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Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

by | May 15, 2020 | Conditions

What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a non-life threatening condition in which calcium carbonate crystals (otoconia) are dislodged from the utricle and migrate to one or more of the 3 semicircular canals, where they are not supposed to be. When this happens, the inner ear sends false signals to the brain of head movement and you feel dizzy, typically for about 30 seconds or so when you change positions.

How is BPPV diagnosed?

When someone with BPPV changes positions, it causes the crystals to move within the canal, triggering error signals that cause the eyes to move in a specific pattern, called “nystagmus.” The direction of the nystagmus and position of the head can help a trained clinician identify which ear the crystals are in and which canal the crystals have moved to. Tests such as the Dix-Hallpike or Roll test are commonly used to identify the specific location of the otoconia.

Treatments for BPPV

The majority of cases are identified as right sided, posterior canal BPPV and are easily corrected with a trained clinician in a series of movements called a canalith repositioning maneuver, or Epley maneuver.

It is not recommended to perform a home or self-treatment, as sometimes a different method and series of head and body positions are required, or you may dislodge the crystals and move them into another canal, complicating your condition. Additionally, a trained clinician will perform a thorough neurological screen, neck evaluation and rule out other sinister pathology prior to performing a treatment. The good news though, is that most cases of BPPV are easily treatable and resolve in 1-3 treatments.

If you are concerned you may suffer from BPPV, contact us at Vida Integrated Health to have your condition diagnosed and treated with a Telemedicine Consultation with our Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist, Aiko Araki, DPT or In-Clinic Evaluation at Vida Ravenna in Seattle, Washington. 

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