Feeling Dizzy, Lightheaded, and Disoriented? You Might Have Vertigo

Vertigo, or more formally Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), can be an uncomfortable and alarming experience. The lightheadedness and nauseous feeling it causes can stop you from working and engaging in normal daily activities. Minimal episodes of BPPV typically last for a few seconds or minutes, but more severe cases can last for months, causing disorientation and queasiness that can lessen your overall quality of life.

The condition occurs when tiny calcium crystals found in the chambers of the inner ear become disconnected from the stereocilia and break free. They then drift into one of the ear’s three semicircular balance canals causing disorientation, dizziness and at times nausea.

Usually, the fluid in the semicircular canals and the small, direction-sensing cupula in your inner ear move only when your head moves. This system works as the brain’s motion-sensing map when the crystals are all connected. When the head ceases motion the fluid in the canals settles, but when the crystals are disconnected, they keep moving in the fluid afterward. When this occurs, your brain must figure out why it can feel movement but not determine where the action is still occurring. Your eyes continue to move in response to this false cue and that is when vertigo begins.

Three factors make it more likely that ear crystals may loosen:

  • Being over 65 years old
  • Prior head injury
  • Historical viral inner ear infections

While there is no cure for BPPV, vestibular physical therapists at [ – – – ] Physical Therapy can identify the issue and normally help to get the symptoms addressed quickly, but the timeline for BPPV relief is hard to predict from one person to the next. If symptoms are related to cranial trauma and go away as your head heals, you may have fewer problems over time. If not, the licensed physical therapists at [ – – – ] Physical Therapy use one of two techniques: either the Epley Maneuver or the Semont Maneuver. Either of these methods can quickly stop the spinning sensations and lightheadedness after they successfully remove the crystals from the inner ear’s balance canals.

You don’t need expensive tests to get a diagnosis of BPPV in [ insert city/area/neighborhood ]. One of [ – – – ] Physical Therapy’s licensed vestibular PT’s can diagnose the condition based on your pattern of symptoms and a thorough medical evaluation.

If the Epley or Semont Maneuvers maneuver don’t help you, it may be because:

  • Not one but both of your ears are affected
  • You have an excessive amount of loose crystals
  • The calcium crystals have drifted into multiple semicircular canals
  • Your dizziness has a different cause

If we can’t treat your case of BPPV after a few sessions, you should seek help from an local otolaryngologist (more commonly known as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor) in the [ insert city/town/neighborhood ] area. While we’ve had resounding success treating BPPV at [ – – – ] Physical Therapy, an ENT may be able to put you through additional exercises to move the calcium crystals back into the correct part of the inner ear. If you’re having a hard time holding down food or liquids, or if tingling, numbness, or trouble seeing occurs, seek help sooner rather than later as these symptoms could be related to a more serious medical problem.

Please contact [ – – – ] Physical Therapy below for your free initial consultation.

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