Friday January 27, 2012

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Have you experienced episodes of dizziness or spinning with movement? You may be experiencing positional vertigo or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is a disorder of the vestibular system which is found in the inner ear. Symptoms most commonly associated with BPPV include dizziness, spinning, nausea, unsteadiness or imbalance with walking.

BPPV occurs when the otoconia in our inner ear become “dislodged” and fall into semi-circular canals. Otoconia are calcium carbonate crystals or rocks. Turns out we all have rocks in our head! When these rocks or debris are loose in the semi-circular canals they can cause nystagmus or jumping of the eyes. This can lead to the symptoms of spinning. Usually these symptoms are short, lasting less than a minute. Typically these symptoms will occur with change of position with daily activities like looking up into the cupboard, bending forward to put on shoes or rolling over in bed.
These symptoms can be evaluated and treated by your physical therapist. During a physical therapy evaluation your physical therapist will determine which of the three semi-circular canals is affected. Treatment is initiated after the examination, and depending upon the canal involved, their is immediate success the majority of the time. Specific instructions will be provided for self-management. A follow-up visit or two is typically prescribed.
Don’t wait until your symptoms make you miserable or try to rely on prescription medications. The described treatment is the safest and most cost-effective method of managing BPPV.