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I feel like I am spinning when I get out of bed...can Physio help?

Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

The sense of movement or spinning is known as vertigo. Vestibular Physiotherapists can assess and treat many forms of vertigo. The most common form comes from a condition called Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).  

Why does it occur? Because crystals (otoconia) in the inner ear become unstuck from their usual place and then freely move in one or more of the three canals that exist in the inner ear. These canals are filled with fluid and little hair cells. These together tell our brain and eyes about how fast and which way we are moving. When the crystals get in the canal they disrupt the fluids normal movement past the hairs. Just like river water having to move around a large rock. This disruption in flow of fluid tells the brain and the eyes confusing information which makes us feel the spins (vertigo). You may also feel like your eyes are moving 'funny' too, they are! This is what is known as Nystagmus, where the eyes vibrate side to side in your eye sockets, when you are experiencing vertigo. Who gets this?

  • Anyone but more common over the age of 50 and more common in women than men

  • Head trauma or whiplash (car accidents) injuries

  • Injury to balance organs in inner ear

How is BPPV (simple Vertigo) treated?

A vestibular trained Physiotherapist can assess to make sure it is BPPV and then they will take you through some specific maneuvers to try to reposition the crystals. The procedure often provokes the vertigo but very quickly (within a few days) you start to feel back to normal.

Possible complications? Untreated BPPV can create unsteadiness and increase your risk of falls. However, if you try to fix BPPV at home on your own you can potentially move the crystal but at the same time accidental reposition it in to one of the other canals. If this occurs it is often much more difficult to treat as the other canals treatment maneuver is less effective.

Never suffer longer than you have with vertigo, seek help from your nearest Vestibular Physio!

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