Guelph Vestibular Rehabilitation and Vertigo

What is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)?

Vertigo is not a real condition, but is rather the side effect of a balance disorder. In spite of the fact that individuals with vertigo at times mistakenly describe it as dizziness, they are not the same symptoms. Vertigo combines disorientation with a sensation of motion, which can make the room feel as though it is spinning. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most well-known condition that causes vertigo.

What causes BPPV?

The eyes, muscles, and joints continually give data about the body's introduction to the cerebrum. The vestibular framework situated in the internal ear is involved with equilibrium. Despite the fact that this framework is in the inward ear, it is not an ear issue. The vestibular system helps you stay oriented and plays a significant part in the sensation of balance.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo typically comes on when you change position, such as turning over while in bed, bending over to pick things up and/or moving the head quickly. The cause appears to be from a calcium deposition in the vestibular system, which in turn blocks fluid in the canals (not the ear).

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of BPPV?

Typically people with BPPV note that their symptoms are provoked by lying down, standing up, bending over, looking up and/or rolling over in bed. The symptoms typically last for less than one minute. Often problems with imbalance are associated with this condition.

How to Diagnose BPPV?

BPPV is diagnosed based on medical history, physical examination, the results of vestibular and auditory (hearing) tests, and possibly lab work to rule out other diagnoses.

This condition is diagnosed by a test called the Hallpike-Dix which involves moving you from a sitting position to lying down with your head over the edge of the bed.

What other conditions cause vertigo?

There are several other types of vertigo, each with its own cause:

  • Acute vestibular neuritis
  • Meniere's disease
  • Acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor of the acoustic nerve that travels from the ear to the brain)
  • Anxiety disorder Certain medications (such as anti-convulsants, alcohol, or quinine)
  • Transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes) or strokes in the brain.
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Trauma/injury to the inner ear or head

Should I be concerned that I have a more dangerous cause of vertigo?

Although BPV is usually benign and temporary, it’s important to get evaluated by your doctor, especially if your symptoms persist, because some conditions that cause vertigo can be serious. Seek emergency help or call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms, as they may be a sign of stroke:

  • A change in consciousness
  • Difficulty speaking or walking
  • Double vision
  • Weakness

How do we treat BPPV?

Treatment for vertigo targets the underlying cause of the problem.

  • Semont or Epley maneuver – a series of head-turning maneuvers done in the Clinic and at home to move debris particles from one part of the inner ear to an area where they will not affect balance (for BPPV).
  • Patient Education
  • Vestibular rehabilitation home exercises