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.
Additional symptoms of BPPV can 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, FYZICAL Traverse City 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 FYZICAL Traverse City 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 FYZICAL Traverse City. Our specialized treatments and balance therapy programs will help you get back on your feet in no time!