by Melissa Hansen, PT, DPT
Have you ever rolled over in bed and suddenly have the room start spinning? Then you roll back to your starting position and make the spinning worse? If you have experienced this, you are not alone!
What is Vertigo?
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of dizziness, but what does that mouthful of a diagnosis mean? Benign means that thankfully the condition is NOT life threatening. Paroxysmal means that it comes on suddenly. It is referred to as positional because it is triggered by certain head positions or movements. Most people just call it vertigo, which simply means that the condition causes a false sense of rotational or spinning movement.
BPPV doesn’t cause constant dizziness. Rather, dizziness with vertigo will fluctuate with changes in position like rolling over in bed, bending over, looking up, or turning your head quickly. If you have vertigo, the dizziness usually lasts less than a minute unless you continue to change positions.
BPPV is a mechanical problem in your inner ear. Crystals within the semicircular canals of the inner ear become dislodged and migrate throughout the inner ear. When your head and body move, the loose crystals move around and mechanically stimulate fibers that send signals to the brain. The brain translates that input as false movement, and you perceive the feeling that the world is spinning.
What Can I Do About My Vertigo Problem?
People who experience vertigo are highly motivated to relieve their dizziness symptoms. It is a scary and disconcerting problem, but remember that the problem is also benign.
Thankfully, treatment for true vertigo issues are simple, and correction is typically quick and easy. Most BPPV issues resolve within one to three treatment sessions.
Many physical therapists are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of BPPV and treat it effectively. First, the PT will do some movement testing to determine where the crystals are in your inner ear and which ear is affected. Then the PT will guide you through a corrective maneuver that utilizes gravity to move the crystals back to where they belong. When the crystals are cleared from the problematic area, the symptoms resolve!
If you are experiencing dizziness with changes in position, don’t just live with it. Request a free injury screen today or call us at 866-588-0230!