Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) causes short, intense bouts of dizziness or vertigo associated with quick head movements, rolling over in bed, or getting up in the morning. Most people report acute episodes of nausea during or shortly after these dizziness attacks.
BPPV occurs when tiny calcium carbonate crystals (otoconia) become dislodged and travel around the canals of the middle ear. These crystals stimulate the nerves that detect head rotation. The brain receives the message that the head is spinning even when the head has only moved position slightly.
BPPV can come and go for no apparent reason. It is more common in aging as there is degeneration of the vestibular system in the inner ear. 70% of people over 70 suffering from the condition at least once in their lifetime. Other causes include post head injury and during bouts of colds/flu.
The diagnosis of BPPV is based on:
- Your medical history
- Dizziness symptoms
- Results of balance assessment
- Physical examination
The most sensitive and specific test is called the Hallpike-Dix which searches for a reproduction of symptoms and ‘jumping’ of the eyes which is known as nystagmus and is seen in cases of BPPV.
The great news is the treatment for BPPV is simple!! The Epley’s manoeuvre is a simple exercise performed by a vestibular trained physiotherapist which aims to move the crystals out of the semi-circular canals of the inner ear, into the area where they belong to no longer cause dizziness. The treatment is very successful and can often be fixed in one go!!
If you or anyone you knows suffer from dizziness, unsteadiness, or vertigo, contact the Enhance Physiotherapy Albury-Wodonga team to organise a vestibular assessment. Both Nathan and Matthew are trained vestibular physiotherapists.