Is everything spinning? Does your head feel heavy or fuzzy? Do you feel sick in the stomach? Do simple tasks like turning your head, getting out of bed or bending over make you dizzy? You may have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). But don’t worry – we can help with that!
What is BPPV?
The most common cause of dizziness is BPPV. In fact, BPPV accounts for 50% of all dizziness by the age of 80 (Kim & Zee, 2014). In BPPV, otoconia become dislodged from the macula and enter the semicircular canals. In simple terms, little crystals have become stuck in the wrong canal of your inner ear. When you change your head position, the crystals move within the semicircular canal and give a false sense of rotation – dizziness.
How did this happen?
BPPV does not have a known cause – however it may be associated with head trauma, after a prolonged recumbent position (perhaps at the dentist or the hairdresser), migraines, or if you have a disorder of the inner ear such as Menieres disease or Labyrinthitis.
How do I know if I have BPPV?
Symptoms of BPPV include:
- Brief episodes of vertigo
- Light headedness
- Motion sensitivity
- Nearly always aggravated by a change of head position
- Lying down in bed
- Getting up in bed
- Rolling over
- Bending over
- Looking up
A physiotherapist will assess your neck movement, eye movement and balance as well as conduct positional tests to stimulate the inner ear to find exactly which canal the otoconia are lodged in.
How can I fix my BPPV?
After assessment, the physiotherapist will know which canal the otoconia are stuck in. Treatment involves precise head positioning to redirect the crystals back into the macula. And this is really successful! If you have BPPV in your posterior canal, the most common presentation, expect a 70-90% improvementin 1-3 sessions (Kim & Zee 2014).
Book a Free Initial Assessment today to find out if you have BPPV and would benefit from physiotherapy!
Other vestibular conditions
Physiotherapy can also assist with Vestibular Neuritis, vestibular labyrinthitis and Meniere’s disease through Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation Therapy (VBRT).
Book a Free Assessment today to see if VBRT is right for you!
Want to know more about BPPV? Check out this article – Evidence Based Practice: Management of Vertigo
Kim, J. S., & Zee, D. S. (2014). Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(12), 1138-1147.
Nguyen-Huynh, A. T. (2012). Evidence-based practice: management of vertigo. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America, 45(5), 925-940.
Whitney, S. L., & Sparto, P. J. (2011). Principles of vestibular physical therapy rehabilitation. NeuroRehabilitation, 29(2), 157-166.
Article written by Stephanie Pyle – Physiotherapist and vestibular rehabiliation therapist at Back in Motion Bribie Island