Physiotherapy Treatment for Vertigo (BPPV)

Vertigo is the complaint of dizziness, often reported as the room spinning, caused by vestibular (inner ear) dysfunction or cranial nerve dysfunction.  It affects 42% of adults over their lifetime.  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo.

It is caused by calcium carbonate crystals (otoconia) that break free from the utricle and float freely in the semi-circular canals (in the inner ear).  There are 2 types of BPPV – Canalithiasis where the crystals are freely floating in the canal and – Cupulolithiasis  where the crystals are stuck to the cupula.  Other causes of dizziness include vestibular migraines, cervicogenic vertigo (upper neck), vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, concussion, perilymphatic fistula, vestibular Schwannoma.

What are the symptoms of BPPV

Patients with BPPV complain of dizziness where the room feels like it is spinning.  Symptoms occur during positional changes of the head, such as turning in bed, lying on one side, getting out of bed and looking up.  Symptoms usually only last for a few seconds (less than 1 minute) however a feeling of nausea or increased head pressure can last for hours.  Symptoms can come and go, often recurring multiple times during weeks or years but with periods of relief.

Physiotherapy Treatment for BPPV

Physiotherapy treatment for BPPV is very effective and involves specific head and body movements to assist in the movement of the crystals in the inner ear.  The direction of movement will depend on the affected ear (side). The maneuver lasts approximately 3-5 minutes and will be repeated 2-4 times during your appointment.  Symptoms are often aggravated by the treatment but by then end of your first session you will feel considerably better.  On average a patient will only require 1-2 treatments for symptoms to resolve.

IFSC Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic can provide treatment for vertigo symptoms.  However, if you suffer from symptoms of vertigo you should see your GP for assessment before you make an appointment with a chartered Physiotherapist – that has specialist training in vestibular rehabilitation.  

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