Rocks in your head: the treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
Clinically we see a lot of clients that suffer from vertigo and/or dizziness, and one of the most common causes of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV for short.
BPPV is the most common cause of sudden vertigo symptoms, and it can be very debilitating for clients to wake up one morning with vertigo symptoms associated with BPPV. Client’s often describe vertigo as a feeling that the “room is spinning”, or they feel like the “things around me are moving, even though I am staying still”. Along with vertigo symptoms, clients may feel nauseous or mentally foggy due to feeling so disoriented. So what causes this sudden onset of vertigo?
BPPV occurs when crystals in the inner ear called Otoconia become dislodged in the inner part of the ear and affect how your nervous system detects how your head is moving. This mismatch in the brain, between how your eyes and head are moving in relation to each other is what causes a sudden episode of vertigo.
The goal with treatment is to determine which ear, right or left, and which part of the inner ear is causing the vertigo symptoms. Once these two things are determined, we take clients through a specific set of movements that will help reposition the dislodged crystals back to their proper position in the inner ear.
A few things to know about these maneuvers:
- If BPPV is what is causing your vertigo symptoms, you will experience vertigo symptoms and possibly nausea during the maneuver. These symptoms usually pass within 30-60 seconds and get less intense as we go through the treatment sessions.
- Most clients suffering from BPPV typically find a complete resolution of their vertigo symptoms within 2-4 treatment sessions.
- Some clients may require further balance rehab once the crystals are repositioned to address ongoing balance issues.
- It is recommended that clients see a licensed health practitioner to perform these maneuvers rather than try them at home, as treating the wrong side or part of the ear may cause an increase in vertigo symptoms.
One last thing to note, there can be many causes of vertigo and or dizziness that are unrelated to BPPV. A thorough assessment by a licensed health practitioner can determine if other factors may be causing your dizziness and/or vertigo and if further investigation or a different treatment plan may be necessary to address your symptoms. If you are suffering from vertigo and/or dizziness give us a call at (519) 265-7343 or email to book in with our healthcare providers.