Mandy Knaap

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Worried about your dizziness?

You could have BPPV.

BPPV stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. It is a condition characterised by a spinning type of dizziness (or vertigo as some people call it). Either it spins in your head or the room spins. The dizziness is generally brought on by change of positions (e.g. rolling over in bed) or head movements.

Why does it happen:

When the tiny Otoconia (calcium carbonate crystals) which are attached to the hairlike structures in your inner ear come loose, they float around in the fluid in the semi-circular canals.

When these Otoconia are free flowing (detached from the hairlike structure) they give your brain incorrect signals about where your head is in space, and you feel dizzy.

It can also sometimes lead to nausea and vomiting.

What treatment can be done:

An Epley manoeuvre is a technique that can be performed to coax the Otoconia back to the utricle.   Usually only 1-2 manoeuvres, one week apart, are needed to clear the dizziness.

What causes BPPV:

BPPV is usually idiopathic (which means there is no known cause) but it may be secondary to an injury or ear disease.

If you are suffering from a spinning type dizziness/vertigo consult with your physiotherapist. Confirm that they are able to perform the manoeuvre.

At  your first treatment, the therapist will take a thorough history and then do a Dix-Hallpike test

to  confirm the diagnosis and to determine which side the problem is. The Epley repositioning manoeuvre will be performed by the therapist on the same day. A follow-up appointment will be made 7-10 days after the initial treatment.