Dizziness and Vertigo
Updated: Apr 6
Vertigo is the sensation of the room spinning around you or the perception of your body turning within the room. It is often a debilitating feeling and can cause nausea and falls. A variety of factors can cause dizziness and vertigo, and it’s important to get a professional examination to determine which type of dizziness you are experiencing so you can get it treated effectively.
One type of dizziness is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which can cause vertigo.
What are the symptoms of BPPV?
-Vertigo: the sensation of the room spinning or you spinning within the room, even when sitting perfectly still
-Symptoms are caused by rolling over in bed, looking up or down, moving from sitting to lying down or vice versa, turning your head side to side.
-Symptoms last from several seconds up to one minute but can last several minutes in severe cases
What’s happening with BPPV?
The vestibular organ is located in the inner ear and communicates with your eyes and muscles to tell you how your head is moving in space so you can quickly adjust to the changing environment. BPPV happens when microscopic calcium crystals become dislodged within the inner ear. The crystals become stuck within the semicircular canals that are part of the vestibular organ. As your head moves, the crystals slowly move within the semicircular canal, telling your eyes that you are continuing to rotate, which causes the sensation of the room spinning.
How is it treated?
Vertigo is actually very easy to fix! We like to call it “the one quick fix in all of healthcare.” To treat vertigo, your physical therapist will move your head through a series of positions that allow the crystals to navigate back to where they’re supposed to be. The vast majority of BPPV cases can be completely resolved in one to three visits.
What else can cause dizziness?
BBPV is only one of the many possible causes of vertigo and dizziness. Dizziness can be caused by medications and orthostatic hypotension, where your heart has a hard time pumping blood which results in a drop in blood pressure, especially when going from sitting to standing. Other causes can include Meniere’s disease, cervicogenic dizziness, where dysfunction in the upper cervical spine can cause symptoms. These symptoms can be treated with manual techniques and cervical stabilization exercises. Dizziness can also be from other medical conditions that may require further testing from a medical specialist.