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Physiotherapy Treatment for Vertigo

What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)? A condition characterized by episodes of sudden and severe dizziness when your head position changes. Common triggers of vertigo/dizziness includes rolling over in bed, getting out of bed, lifting your head to look up. BPPV is the most common form of positional vertigo. BPPV Results from calcium carbonate cystals (Otoconia) that become displaced from their usual location (Saccule and Utricle) in the inner ear. The crystals migrate into the semi circular canals where they don't belong. When the head is moved into certain positions the Otoconia move and trigger nerves that cause spinning, nausea, and involuntary eye movements (nystagmus).

How BPPV is Assessed? The therapist will assess for the presence of calcium carbonate crystals (Otoconia) in one or more of the semi circular canals by using the Dix-Hallpike and Head roll test. These tests are meant to provoke the symptoms of vertigo to help determine the course of treatment.

How is BPPV Treated? The basis of treatment is to move the Otoconia from the semi circular canal back to where is belongs in the Saccule and Utricle. The patient is taken through specific head and body movements to reposition the Otoconia. The treatment typically takes about 10-15 minutes and is performed by a specially trained Physiotherapist. The treatment is effective 80% of the time. It may take a few treatment sessions to fully resolve the symptoms. If no response occurs to treatment then further evaluation may be necessary to rule out other sources of vertigo/dizziness.

Other Sources of Vertigo:

  • Meniere’s Disease

  • Perilymph Fistula

  • Endolymphatic Hydrops

  • Labyrinthitis (viral or bacterial)

  • Acoustic Neuroma

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