Vertigo taking you for a Spin?
Dizziness with lying flat or turning over in bed? Feel lightheaded or off balance with looking up or bending over? Do you feel as if the room begins to spin when you change positions? These are all symptoms of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, commonly referred to a “BPPV” or simply as “vertigo”. The good news is that this disorder can be completely resolved in as little as 1-2 physical therapy visits.
What Causes BPPV?
BPPV is a disorder of the inner ear, this known as the vestibular system. This system is sometimes referred to as the body’s “equilibrium”, which plays a role in regulating balance. Within the inner ear are tiny fluid filled canals, known as semicircular canals. When your head moves, this has an effect on the movement of the fluid in the canals. The brain senses these changes in fluid movement in order to help regulate balance. In someone affected with BPPV; calcium crystals are dislodged, causing a change in fluid movement and pressure. As a result, the brain receives incorrect information, and thinks your head is moving more than it really is, which is why you end up feeling dizzy or off balance. The prevalence of this disorder increases with age, as these calcium particles are more likely to degenerate. BPPV can also be cause by trauma to the head, such as with a concussion.
How is BPPV Diagnosed?
BPPV is diagnosed by the identification of your signs and symptoms, and also by performing physical testing involving changing your head position and observation of your eyes for abnormal movement. This abnormal eye movement is known as nystagmus, proper assessment will help to determine the appropriate treatment technique.
How is BPPV Treated?
After a proper examination and assessment of your signs and symptoms, it can be determined which semicircular canal is affected. Your therapist or physician will help you take your head through a sequence of different movements to effectively work these crystals out of the affected area. After this simple treatment, the cause of the dizziness has been removed, and most patients no longer experience this uncomfortable sensation of vertigo.
If you think you may have BPPV, alert your doctor or call DiGiulio Physical Therapy & Wellness. This is often a simple fix and can be resolved in just 1 or 2 sessions of physical therapy.
Refer to the Vestibular Rehab Section of our Website for more information on how therapy can help with dizziness and balance disorders.
Authored by: Kevin DiGiulio, PT, DPT, COMT
DiGiulio Physical Therapy & Wellness, LLC