How Lane Cove Physiotherapists Diagnose and Treat Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV, is a type of vertigo that is brought on by certain head movements. It is considered benign because it is not life-threatening and usually goes away on its own. However, the dizziness and other symptoms associated with BPPV can be very unpleasant.
If you’re experiencing dizziness or vertigo, it could be caused by BPPV.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is the most common cause of vertigo
Here’s what you should know about this BPPV.
- Benign– it is not life-threatening
- Paroxysmal– it comes in sudden, brief spells
- Positional– it gets triggered by certain head positions or movements
- Vertigo– a false sense of rotational movement
What Causes BPPV?
BPPV occurs when tiny calcium carbonate crystals become dislodged from the inner ear and end up in one of the semicircular canals. These canals are responsible for detecting movement and helping to maintain balance. When the crystals are in the canal, they cause it to become sensitive to movement. This sensitivity results in dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
How Do Physiotherapists Diagnose BPPV?
Lane Cove physiotherapists are experts in diagnosing and treating BPPV. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
The first step in treatment is diagnosis.
In order to diagnose BPPV, your physiotherapist will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They will also do a physical examination. This may include tests of your balance and coordination. Your physiotherapist may also use special instruments to look into your ears.
The goal of these tests is to determine which type of BPPV you have.
There are two types of BPPV:
Canalithiasis: This type of BPPV occurs when the loose particles (canaliths) are present in one of the semicircular canals of your inner ear. This is the most common type of BPPV.
Cupulolithiasis: This type of BPPV occurs when the loose particles are present on the cupula, which is a structure in your inner ear that helps you keep your balance. Cupulolithiasis is less common than canalithiasis but can be more difficult to treat.
Once your physiotherapist has diagnosed your condition, they will develop a treatment plan. Treatment will depend on the type of BPPV you have as well as the severity of your symptoms.
Treatment for Canalithiasis
If you have canalithiasis, the goal of treatment is to remove the loose particles from your inner ear so that they can no longer cause symptoms. Your physiotherapist will use a series of positioning manoeuvres to do this. These manoeuvres are also known as the Epley manoeuvre or Canalith Repositioning Procedure (CRP).
The Epley manoeuvre involves moving your head into different positions so that the loose particles move out of the semicircular canal and into an area where they will no longer cause symptoms. The entire process takes about 30 minutes, and you will need to do it several times over the course of a few days to completely remove all of the particles from your ear.
Your physiotherapist will show you how to do the Epley manoeuvre at home so that you can do it on your own as needed.
Treatment for Cupulolithiasis
If you have cupulolithiasis, treatment will focus on relieving your symptoms until the loose particles fall off of the cupula on their own. This usually takes about 3-6 weeks. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the particles if they do not fall off on their own within this time frame.
Your physiotherapist may recommend vestibular rehabilitation exercises as part of your treatment plan. These exercises help improve your balance and coordination by retraining your brain to compensate for the loss of function in your inner ear caused by cupulolithiasis.
If you are experiencing symptoms of vertigo, seek out treatment from a qualified physiotherapist right away!
Lane Cove physios are experts in diagnosing and treating all types of vertigo, including Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, most people with BPPV can find relief from their symptoms within a few weeks time!