BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
At our clinic in Savannah, GA we treat BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) in a different way than a traditional rehabilitation clinic. Before we address the updated treatments and our new understanding of BPPV, let’s first learn about this condition.
What is BPPV?
BPPV is a condition that causes you to feel like the world is spinning. The spinning sensation begins when you put your head in certain positions. Most commonly this is seen when extending your head back or rolling over in bed. The reason why you experience vertigo is that one part of your vestibular system dislodges and falls in the wrong area. Your vestibular system consists of 6 canals that detect rotation and tilts of the head. The other part of your vestibular system contains two otoliths that detect translational movements like riding a car or elevator.
Do I Have BPPV?
Criteria for the diagnosis of the most common form of BPPV is tested with something known as the Dix-Hallpike test. During this test, your eyes are closed, and the doctor quickly pulls you back while you are lying down. After this, they are looking to see if your eyes are moving in a certain direction. If this occurs, you have BPPV and you must undergo an Epley maneuver to fix the problem.
New Information on BPPV
We have new information on BPPV. An important study was recently done on this condition and what they found was astonishing! What they found was that improvement following the treatment of BPPV using the Epley maneuver was seen with almost every patient. The interesting part was that the crystals that cause vertigo still remained in the wrong location. This means our understanding of BPPV is wrong and what we thought was happening, is incorrect. A better understanding has come from this and allowed us to help even the most complicated vertigo sufferers.
BPPV is the Most Common form of Vertigo
Yes, it is true. The most common form of vertigo is due to BPPV. There are many other types of vertigo that can occur. Learn more about other types of vertigo here. When it comes to the treatment of vertigo, it is most important to have a proper diagnosis. At our clinic in Savannah, GA, we see that BPPV is overly diagnosed by others. This is because most clinicians are not familiar with dizziness and vertigo conditions. If you are treating for BPPV, and you are not getting any better, you probably don’t have BPPV.
Why does BPPV occur?
Your otolithic system detects translations and has stones or crystals known as otoconia that are attached to hair cells. When these stones become dislodged, they tend to fall into one of your 6 canals. These canals, due to the weight of the stone become hyper-excited and causes your eyes to move uncontrollably as if you are spinning. These stones usually dissolve within a few days, but in severe cases, it may take years. Certain conditions such as autoimmune conditions can predispose you to have these stones dislodge more frequently. For these reasons, persistent diseases must be treated promptly.
Vertigo and BPPV
The most common symptoms of BPPV are anxiety, lightheadedness, and other non-vertigo-related symptoms. This is due to the inappropriate sensory signal from the vestibular system to the brain. This is why it is important to not only look for BPPV in patients suffering from vertigo but patients with anxiety, depression, neck pain and so much more. Because the vestibular system is the strongest input to our brain, it is important to look at vestibular dysfunction in every patient.
Is BPPV Curable?
Yes, you have to remove the crystal or stone from the wrong area of the vestibular system or help your brain integrate the signal. Sometimes this can be easier said than done. If you have BPPV, you can perform and Epley Maneuver at home. This usually helps, but it does have a chance of causing more problems. With our current understanding of BPPV, we know that this treatment is not the best way to approach this condition. The research has made it clear that our understanding of BPPV is incorrect. To see lasting results it is important to treat the cause.
We take the approach of stopping your vertigo as fast as possible and making sure this doesn’t happen again. We do this through Clinical Neuroscience and Clinical Nutrition if necessary. Whether you know you have BPPV or you are unsure, it is most important to get a correct diagnosis and address this as soon as possible. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today.