Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is an inner ear dysfunction that causes dizziness when moving your head.
The inner ear serves two main functions: hearing and balancing. When the inner ear is affected, dizziness and a feeling of unsteadiness can occur. Normally, there are small stones (calcium carbonate) that live inside a sac within the inner ear (Fig. 1),
and they are important for balance, such as standing and walking.
Fig. 1 Normal inner ear
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is characterised by the sudden feeling of short-lived dizziness (usually a “spinning” sensation) that is aggravated by certain head movements (for example, turning in bed and looking upwards). This
dizziness is due to small stones, usually stuck to a sac of the inner ear, being dislodged (Fig. 2). They travel freely into the inner ear canals and stimulate the inner ear canals with certain head movements, which results in dizziness.
Fig. 2 Inner ear with BPPV
BPPV can occur to any person at any given age, but it tends to be more common in people who:
At the early stage of BPPV, doctors may prescribe medication to reduce vertigo and nausea. However, it is not recommended for long-term use.
Your physiotherapist may help you by:
This condition can be managed successfully by undertaking the repositioning manoeuvres described above. The recurrence rate may vary among individuals. In some cases, untreated BPPV can resolve spontaneously over time.
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This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
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