A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause post-traumatic vertigo resulting from damage to the sensory organs inside the inner ear due. The inner ear contains sensory organs for both hearing and balance. Vestibular dysfunction, or post-traumatic vertigo, occurs due to damage to this area.
While vertigo is not a life-threatening condition, it can certainly make life very difficult. It can make even regular tasks, such as traveling to the office or taking family trips, difficult. In this post, Chicago brain injury lawyer will discuss post-traumatic vertigo in detail and what rights victims have.
What is post-traumatic vertigo
There are a variety of injuries related to post-traumatic vertigo that can affect a TBI patient.
Some of these injuries include:
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: This is one of the most common causes of trauma-related vertigo. The trauma causes the otoconia, or crystals, within the inner ear to be displaced. This causes severe dizziness or vertigo. The symptoms of this type of vertigo are triggered by some changes in the head position like sitting up quickly or lying down. The person may also feel out of balance when walking or standing. Treatment involves therapy to get the crystals back in their right position.
Post-Traumatic Meniere’s disease or Traumatic Endolymphatic Hydrops: This type of injury occurs due to disruption of the fluid balance inside the inner ear. When this happens, it causes periods of vertigo and imbalance. It can also cause tinnitus or ringing in the ears which can last from a few hours to a few days. The condition can be treated with a diuretic, salt restriction, medication, and vestibular therapy and rehabilitation.
Labyrinthine concussion: This refers to an injury to the nerves of the vestibular system in the inner ear, which causes imbalance and vertigo after the brain injury. It can be treated with vestibular therapy and rehabilitation, and medication.
Symptoms of post-traumatic vertigo
A person who suffers from post-traumatic vertigo after a traumatic brain injury may experience the following symptoms:
While most of these symptoms can be directly associated with a traumatic brain injury, it is important for anyone experiencing these symptoms after a traumatic brain injury to seek medical attention immediately. Only a doctor can rule out the possibility of post-traumatic vertigo. If you are diagnosed with post-traumatic vertigo, your doctor will start an appropriate treatment right away.
Balance Problems Resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury
Injuries can cause balance related issues. Our mind and body work in tandem to control our body’s movement. The brain senses that the body is losing center and will involuntarily prompt the legs or arms to move, take a step, or adjust posture to avoid falling down.
The ability to maintain balance can be affected when a person suffers a traumatic brain injury. (TBI). According to statistics, about 30 to 60 percent of all accident victims suffering from TBIs report balance issues such as dizziness and disequilibrium. These issues are characterized by lightheadedness, vertigo (a condition where the surroundings seem to move), imbalance, or lack of balance while standing or sitting.
What is Balance?
Balance is defined as the ability of humans to keep their body centered to the ground. Balance is determined by factors like physical strength, coordination, cognitive ability, and the senses. Problems with balance after a TBI depend upon:
- the seriousness of the injury
- the location in the brain where the injury has occurred
- other injuries accompanied by TBI such as a cervical spine injury, rib or leg fractures
- injuries to organs that determine a person’s balance
- medications given for treatment or for coping with traumatic events
Diagnosing Balance-Related Problems
Issues with balance can be diagnosed and treated by a number of medical specialists including:
- otolaryngologists (ENTs)
The first step in diagnosis is to check medication, as they are a very common cause of balance-related issues. The Berg Balance Scale and the Dynamic Gait Index are used to detect balance problems among patients. These tests can also track improvement and progress with balance after the issue has been diagnosed and treated with therapy.
Causes of Loss of Balance
Loss of balance after a TBI could be caused by a number of factors:
- Medication – Commonly prescribed TBI medications or changes in medicines like antibiotics, blood pressure and heart medications, tranquilizers, and anti-seizure medicines can cause disturbances in balance, dizziness, decreased sense of balance, and lightheadedness.
- Postural hypotension – Postural hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands or sits suddenly, causing dizziness and lightheadedness. A regular blood pressure check in standing, lying, and sitting positions can help diagnose postural hypotension.
- Vision impairment – Visual disturbances after a TBI include visual instability, double vision, problems with depth perception, and partial loss of vision.
- Vestibular impairment – The Vestibular Labyrinth or the inner ear system is made up of three semicircular canals that contain fluid and fine hair for monitoring head rotation and linear movements and are sensitive to gravity and motion. Any injury caused to these organs can result in problems with balance, dizziness, and vertigo.
- Sensory impairment – The nerves of the body are the sensation matrix that delivers messages to the brain. Any injury to these nerves (for example, nerves in the feet that send messages to the brain) can cause balance problems.
- Brainstem injury – Injuries occurring to the brainstem hamper the function of the cerebellum and brain stem to detect movement and maintain balance.
- Mental health problems – Brain injuries can cause mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and a fear of falling.
If you have suffered post-traumatic vertigo as a result of an accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, you may have grounds for compensation. While TBIs may be easier to prove, conditions such as post-traumatic vertigo may not be. It’s essential that you choose a highly competent and experienced Chicago brain injury lawyer to fight for your rights.