Vertigo/Vestibular Physiotherapy

Vertigo/Vestibular Physiotherapy

What is BPPV? Is there any treatment that can help?

BPPV stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It’s a term used to describe episodes of vertigo that occur very suddenly when your head is moved around. Moving your head to the side when getting out of bed or rolling over in bed or looking up can bring on some dizziness or severe vertigo. These triggers can be quite uncomfortable and can lead to weeks or even months of vertigo if not treated properly.

It often comes on for no apparent reason and then will go away for no apparent reason where there are no symptoms of any dizziness at that time. We don’t know the reason for this, but it is then termed intermittent benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

What happens when vertigo occurs is that the little ear rocks that move around in the semicircular canals or the balance organs of your inner ear can get stuck.

Vertigo Treatment, Graceville Physio

When an ear rock gets stuck, the fluid in your semicircular canals doesn’t move and this is what causes the vertigo. This is usually why it only affects one ear at a time. Treatment for this needs to be concentrated on the side that is causing the vertigo.

Other names for BPPV can be postural vertigo or top shelf vertigo. The top shelf vertigo is a term as it refers to dizziness that occurs when you are looking up.

What’s the difference between vertigo and dizziness? These are both symptoms and not the names of any disease. Vertigo is just a symptom of BPPV. Vertigo is actually the symptom of spinning or whirling around that is caused when the little ear rocks get stuck in the balance organs in your inner ear.

Vertigo can also be a symptom of other disorders including neck pain or some abnormalities or disturbances to the vestibular nerve. The vestibular nerve is the nerve that integrates your sensory stimuli and movement so that your brain knows where the body is in space. When your head moves, the labyrinth in your inner ear, which is made up of the canals then transmits the information to the vestibular nerve and the vestibular nerve transmits this information to the brain stem and the cerebellum.

There may be other causes of dizziness and BPPV, which may include inflammation in the inner ear and the balance organs, as well neck pain or cervical spine disorders. These causes need to be ruled out before treatment can begin.

Some people are diagnosed with a form of Meniere’s disease which can give similar symptoms, although Meniere’s disease can last for a few years before the person goes in to remission. Those with Meniere’s disease can be left with symptoms of ringing in the ears, which is different from other forms of vertigo and dizziness.

How do you know if you have BPPV? You may get a sudden episode of vertigo, you may experience sudden dizziness or nausea, moving your head may cause you to get dizzy, or your eyes may go into a flickering, which is called a nystagmus.

Because dizziness and vertigo are so common, it’s very important to have the BPPV diagnosed correctly. Your physiotherapist who has been trained in this, or your GP may use several tests to be able to diagnose the type of BPPV you have and which side it’s occurring on.

Physiotherapists, after assessing and confirming this diagnosis, can apply some specific maneuvers that will allow the ear rocks to move from their lodged position into a more favorable position where they can freely flow. Sometimes these treatments can stimulate the dizziness but often by the end of treatment the dizziness has subsided quite significantly.

We find that in our clinic a lot of BPPV symptoms have gone away after only two treatments. After having treatment for BPPV it’s important that the patient look after themselves in the next few days so as not to have the little ear rocks go back into the canal where they were stuck. This would include sleeping propped up at 45 degrees for a few nights and no sudden movements of the head and neck or bending over or picking up heavy objects or looking up into the sky.

We get our patients to sit for about 10 or 15 minutes following a treatment just to ensure the little ear rocks are moving in the way that they should and do not fall back into the spot which is causing the vertigo and dizziness.

Following a bout of BPPV your balance may be a little bit compromised so it may be important to do some balance exercises afterwards. There are a lot of very easy balance exercises that can be given in a home program or if you know that you’re not going to be able to do exercises at home, we offer balance classes at the clinic.

So, if you have a problem with any dizziness related or BPPV then come and see one of our physiotherapists who are experts at treating BPPV.

Other reasons that may be the cause of some dizziness and which may cause the ear rocks in the canals to move and get stuck may be from a head or ear injury, surgery to the ear, some types of brain injuries and some degeneration in the inner ear structures.

Because dizziness and vertigo are so common, it’s very important to have the BPPV diagnosed correctly. Your physiotherapist who has been trained in this, or your GP may use several tests to be able to diagnose the type of BPPV you have and which side it’s occurring on.

Physiotherapists, after assessing and confirming this diagnosis, can apply some specific maneuvers that will allow the ear rocks to move from their lodged position into a more favorable position where they can freely flow. Sometimes these treatments can stimulate the dizziness but often by the end of treatment the dizziness has subsided quite significantly.

We find that in our clinic a lot of BPPV symptoms have gone away after only two treatments. After having treatment for BPPV it’s important that the patient look after themselves in the next few days so as not to have the little ear rocks go back into the canal where they were stuck.

This would include sleeping propped up at 45 degrees for a few nights and no sudden movements of the head and neck or bending over or picking up heavy objects or looking up into the sky.

We get our patients to sit for about 10 or 15 minutes following a treatment just to ensure the little ear rocks are moving in the way that they should and do not fall back into the spot which is causing the vertigo and dizziness.

Following a bout of BPPV your balance may be a little bit compromised so it may be important to do some balance exercises afterwards. There are a lot of very easy balance exercises that can be given in a home program or if you know that you’re not going to be able to do exercises at home, we offer balance classes at the clinic.

So, if you have a problem with any dizziness related or BPPV then come and see one of our physiotherapists who are experts at treating BPPV.

Book OnlineOrCall us on(07) 3278 1186find us in the GRACEVILLE QUARTER BUILDING 2/296 Oxley Rd, Graceville, QLD
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