Skip to main content


What it measures:

The head thrust test is used to identify individuals with hypofunction of the vestibulo-ocular reflex unilaterally and bilaterally.

Target Population:

The test can be used to assess the angular vestibulo-ocular reflex in patients with concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and vestibular disorders.

Specific populations studied include:

  • Unilateral vestibular loss s/p neurectomy (Halmagyi, Curthoys, 1988),
  • Unilateral and bilateral vestibular hypofunction (Kremmyda, et al., 2012; Jorns-Haderli, Straumann, & Palla, 2007)
  • Vestibular hypofunction with cerebellar ataxia (Schubert et al., 2004)
  • Vestibular neuritis, Meniere disease, s/p unilateral intratympanic gentamicin, vestibular loss s/p gentamicin vestibulotoxicity (MacDougall, et al., 2009)
  • Patients presenting with dizziness (Harvey, Wood, & Feroah, 1997)

Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Multiple Sclerosis Taskforce, Parkinson’s Taskforce, Spinal Cord Injury Task Force, Stroke Task Force, Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force, and Vestibular Taskforce.  These recommendations were developed by a panel of research and clinical experts using a modified Delphi process.

You Might Also Like...

Clinical Summary

Brachial Plexus

Aug 5, 2020

The brachial plexus is a vital network of nerves originating from the ventral rami of C5 through spinal nerve T1 transmitting signals for the entire upper


Physical Therapy Evaluation and Treatment After Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Apr 1, 2020

This clinical practice guideline provides a set of evidence-based recommendations for physical therapist management of the patients who have experienced


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline on the Diagnosis and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children

Sep 3, 2018

This guideline provides recommendations related to diagnosis, prognosis, and management and treatment for children with mild traumatic brain injury.