Just Orthopedic
Author: Terry K. Gemas

Identifying the Symptoms of Vertigo

Have you experienced dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and loss of balance while you were moving your head? Do you experience dizziness when you roll over on your bed or straightening up after you have bent over? Do you experience vertigo when you attempt to reach something high? If you answered yes to those questions, then you may be suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo also known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

Many people with BBBV feel as though they are tilting, swaying or spinning even when they are not moving. Other symptoms may include nystagmus, or uncontrolled eye moments, vomiting and nausea. BPPV may go away on its own, but it can cause many problems. People who have BPPV are more prone to on-the-job accidents, car accidents and falls. They may also have trouble completing daily tasks.

Who’s Prone to Get Vertigo?

BPPV is the most common type of vertigo. It is more common in women and people who are over the age of 60. In fact, it is estimated that 50 percent of people who are over the age of 60 have BPPV.  BPPV occurs when calcium crystals inside the ear dislodge and float into the semicircular ear canal. There are many things that can dislodge the crystals, including an infection, head injury, disorder of the inner ear and vascular injury. In some cases, the causes of BPPV are not known.

Woman Having Vertigo

Vertigo and Physical Therapy

After a physician has diagnosed BPPV, they can refer a person to a physical therapist. Some people are able to get BPPV resolved with just one or two treatments. The physical therapist will examine the patient in order to determine what positional changes cause vertigo, whether a person has balance problems or other medical problems that require treatment. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is the most common treatment that physical therapists use for BPPV treatment. It involves using a series of body, eye and hand maneuvers. These exercises help retrain and stimulate the vascular system.

The American Academy of Neurology has found the Epley Maneuver to the be the most effective form of therapy for BPPV. It involves performing clinician-guided, safe head movements. It only takes a few minutes to perform the Epley Maneuver. The goal of this treatment is to get the crystals to move from the posterior semicircular canal into another inner ear canal. Habitation is another treatment that can be used for BPPV. It involves teaching the patient how to perform Brandt-Daroff exercises, which teach the brain to not stimulate the vertigo response. Home exercises and medications to control the symptoms can also be used to treat BPPV.. In rare cases, surgery is recommended.
Just Orthopedic

Terry K. Gemas , MD

While Dr. Terry Gemas was doing his sports medicine fellowship training at the University of Miami, he treated varsity athletic teams and served as a fellow orthopedic surgeon to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers professional football team.

He has a special interest in sports related injuries as well as cutting-edge arthroscopic and other minimally invasive procedures, total joint replacement, and general fracture ...

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