Positional Vertigo

Benign Paroxysmal positional Vertigo, BPPV, is the most common form of vertigo.  Up to 20% of people over 65 may have this condition at any given time.  It is characterized by feelings of dizziness or spinning with changes in head position.  BPPV causes brief bouts of vertigo that usually last less than a minute, but can cause falls, nausea, and can be very disconcerting.  Over time the human brain adapts to this dizziness until the person may feel unsteady most of the time, or may begin to experience neck pain or headaches from “bracing against” that dizzy feeling.

The problem originates in the inner ear in the semicircular canals (shown aqua blue).

Crystals normally found in one part of the inner ear, make their way to the semicircular canals, and lie against nerves, telling the brain that movement has continued long after the head has actually stopped.  This causes confusion in the brain, and>>vertigo!

Once diagnosis of BPPV has been made, a simple series of  head movements can be completed to move the offending crystals out of the way, where they won’t cause vertigo.  Following are photos of the treatment for left-sided BPPV.  This is called an Epley Maneuver, after the doctor who first practiced it:

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