VERTIGO & BPPV
WHAT IS VERTIGO?
Vertigo is actually a symptom, not a condition itself. It can be described as the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is spinning or swaying. This can be hardly noticeable, or it can be severe which makes keeping your balance very difficult, or performing everyday tasks feel impossible.
At Transcend Rehab & Wellness, we start by finding the cause of your vertigo and work together on a treatment plan to get you feeling back to normal as fast as possible.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV is a common inner ear condition that causes intense dizziness for brief periods when a person changes positions or moves their head in specific directions. BPPV:
Is the most common form of vertigo
Commonly affects people ages 50+
Is caused by bone crystals (otoconia) stuck in the semi-circular canals where they don't belong.
The Anatomy of BPPV
The ear is intricate! The deepest part of the ear - the inner ear - has 5 motion sensors (also known as the vestibular system or balance center) that provide constant input to the brain, where you are in your environment, and which way you are moving.
As we age, inner ear crystals can break loose inside the utricle - a motion sensor shaped like a pouch. When we lay down, roll over, or bend over, the loose crystals can fall into one or more semicircular canal(s) when they get pulled by gravity to the lowest point. Imagine turning a snow globe on it's side and watching the snowflakes fall to the new position.
As the crystals move, they stimulate the semicircular canal motion sensor- which feels like spinning, until the crystals stop moving which can last a few seconds to several minutes.
DO I HAVE BPPV?
I use special infrared video goggles to quickly & accurately determine the affected semicircular canal(s). The goggles block your brain's over-riding control of the eye movements and allow me to see the abnormal reflexive movements provoked by your inner ear motion sensors. Each semicircular canal is connected to the eye muscles behind your eyes which help you see clearly when the head/body are moving. An abnormal twitching reflex, called a nystagmus, is provoked when the crystals move in the canal when pulled by gravity after an individual with BPPV makes head movements or position changes.
BPPV that keeps coming back can be associated with low vitamin D levels, autoimmune thyroiditis, migraine headaches, high blood pressure that is difficult to control, and genetics.
TREATMENT OF BPPV
Treatments use gravity and sequences of head positions to move the crystals out of the affected semicircular canal(s). This stops the false signals of movement that provoke your symptoms.
Usually patients will see me one to three times for these treatments, however, based on the exam findings I will provide a recommendation specific to you and your needs.
At Transcend Rehab & Wellness, I emphasize self cares and will teach you self-testing and treatment options in case you experience another episode of BPPV in the future.
The most efficient & effective way to manage this condition is to have the goggle exam to determine the affected canals and treat it.
The second best way to manage this is by trying the self-treatments I provide. There are six different motion sensors in different planes of the skull that can be affected. When self-treatments don't work, it's important to call & schedule an appointment for the video frenzel goggle exam.
ARE VERTIGO & DIZZINESS THE SAME THING?
Vertigo is the illusion of movement, such as swaying, rocking, bobbing, or spinning.
Dizziness is a nonspecific term that is often used to describe lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or faint sensation.
One of the most Frequently Asked Questions I hear about both conditions is “How can I prevent this?” Watch the video to learn more about dizziness, vertigo and the importance of balance to your overall health.
TREATING MOTION SICKNESS
Sick of drugging yourself with Dramamine and sleeping through your vacation? Or worse yet- declining the invite to fun activities with your family and friends?
Learn what causes it and how I can help!