You're lying in your bed. Suddenly with a turn in the bed there it is again, a really strong dizziness in your head and the sense that you're about to tip over. Maybe it's strong enough to make you want to throw up, maybe it isn't. Either way you just want it to go away. You wait for the dizziness to settle, but know that when you get up from bed or turn your neck the same feelings will return. So why is this happening?
These are the typical symptoms of someone with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV for short. BPPV is a disorder of the inner ear. In both of your inner ears you have three semicircular canals with fluids and crystals in them. These crystals move in their canals when you move your head. With BPPV some of the crystals are loose in the canals. This means with certain head movement the loose crystals move when they should not. When this happens signals get sent to your brain that you are moving when you are still. This false information constantly barraging your brain is what's causing the dizziness, Vertigo, and nausea.
So how can you tell if you have this type of vertigo? Here are a couple questions to help to find out:
- Since getting the vertigo have you had any hearing loss in one or both ears? If you do then it probably means more than the inner ear is involved. Consider going to the doctors in this case to have them check up on you and refer to the right place to go.
- Does turning over in bed increase your vertigo / dizziness / nausea?
- Do you have difficulty getting into and out of bed?
- Does quick movements of your head make your vertigo / dizziness / nausea worse?
- Does looking up increase your vertigo / dizziness / nausea?
- Does bending over increase your vertigo / dizziness / nausea?
If your answer is NO to the first question and YES to the rest, then there is a decent chance your vertigo is caused by BPPV*. If you think you may have BPPV or if you're not sure about your Vertigo please go see your vestibular doctor, therapist, or come in and visit me for an assessment. BPPV can be treated by doctors or therapists trained in Vestibular rehab, but be sure to ask this question!
At Honsberger Physio+ we provide thorough vertigo assessments and rehabilitation. The treatments will aim to put the loose crystals back to their place and can be highly effective. Our trained therapists will walk you through each step to point you in the right direction and help stop the Vertigo in its tracks!
Vertigo does not have to hold you back from daily life and the activities you enjoy most. Together, we can Build A Better You!
Written by Jeff Wang, MSc.PT, Hon BSc
*These questions are for informational purposes only, and should not be used in place of a thorough assessments by a trained doctor or therapist in vestibular disorders.