Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a common inner ear disorder that causes episodes of dizziness and a sensation of spinning or vertigo. This condition is usually harmless but can significantly impact quality of life.

What is BPPV?

BPPV arises from a dysfunction from inside of the ear; the semicircular canals are three fluid filled loops that respond to rotation of the head. Next to the semicircular canals are the saccule and utricle which are responsible for letting the body interpret forwards and backwards motions. Collectively the semicircular canals, saccule,and utricle are referred to as the Vestibular system. When tiny calcium crystals (otoconia) in the utricle, a part of the inner ear, become dislodged and move into one of the semicircular canals. When these crystals shift, they disturb the fluid in the canals, sending false signals to the brain about the body’s position and causing vertigo.

Causes of BPPV

The exact cause of BPPV is often unknown, but several factors can contribute to its development:

  1. Age: BPPV is more common in older adults.
  2. Head injury: May dislodge the crystals.
  3. Ear infections: Conditions such as vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis can lead to BPPV.
  4. Extended periods of bed rest: Prolonged immobility, such as after surgery, can cause the crystals to dislodge.

Symptoms of BPPV

The primary symptom of BPPV is vertigo, a sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning. This sensation is often triggered by specific changes in head position, such as:

  • Looking up or down
  • Lying down or turning over in bed
  • Getting out of bed
  • Vertigo that lasts less than 60s

Other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Lightheadedness

Diagnosing BPPV

Based on your medical history, a physical examination, and specific tests that involve rapid movements to observe for any abnormal eye movements and onset of symptoms.

Treatment Options for BPPV

Treatment for BPPV aims to reposition the dislodged crystals to their correct location in the inner ear. Common treatment methods include:

  1. Repositioning Maneuvers: These involve a series of specific head and body movements designed to guide the crystals back to the utricle.
  2. Exercises: These exercises are a series of movements that you can do at home to help alleviate symptoms over time.
  3. Exercises: These exercises are a series of movements that you can do at home to help alleviate symptoms over time.
  4. Medications (As prescribed by your GP as): In some cases, medications may be prescribed to relieve nausea or anxiety associated with vertigo, although they do not treat the underlying cause.

BPPV is a common cause of vertigo that can be effectively treated with simple maneuvers and exercises. If you experience symptoms of BPPV and require any assistance, or have any questions please contact us on (02) 8018 8883 or email at info.aretchiropractic@gmail.com