Home Base Physical Therapy Vertigo / Dizziness
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (or BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo, a false sensation of spinning.
Benign – it is not life-threatening
Paroxysmal – it comes in sudden, brief spells
Positional – it gets triggered by certain head positions or movements
Vertigo – a false sense of rotational movement
BPPV is a mechanical problem in the inner ear. It occurs when some of the calcium carbonate crystals (otoconia) that are normally embedded in gel in the utricle become dislodged and migrate into one or more of the 3 fluid-filled semicircular canals, where they are not supposed to be. When enough of these particles accumulate in one of the canals they interfere with the normal fluid movement that these canals use to sense head motion, causing the inner ear to send false signals to the brain. Which in turn causes vertigo or dizziness.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Home Base Physical Therapy Morristown, NJ
Though many people are given medication for BPPV, there is no evidence to support its use in treatment of this condition6. In extremely rare circumstances, surgical options are considered. However, fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, BPPV can be corrected mechanically. Once your healthcare provider knows which canal(s) the crystals are in, and whether it is canalithiasis or cupulolithiasis, then they can take you through the appropriate treatment maneuver. The maneuvers make use of gravity to guide the crystals back to the chamber where they are supposed to be via a very specific series of head movements called Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers. In the case of cupulolithiasis, they would utilize rapid head movement in the plane of the affected canal to try to dislodge the ‘hung-up’ crystals first, called a Liberatory Maneuver, and then guide them out.
Many studies have been done into the effectiveness of treatment maneuvers for BPPV, with results showing rates of resolution well into the 90% range by 1-3 treatments.