Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common inner ear disorder that causes sudden, intense, brief episodes of dizziness or vertigo – a feeling that the world is spinning when you move your head; common triggers include rolling over in bed, getting out of bed, and lifting your head to look up.
Inside our inner ear there’s a series of canals filled with fluids called . While our head is moving, fluids inside the semicircular will flow and tell the brain where is the head and how fast it’s moving. BPPV develops when calcium crystals floating or trapped in the semicircular canals and blocked the circulation. It is thought that injury or degeneration may allow the crystals to escape into the semicircular and interfere with the fluid flow.
BPPV can be caused by:
- head injury
- degeneration of the vestibular system in the inner ear due to ageing
- damage caused by an inner ear disorder.
BPPV can usually be very effectively treated using a range of positional manoeuvres called Epley maneuver. These positional manoeuvres aim to move the crystals out of the semicircular canal of the inner ear and into an area of the inner ear where they no longer cause dizziness.
From osteopathic and physiotherapy perspective, BPPV can be treated with simple exercises which focus on body movements and body coordination. However, if symptoms persist and cause distress, you may be referred to a specialist.