What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)?
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, also called BPPV, is an inner ear problem that causes you to suddenly feel dizzy when you move your head in a certain direction, bending over, looking up and rolling over in bed. You might feel like the room is spinning around in circles. This feeling is called “vertigo”. You might feel nauseous at the same time. The nausea and dizziness go away in a few seconds. BPPV is bothersome, but it won’t hurt you.
What is the cause of BPPV?
Your inner ear contains tiny calcium particles (called otoconia) that help you keep your balance. Normally, these particles are distributed evenly in the inner ear’s 3 canals. When you move your head, the calcium particles stimulate nerve cells inside the canals. These cells send your brain a signal telling it what direction your head is moving.
However, the particles can break loose and clump together in one of the canals. When this happens, the nerve cells tell your brain that your head has moved in a direction you are not.
How is BPPV diagnosed?
It is determined by clinical history and specific symptoms. The diagnosis is confirmed by a positive response on the Dix Hallpike maneuver.
How is BPPV treated?
The canalith repositioning procedure is the treatment of choice for patients with classic signs of BPPV. Also known as the Epley Maneuver. The entire maneuver takes about five minutes and involves moving the head in four different positions. The Epley maneuver can successfully eliminate or reduce symptoms of BPPV in approximately 90% of patients. After the maneuver is completed, follow up instructions and at home vestibular exercises are provided to do for a short time.