Publication Date

Spring 2015

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Roberta O'Shea, PT, DPT, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Renee Theiss, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Russell E. Carter, PT, Ed.D.


Background: In the elderly population, research has shown that impairments of balance and strength are common reasons for falls. Falls constitute one of the main reasons for emergency department and hospital admissions, and are the second most common reason for brachial plexus injury. Another common symptom, after a fall and head trauma incident, is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Approximately 50% of subjects with traumatic brain injury complain about positional vertigo. Research shows that traumatic BPPV is commonly misdiagnosed in clinical practice.

Purpose: The purpose of this case report is to present interventions that were used to treat a patient with diagnoses of BPPV and brachial plexus injury following a fall.

Case Description: The patient was a 67-year-old white male who presented to therapy with complaints of dizziness and shoulder weakness after a fall. He was referred to physical therapy by his physician with a diagnosis of brachial plexus injury and suspected BPPV.

Outcomes: The dizziness symptoms associated with suspected BPPV were fully eliminated during the episode of care. The patient did not fully recover from the brachial plexus injury; however, he significantly improved his ability to perform activities of daily living.