Do you experience dizziness or spinning sensations when you move your head in a certain
direction? If so, you may be dealing with a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional
Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is a common inner ear disorder characterised by the presence of
calcium crystals called otoconia that disrupt the normal functioning of the vestibular system.
In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the causes, symptoms, and potential treatments
The Impact of BPPV
Vertigo, the spinning sensation often associated with BPPV, can be quite debilitating.
Imagine trying to perform everyday tasks while feeling disoriented and unsteady.
Unfortunately, BPPV is a significant contributor to dizziness, affecting approximately 50% of
older individuals who experience this symptom. Studies have shown that people with
vestibular dysfunction, including BPPV, have an increased risk of falling, emphasising the
importance of timely diagnosis and management.
Causes of BPPV
BPPV can be triggered by various factors. Head trauma, such as a blow to the head or a
whiplash injury can disrupt the delicate balance of the inner ear, leading to the displacement
of otoconia. Surgical trauma to the inner ear, labyrinthitis/neuritis (inflammation of the inner
ear), ischemia of the anterior vestibular artery, cardiovascular disease, endolymphatic
hydrops and even migraines can predispose individuals to develop BPPV.
Understanding BPPV and its Effects
BPPV occurs when the otoconia become dislodged from their usual position within the utricle and migrate into one of the semicircular canals. While the posterior canal is the most
commonly affected, BPPV can also occur in the anterior or horizontal canals. When the head
is reoriented relative to gravity, the displaced otoconia causes abnormal fluid displacement
(endolymph) within the affected ear, resulting in the characteristic vertigo symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect you have BPPV, seeking medical evaluation is crucial. Vestibular rehabilitation
specialists can perform specific tests to diagnose the location of the crystals and determine
the most appropriate treatment. Vestibular rehab exercises tailored to the specific type and
location of BPPV crystals can effectively alleviate symptoms and improve overall balance.
BPPV is a disruptive condition that affects the inner ear, causing vertigo and dizziness with
head movements. With proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals with BPPV can find relief
from their symptoms and regain their balance. If you suspect BPPV, don't hesitate to seek
medical attention. Remember, you're not alone, and there are effective solutions available to
help you overcome this inner ear disorder.
Prepared by Kashyap Marvaniya – Resident Physiotherapist, K-TOWN Downtown
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