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Understanding BPPV: The Inner Ear Disorder Behind Vertigo

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

for BPPV.


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


We have 3 locations to serve you better. Our Arlington Clinic located at 775 Midpark Drive is booking appointments for Massage Therapy and all other services, and the team can't wait to see you. If you would like to see one of our dedicated specialists for hands-on treatment, contact us or click here to book online.



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