Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a common inner ear disorder that causes spells of intense dizziness or vertigo, triggered by specific head movements. It can also be associated with nausea, feeling unsteady or rapid, involuntary eye movements during an episode of vertigo. It is considered “benign” because it is not life-threatening, but it can have a significant impact on a person’s well-being and quality of life.
What causes BPPV?
The main cause of BPPV is small calcium particles becoming dislodged from their usual position in the inner ear to another part of the inner ear called the ‘semi-circular canals’. The role of the semi-circular canals are to help you balance, but when these particles migrate to them, they can disrupt the normal balance signals sent to the brain, leading to dizziness and vertigo. Factors that can displace these calcium particles include:
As mentioned earlier, BPPV is usually a benign, but unpleasant condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms with vertigo, we advise you call 999 or go to A&E:
What can I do to help if I have BPPV?
To help ease symptoms of vertigo, or reduce their frequency, we suggest you:
How can Castle Clinic help my vertigo?
An accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. At your initial consultation, our experienced practitioners take a full medical history and examine you, so that they can understand if your dizziness is caused by BPPV or another cause, such as labyrinthitis, Ménière’s disease, a reaction to medicine or a migraine.
What appointment should I book?
This depends on your certain symptoms. Here is a short summary of the therapies that may be suitable to help in the management of your vertigo:
Audiology – if your vertigo is associated with hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing in the ear) or a feeling of pressure deep inside the ear, you are best seeing our audiologist so that they can comprehensively assess your hearing system. You can book an appointment with our audiologist here.
Osteopathy – if your vertigo is linked to head and neck movements and rapid, involuntary eye movement during dizzy episodes, we advise you see one of our osteopaths. If a BPPV diagnosis is confirmed, the osteopaths can advise you on certain exercises to improve balance and reduce dizziness and perform certain procedures that aim to reposition the displaced calcium particles. These procedures include the Semont and Epley manoeuvres and have been shown to be 80% effective in treating BPPV. You can book an appointment with our vertigo specialist here. Please be aware that you will need somebody to drive you home after your appointment if you receive the Semont and Epley manoeuvres.