What is it
When people experience vertigo, commonly a spinning feeling or the feeling that everything is spinning around you, it is likely to be Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV often causes intense, usually brief, episodes of vertigo and dizziness especially common when performing motions such as getting up in the morning.
The disorder occurs when tiny particles, within the inner ear, break loose and fall into the wrong areas which the brain usually associates with head movement. This creates a false message of very rapid head movement when in fact very little movement has occurred.
This false message is experienced as vertigo. The inner ear is responsible for our balance, sense in space as well as knowing acceleration so impediment in this area causes problems. comes and goes with no apparent reason and will often occur sporadically. It may also often only affect one ear.
Movements which trigger the experience associated with BPPV vary from person to person. Getting out of bed or rolling over is one of the most common triggers, as well as when tipping the head to look upward. As mentioned, symptoms are usually intermittent and tend to appear and disappear at varying times.
BPPV symptoms include:
- Feeling like you are spinning or moving
- Feeling like the world is spinning around you
- Loss of balance
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems, such as a feeling that things are jumping or moving
It is important to treat the condition early only because of the fall risk associated with it. As the disorder usually occurs in elderly people this fall risk should be minimized at all costs due to the danger it poses.
Luckily, treatments for BPPV can easily be carried out by trained health professionals including physiotherapists. Treatment involves a series of maneuvers and simple exercises which aim to move the crystals out of the semicircular canal of the inner ear and into an area of the inner ear where they no longer cause dizziness.
I’m fully trained and capable of helping you if you experience BPPV. Please see my website or contact me. Usually it is easy to treat the disorder which is very good news. Rarely surgery is necessary and is only used in very severe cases of blockage within the ear canals.
To diagnose BPPV certain tests may be performed:
- Your physiotherapist or health professional may hold your head in a certain position and ask you to quickly lie back
- As you do this your physiotherapist or health professional will look for abnormal eye movements and ask if you have experienced any vertigo or dizziness
If there are symptoms a physical exam and scanning tests may be used to rule out rival causes. Once identified as the cause, your physiotherapist or health professional may perform the Epley’s maneuver or similar procedure. This can move the small piece of calcium that is floating inside your inner ear. This treatment is one of the best ways to cure BPPV.
In the meantime some medicines can help relieve spinning sensations:
However, these medicines often do not work well for treating vertigo and are usually only used in the short term. To keep your symptoms from getting worse, avoid the positions that trigger BPPV and seek help. In addition, if frequently vomiting due to vertigo, please be mindful of dehydration and consume more water.