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.)

Triggers

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

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.