Your vestibular system is responsible for maintaining your balance and spatial orientation. So, what happens if it’s affected by a concussion? Dizziness is just one symptom of a vestibular concussion. Check out the infographic below to understand more and learn how the experts at UPMC can help patients recover.

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Vestibular System

The vestibular system is affected in nearly 60% of youth and adolescent athletes following a concussion.

What is the vestibular system?

It’s the sensory system that helps with your sense of balance and spatial orientation. Think of a gyroscope!

With help from your inner ears, your vestibular system detects the motion or position of your head in space. It sends information to your brain that’s needed for balance and stable vision.

If you’re moving and looking at moving objects at the same time (think riding in a car), you’re able to stay focused and not lose visual clarity.

During a vestibular concussion, your gyroscope isn’t working at full potential.

Symptoms of a Vestibular Concussion

  1. Difficulty with balance
  2. Dizziness. It may feel like the room is spinning or a slow, wavy sensation. (Like you’re on a boat!)
  3. Trouble stabilizing vision when moving your head. (We call this Vestibular-Ocular Reflux, or VOR.)
  4. Think back to riding in a car. With a vestibular concussion, you can’t stay focused. (The technical name for this is Visual Motion Sensitivity, or VMS.)


These 3 things could bring on your symptoms:

  • Dynamic movements
  • Busy environments, like the grocery store
  • Crowds

Don’t fret. Vestibular physical therapy can help!

UPMC experts work with you to address symptoms of dizziness and difficulty focusing and maintaining balance.

Essentially, you’re getting your gyroscope in tip-top shape by retraining your vestibular system!

About Sports Medicine

An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.