Blog - BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO (BPPV)

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)BPPV Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

What is BPPV? BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo and is categorized as a false sense of spinning, whirling, tilting, or turning. It is typically a short burst of intense dizziness, 30 seconds or less, when the body or head is placed in certain positions. BPPV is most common in middle-aged and elderly people but can occur at any age. People can feel nauseated and off balance for a few minutes to hours after the dizziness has gone away.

Benign- this means the cause of dizziness is not life-threatening

Paroxysmal- the dizziness comes in short burst, brief spells, and sudden

Positional- the dizziness is provoked by particular body or head positions or movement

Vertigo- a false sense of movement usually rotational

There is a collection of tiny calcium carbonate crystals inside your ear called otoconia. They have a valuable role to play when sitting in the correct position in your inner ear. BPPV occurs when the crystals are dislodged from the utricle and saccule and enter one or more of the semi-circular canals. The brain receives the message that the head is spinning or turning, although the head has only moved slightly.

Crystals can become dislodged from their normal position for several reasons. These include head injuries, degeneration of the vestibular system, and infection or damage to the inner ear. Most of the time BPPV has no known cause. Activities that bring on BPPV vary from person to person but getting out of bed, rolling over, tilting one’s head back, and bending down are common examples. Many other disorders of the vestibular system have similar symptoms and often co-exist. This is why testing is critical to determine the exact cause of your dizziness.

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