Does the room start to spin when you get up too quickly? How about if you turn your head too fast? Or perhaps you feel off balance when you are in a busy place like the grocery store or shopping mall? Well, I have good news for you! Physical therapy can help with your dizziness problem!
You may have heard about crystals in the inner ear. Or maybe the term BPPV. This is a common cause of dizziness known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Yup, that’s a mouthful. Let’s break down what exactly this means. 1) Benign signifies that it is not progressive or life-threatening. However, if any of you have experienced vertigo yourself you know it can be extremely unpleasant and disruptive to everyday life. 2) Paroxysmal means that it happens suddenly, unpredictably and in brief spells. 3) Positional tells us that it is trigger by particular movements of the head. 4) Vertigo is a sense of rotational movement when you aren’t actually moving.
Like I said before: BPPV is the most common cause of dizziness problems. Here are some symptoms of this particular type of vertigo:
- A feeling that you or your surroundings are moving or spinning
- Feelings of unsteadiness or losing balance
The duration of vertigo with BPPV is brief and usually lasts only five to thirty seconds. However, it could last up to two minutes. The classic provoking movements that bring on the symptoms are:
- Lying flat
- Sitting up from lying flat (like when getting out of bed)
- Turning over in bed
- Looking up or bending down, especially with the head turned to the side
While there is no one exact cause of BPPV, it can be brought on by several things. One of which is no particular reason at all. When this occurs it is called idiopathic BPPV. Some other causes are listed below:
- Can be associated with age
- Blow to the head
- Viral infections
- Repetitive head movements
- Nerve inflammation
BPPV is diagnosed by something called the Dix-Hallpike. This involves rapidly moving from seated to lying down with your head in a rotated position. This maneuver is meant to elicit the symptoms and can feel very unpleasant. In addition to provoking the feelings of vertigo, the therapist also looks for rapid eye movements called nystagmus. This is a common finding with BPPV and is characterized by involuntary jumping or twitching of the eyes. Once you are diagnosed with BPPV, your therapist will perform what is called the Epley maneuver in an attempt to move the loose crystals out of the canals in the inner ear. Doing so will stop the inner ear from giving the brain false signals about your body’s position and will therefore relieve the dizziness. Even once the vertigo is relieved, it is not uncommon for it to recur later in life.
Now that you know a little about BPPV, it is important to note that not all dizziness problems are the same and the way they are treated varies. This is why it is so important to get in front of a physical therapist face to face in order to get to the bottom of YOUR problem.
For those of you who are looking for a little more information about Robbins Rehabilitation then check out our website Robbinsptwest.com. You’ll find valuable information on all different body parts and can keep up with our future blog posts!
If you are in the Allentown area and are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give us a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
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