Welcome to the “DIZZY EDITION” of PHAM! Vertigo is very common and is a symptom, NOT a diagnosis. Untreated vertigo can lead to imbalance, falls, anxiety & depression, decreased mobility and isolation.
Up to 35% of adults 40 years and older – over 6 million Canadians – have a vestibular problem at some point in their lives (dizziness-balance.com). The most common vestibular impairment is a mechanical problem in the inner ear called BPPV which stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.
BPPV is more common in seniors and in women, but can occur in children. It is more prevalent during hormonal fluctuations (menopause/puberty) and can be caused by external mechanical forces like head injuries (concussions) and motor vehicle accidents.
People with BPPV usually complain of a spinning sensation that occurs with certain head movements. Most commonly, rolling over in bed, looking up (reaching into a cupboard) and sometimes bending over (putting shoes on). Some people do not feel like they are spinning but have a sense of imbalance, lightheadedness and “brain fog”. Nausea and fatigue are also common symptoms.
BPPV is caused when the calcium carbonate crystals that sit on top of sticky hair cells within a sac in the inner ear fall off and float into the canals. The canals are filled with fluid so when someone with BPPV moves their head in certain
positions the crystals “slosh” through the canal and stimulate the system inappropriately.
Once BPPV is diagnosed properly by a trained vestibular therapist it is EASILY fixed, usually in 2-3 sessions if done correctly. The most common treatment is the canalith repositioning maneuver (sometimes called the Epley Maneuver). The therapist will help you to move your head in certain directions to guide the crystals back into the sac.
It is important to see a trained professional for proper diagnosis. There are variations of BPPV that can not be resolved with the Epley Maneuver and occasionally people have a strong reaction to the treatment.
Managing vertigo quickly and correctly can prevent months of suffering.
Call InFocus Rehabilitation Centre if you think you might have BPPV! We have registered physiotherapists with advanced training in the assessment & treatment of vestibular disorders and have helped over 4000 patients with vertigo.
905-702-7891 251 Guelph St, Suite 201 Georgetown, ON