CEMM Virtual Library

The Caregiver's Journey

Dizziness

Dizziness is a term used to describe everything from feeling faint or lightheaded to feeling weak or unsteady.

Under normal circumstances, your sense of balance is controlled by a number of signals that your brain receives from several locations. A TBI can disrupt this.

The greatest concern about dizziness is the increased tendency to fall when dizzy or lightheaded.

Dizziness is often an early effect. It frequently goes away during the first weeks following injury.

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

What you might see:

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

How you can help:

  • Be aware of the possible loss of balance. This can lead to falling and serious injury.
  • Fall-proof your home:
    • Remove area rugs and electrical cords that someone could slip on.
    • Use non-slip mats on your bath and shower floors.
  • Have your service member/veteran:
    • Sit for a few minutes before walking. This gives the brain time to adjust.
    • Sit or lie down as soon as he or she feels dizzy. 
    • Avoid driving a car if frequent dizziness or lightheadedness is present. 
    • Use good lighting when getting out of bed at night. 
    • Walk with a cane, walker, or other assistive device for stability. 
    • Avoid sudden movements or bending over.
  • Work closely with the healthcare team to manage symptoms effectively. 
  • Talk with the doctor about therapies or medications that improve symptoms.

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