Is dizziness and falling normal after a stroke?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 31, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My wife had a stroke the end of September. Now she has increasing dizziness is this normal after a stroke. She had some dizziness since the stroke but she has been falling a lot. What can I do.


Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

It sounds like her stroke affected the balance centers of the brain - usually in areas called the "cerebellum" and "brainstem". It is not unusual for patients to have problems with falling after such a stroke.

The best treatment for this is to work with a physical therapist. They can train her to improve her balance, and they can also provide her with safety devices to prevent falling. These would include such things as a walker, cane, or even wheelchair, until she has recovered more. They are often very useful at pointing out simple ways of making the living arrangements more safe.

If the stroke occurred in late September, she is only at the very earliest stages of recovery. She will have about 6 months or so to get the most improvement. Take advantage of that time, utilizing up to 3 hours each day in rehabiliation exercises. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of aggressive rehab to maximize improvement after a stroke.


Community Answers

Chica60 answered...

My mother is 89 and had a TIA stroke 01/09/10, which has affected the right side of her body, she couldn't walk before the stroke so she is in a wheelchair, she has been experiencing "dizziness since this Monday. The hospital was unable to do an MRI due to she has a pacemaker, they did a CT the day of the stroke and then one 48 hrs later with dye contrast, carotid artery sonogram, the results were not shared with us. The speech therapist wanted to know if they x-rayed her neck muscles and I doubt that they did. She's in a skilled nursing facility and I'm afraid for her. I ran over this a.m. to see her, she was at the table in the dining room and said she was dizzy and was afraid she was going to fall out of her wheelchair, she told me last night she was afraid of falling out of her bed, we put a pillow behind her so that she can feel more secure, she wants one side of her bed placed near a wall. Her hospital bed at home has a side rail on the right side of the bed which she would use to push against and a trapeze bar above that she used also to position herself in bed or to help her get out after her hip fracture. She used to toilet, dress, and transfer herself and cannot do any of that now. She did turn over from her left side to her right in bed yesterday according to the OT. I wished I knew what was wrong. I'm afraid the nursing home doctors will just want to dope her up for the dizziness and she's in the 20 day Medicare window at the home. Help!


Mary simpson answered...

HI. BLESS YOU FOR LOOKING OUT FOR HER. A TIA DOES NOT LEAVE LASTING DAMAGE SO IT WAS A STROKE. AND I WOULD BET SHE HAD ANOTHER TO CAUSE THE DIZZINESS.

THERE IS NO REASON THE FACILITY SHOULD NOT TELL YOU TEST RESULTS. INSIST ON THAT. AND GET HER STARTED WITH PT AS BEST SHE CAN DO. EVEN IF ITS JUST TEACHING HER HOW TO TURN HERSELF EASY.

DO STAND UP FOR HER. GET HER AS MUCH HELP AS SHE NEEDS. AND MAKE SURE ALL THE STAFF KNOWS SHE IS HAVING BALANCE PROBLEMS. SHE DOES NOT NEED TO HAVE A FALL CAUSING MORE PROBLEMS.

HUGS MARY THANKS. MARY