Dizziness and Balance

Dizziness is one of the symptoms a service member or veteran may experience after a TBI. The greatest concern about dizziness is the increased tendency to fall when dizzy or lightheaded. During the weeks following a TBI, the vast majority of people will recover from their dizziness and other associated symptoms.

What is dizziness?
Dizziness may make a person feel unsteady and like things are moving when they are not. Symptoms of dizziness may include:

  • The sensation of rotation, spinning, or movement
  • Feeling unsteady or like you’re losing your balance
  • Feeling hazy, “in a fog,” or like you are about to faint or pass out

If dizziness does not go away on its own after several weeks, there are therapies and medications that may help. These must be used under the supervision of the healthcare team.

What might you see?

  • Complaints that the surroundings are spinning or moving (this is known as vertigo)
  • Loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Wooziness or lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision during quick or sudden head movements

How can you help?

  • Encourage your service member or veteran to:
    • Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated.
    • Avoid or decrease alcohol and caffeine intake.
    • Sit upright for a few minutes before walking. This gives the brain and heart enough time to adjust to the change of body position.
    • Sit or lie down as soon as he or she feels dizzy.
    • Avoid driving a car if frequent dizziness or lightheadedness is present.
    • Walk with a cane, walker, or other assistive device for stability.
    • Avoid sudden movements or bending over.
  • Be aware of possible loss of balance. This can lead to falling and serious injury.
  • Make your home “fall-proof:”
    • Remove area rugs and electrical cords that someone could slip on or trip over.
    • Use non-slip mats on your bath and shower floors.
    • Use good lighting when getting out of bed at night.
  • Talk with the healthcare team to effectively manage symptoms; ask your provider about therapies or medications that may be helpful.