Head Injury and Dizziness

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
TBI Symptom Management: Dizziness After Brain Injury

What is dizziness?

Dizziness may make you feel unsteady and like things are moving when they are not. Symptoms of dizziness may include:

  • feeling like there is rotation, spinning or movement
  • feeling unsteady, like you are losing your balance
  • feeling hazy or like you are about to faint/pass out

Why am I dizzy?

Dizziness is one of the symptoms that you may experience after a concussion. During the week or two following a concussion, the vast majority of patients will recover from their dizziness and other associated symptoms. There are several possible causes of your dizziness including:

  • migraines
  • a problem in your inner ear
  • an injury to the muscles and nerves in your upper neck
  • minor changes in the parts of your brain that control balance
  • minor changes in the parts of your brain that control eye movement and vision
  • a medication side effect
  • low blood pressure
  • anxiety

What can I do?

  • maintain your daily routine
  • be physically active but stop if you get dizzy
  • minimize alcohol and caffeine
  • drink plenty of water
  • get plenty of sleep
  • talk to your provider about medications and supplements you are taking
  • discuss options for treatment with your provider
  • keep a dizziness journal following the example below and share it with your provider
What makes you dizzy (i.e., position, movement, activity)? How long are you dizzy (i.e., seconds, hours)? What makes you feel better? Is there a certain time of day your dizziness is worse?


When Should I Seek More Help?

If you experience any of the following:

  • worsening dizziness
  • passing out and blackouts
  • double vision or loss of vision
  • slurred speech or difficulty speaking
  • weakness on one side of the body
  • suddenly losing hearing,
  • worsening headache or hearing that comes and goes
  • drainage or bleeding from your ear
  • dizziness caused by changes
  • dizziness and chest pains in pressure or sound

Exercises You Can Do at Home

To help you feel better, your provider/therapist can teach you exercises to do at home. It is normal for your dizziness to get worse temporarily when starting exercises.

Before doing any type of exercise, make sure you are in a safe place in case you lose your balance.

  • start by sitting down on a sofa or a bed
  • once you are comfortable, you can try the exercises while standing next to a countertop or in a corner

Focus Exercises

Look at a letter or a word on the wall 3 feet away. Keep the target in focus as you slowly turn your head left and repeat by turning your head to the right at a comfortable speed. As your dizziness improves, you can move your head faster as long as you can keep the target clearly in focus.

Standing Balance

Standing Balance Excercise

Keep your balance with your feet together for 30 seconds. If this is too hard, start with your feet slightly apart. If you can do this, increase the challenge by continuing in the following order:

  • standing with one foot in front of the other with eyes open
  • standing on one foot with eyes open
  • standing on both feet, closing your eyes
  • turning your head right and left, or looking up and down with your eyes open

If you have thoughts or feelings of hurting yourself or others, seek emergency care. Call the Military/Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-TALK (8255), send a text to 838255 or chat online at veteranscrisisline.net. Another helpful resource is Military OneSource at: 800-342-9647 or MilitaryOneSource.mil.

Posted on BrainLine January 27, 2016. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

DVBIC is the TBI operational component of The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. DVBIC is proud to partner with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard on this product.

Do you have questions about this fact sheet? Would you like to provide feedback? If so, email info@dvbic.org. Additional items can be ordered or downloaded at dvbic.dcoe.mil

Comments (21)

Early today I hit my head so hard that I thought it was bleeding. I almost went down but kept myself up... but my legs were wobbly and my head feels weird inside. I’m not sure if I’m talking slurry but the right side of my brainis moving around or something

I just googled what happened and found this discussion. I’m hoping by leaving a reply this will bookmark so I can come back

My mother aslo feeling dizzing but has only affected in left side of the brain when she bow her head she feels like fainting....what's the problem

I was rear ended almost 6 months ago. I had dizziness, imbalance, blurry vision, headaches of course, tinnitus, cognitive issues and like motion sickness and nausea. But the worst symptom I’m suffering from now is “emotional issues”. I get anxiety and cry and cry. Feeling so hopeless. Not understanding why I am so distraught when there are people with such more problems. I had to go back to work by the 6 month time frame due to benefits I would lose from my job. My job is very physical. It was very hard for me to go back to work with the emotional issues too. I got nauseas from overdoing it. I took Dramamine to keep the nausea away. Not the doctors orders but I had to do what I had to do. How long do the emotional affects last? I’m 57. I’m not very young. I need to work. I need a good psychiatrist for my emotional issues. My treatments I endured were Vestibular PT, chiro, psychologist, concussion center, ENT, neurologist, Neuro Ophthalmologist. I just thought my symptoms would go away. Most did but it’s still hard to function.

Can take up to a year to fully go away time is the only thing that helps every passing day not even a passing days but passing weeks ,time time time

My boyfriend hit me in the head continuously. I did go the ER and yes he's in jail. I was diagnosed w/ a contusion, hematoma, and a concussion. I have dizzy spells that come and go. I hate the feeling.

What can I do to stop it from returning?

The incident happened six days ago and the dizzy spells just started two days ago. Wtf is going on with me? Ty

Heyy I’m so sorry you had to go through that :(
out of curiosity how’re you feeling now that’s it’s been a couple weeks?

I am so sorry for your suffering. Please go to a concussion center, a good neurologist, a good psychologist, and you need Vestibular PT. There are special glasses to wear for the blurry vision or what they call binocular vision. I chose not to get them cuz they were very expensive. Wishing you luck in your journey.

I got a bad concussion from boxing back in July. It turns out I had multiple concussions throughout all my years of boxing. Its almost been a year now and I get dizzy every day. Every few weeks I get really bad. It has taken a really big toll on my life and I've been mostly in bed. I would like to speak to others who are going through similar problems because I feel like im the only one sometimes and it will help me know I'm not the only one going through it.

Hey I feel your pain.
I feel backwards out of a spa and hit my head and got whiplash. That was in April, still getting headaches dizzy spells, ringing in my ear and a sense of something moving around my head and feels like an octopus is coming out my ear.
Family are great. But I do think at times I'm going mad. Would love to hear back

I got a concussion about two months ago and I haven’t been able to do much either the rooms been spinning so muchI am sensitive to light and irritable I’m supposed to be still on brain rest

Hi, last Nov 2017 I had a motorcycle accident and hours later I woke up in the ER of the hospital. My wound was here on my right forehead. Scan was clear. Now, it is fully healed but I still get dizzy. It is not as often as after the accident but the dizzy feeling is the same. Whenever I'm dizzy, it feels like I am spinning and melting down literally like ice thus rendering me immobile. When I lay down I feel more dizzy so I end up sitting, my back on a wall to get some balance. After a month or two, I also experience sharp whistling in my right ear. Also, right eye lower lid is twitching as often as ever. What should I do to help myself? I live in the Philippines. Please help me as I wanna get better. I am a mom of one very young child, 31.

I am wondering if i have vertigo - about 3 years ago i had a very serious fall - broke both bones in my lower leg and had to have a nail from the knee to the ankle - was knocked out - became aggressive and extremely argumentative and finally i had landed across a step on the small of my back with all my weight and have done something to my back - the ambo service only documented the leg break - nothing else - since this happened i am in crippling pain with my lower back - still can get aggressive and argumentative (i have no patience with ditherers) and my head spins out - i have been know to pass out and twitch on the floor/ground and my bladder and bowel empty - yuck - its embarrassing when this happens - sounds are louder - my visions is blurry and the pains in my body intensify - i have been for an MRI and numerous doctors visits - even choppered into the nearest hospital for it - nothing - all the neurologist has said is - "You are having fainting spells" get real - can anyone else enlighten me?? Thanks

I am not in the medical field please know that, but I have had many of the same symptoms you have described, "i have been know to pass out and twitch on the floor/ground and my bladder and bowel empty"
You stated that you have had an MRI, did they also do an EEG when you went in? Have you been refereed to a neurologist? I have epilepsy, and what you are describing in what I quoted above sounds like what happens during a seizure sometimes.

I had a concussion and blacked out for about 2 minutes a couple of months ago. Scan had a drop of blood on my brain. 5 hours later, none or less. Lately the vertigo lasts most of the day. Bit sometimes occasionally even if I am sitting still. I "feel" it like a strain besides the spinning.

How long have you been getting the dizziness? Its been one year for me and I still get dizzy everyday. Gets hard and would like to speak to others going through the same problems

Dizziness caused by changes. Meaning what kind of changes?

I had a self-discussion about the same thing!

It's a shame you don't have a donate button! I'd definitely donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now I'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

Hi Max, what Facebook group? I had a TBI 5 years ago, coma, and I will never be the same. It's continues to be a long journey and I could use support.

That’s what I was thinking. Perhaps changes of head position??

It is probably meant that if you get dizzy when the surroindings change? Like if a lot of people enter/leave the room, etc.