rehabilitation of vestibular impairments. The databases searched included Medline, CINAHL, Sport Discus and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews through October 2013.
Main outcomes and results: Dizziness following concussion occurs in ∼67-77% of cases and has been implicated as a risk factor for a prolonged recovery. Balance impairments also occur after concussion and last 3-10 days post-injury. Assessments of balance can be done using both clinical and instrumented measures with success. Vestibular rehabilitation has been shown to improve outcomes in patients with vestibular impairments, with one study demonstrating success in decreasing symptoms and increasing function following concussion.
Conclusions: Best practices suggest that the assessment of vestibular function through cranial nerve, oculomotor and balance assessments are an important aspect of concussion management. Future studies should evaluate the effectiveness of vestibular rehabilitation for improving patient outcomes.
Keywords: Concussion; postural control; rehabilitation.