Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you're spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.
BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is usually triggered by specific changes in the position of your head. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.
BPPV is one form of vertigo and is very easy to diagnose and treat. Your physical therapist can determine if you have BPPV by performing the Dix-Hallpike test, which is a noninvasive test. It takes only a few minutes to confirm if your vertigo is coming from crystals in the inner ear through simple head movements and watching the eyes for involuntary movements called nystagmus. Based on where the eyes move, your physical therapist can determine which inner ear is affected and treat accordingly.
Often times, prescription medications are provided by other healthcare providers, but these target the symptoms rather than address the root cause. Physical Therapy is the #1 treatment for BPPV for long-term results. It can usually be completely resolved in one or two visits with very positive outcomes and no invasive treatment. Some patients will follow up with balance training tailored for inner-ear problems, such as eye tracking, balancing on various surfaces, and walking with head turns. Your therapist is trained to screen for things such as neck or back injuries and neurovascular conditions to ensure that Epley’s maneuver/exercise is a safe treatment option for you.