By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness
Several years ago, I went sledding and fell multiple times. When I returned home, I went to bed, thinking nothing of the experience. When I awoke the next morning, I felt dizzy.
My diagnosis: Vertigo.
A month into my dizziness, I got a friend to help spot me for a quick, painless, physical therapy maneuver that relieved my symptoms of vertigo.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a sensation of dizziness and disorientation. ‘Benign’ means that though it may be uncomfortable, BPPV is rarely serious, except for a possible increase in the chance of falling. ‘Paroxysmal’ means it comes on suddenly but only lasts less than a minute. ‘Positional’ means certain changes in posture or movement trigger the feeling of vertigo.”
The most common symptom of BPPV is dizziness — the feeling that the inside of your head or your surroundings are spinning. This sensation can also come with other unpleasant symptoms such as loss of balance, unsteadiness, blurred vision, lightheadedness, nausea, and vomiting.
Usually, a change in head position causes these symptoms, such as tilting the head, lying down, standing up, bending over, or rolling over in bed. Some people experience the symptoms simply by sitting or standing as well.
In the otolith organs, a tiny part of your ear that monitors head movements and position, calcium crystals (called otoconia, or ear rocks) help the organs understand where your head is in relation to gravity.
Sometimes, these crystals become dislodged from the otolith organs and move to the semicircular canals, another group of small structures with fluids and hair, responsible for monitoring the rotation and balance of your head.
If the crystals become lodged in the semicircular canals, they disrupt and confuse the way your body perceives the movement of your head, which can result in vertigo.
Some time ago, a patient who had been experiencing vertigo for five years came into the clinic. She had tried to treat it with Dramamine.
We tested her for vertigo, and she tested positive.
So, we positioned her head and body in a very specific set of combinations to guide the crystals out of the semicircular canals. The vertigo was gone after her first session.
In more severe cases, people might need a couple of follow-up treatments.
This protocol is a great relief for many people experiencing vertigo for years and trying to treat it unsuccessfully it with medication.
For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.