BPPV or “Vertigo”
Steady all of Your Dizzying BPPV Symptoms with Physical Therapy
We’ve all had the sensation of being dizzy – as if you can’t focus, can’t see straight, can’t stand upright without swaying or falling. You may even experience “tunnel vision,” where your peripheral vision goes dark for a few seconds.
Dizziness is common and can have many causes. Vertigo, however, is a little different. While dizziness is typically synonymous with “lightheadedness,” which creates the illusion of being unsteady, vertigo is typically a response to a physiological factor that is causing a quite literal imbalance in your body. Those experiencing vertigo have reported feeling as if they are “rocking” or “spinning,” even when they are sitting still.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). For more information on this condition and how we can treat it, contact GoodLife Physical Therapy today.
What exactly is BPPV?
Vertigo in general is most commonly caused by an imbalance in the inner ear, also known as the “vestibular system.” Your vestibular system helps you maintain your balance and center of gravity by sending messages to your brain regarding your movement. When this is impaired, the necessary messages become blocked from your brain, and your movement becomes affected. You may feel as if the world is spinning around you, you can’t focus your vision for prolonged periods of time, or you can’t stand/move properly without feeling like you’ll topple over.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is the most common cause of vertigo. While this sounds like a scary, long-winded prognosis, it is essentially an inner-ear infection. It occurs when the microscopic calcium crystals known as “canaliths” located in your inner ears break apart and move around to different parts of the ear that they are not supposed to be in. This creates a build-up of canalith clumps, causing certain canals to become blocked. When the inner ear canals are blocked, the correct gravitational messages are unable to make it to the brain, and we become unbalanced, resulting in the sudden spinning sensations of vertigo and inner-ear discomfort.
In addition to the imbalanced sensation of vertigo, some accompanying symptoms of BPPV may include:
- Inability to focus or remain alert.
- Double vision.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Arm or leg weakness.
- Difficulty seeing or speaking.
- Nystagmus, also known as abnormal eye movements.
- Tinnitus, also known as a ringing in the ears.
- Hearing loss.
- Headaches or migraines.
How is BPPV treated?
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can hinder your daily life, limiting your ability to perform even the simplest of tasks. Fortunately, GoodLife Physical Therapy has some of the most advanced techniques for diagnosing and treating BPPV.
Vestibular rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy focuses on the vestibular system located within the inner ear and the ways in which we can strengthen it. Since the vestibular system sends the gravitational messages to your brain about your body movements, focusing on balance-specific exercises can help in strengthening this system, thus diminishing your BPPV symptoms.
Canalith repositioning maneuvers, such as the Epley maneuver, are forms of physical therapy that focus on treatment-specific head and body movements for BPPV patients. These exercises help in moving the calcium deposits out of the inner ear canal to alleviate blockage and allow gravitational messages to be more easily received by the brain. As the blockage shrinks, the BPPV symptoms will lessen.
If you believe you may be suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, contact GoodLife Physical Therapy today. Our licensed physical therapists will design an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs, in order to help you regain your balance and ease your symptoms. Don’t dizzy yourself any longer – find balance with GoodLife Physical Therapy. Our specialized treatments and balance therapy programs will help you get back on your feet in no time!