Vertigo (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
by Brooke Smith, DPT
AZOPT Goodyear Clinic Manager and Physical Therapist
Dizziness in the form of Vertigo comes in many different varieties. Commonly, patients who present with vertigo are experiencing what we define as BPPV. BPPV, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, is caused by a disruption of crystals within the inner ear. There is good news, though! Physical therapy can help decrease the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo!
First, let’s learn more about BPPV. The inner ear sends information to the brain about where your head is in space. Therefore, if there is a disruption in this process, the brain thinks that you are still moving. For example, think of pebbles inside a tire. As the tire rolls, the pebbles are picked up momentarily and then tumble down with gravity. This tumbling triggers the nerve inappropriately and causes dizziness.1
Many people who experience this commonly see their physician for nausea or dizziness medication. This does not cure the vertigo. More and more physicians will prescribe physical therapy which can help reduce symptoms within three treatment sessions.
During the initial session, your physical therapist will assess your symptoms to determine if you are experiencing BPPV or another form of vertigo, which would require referral to another medical specialist. If BPPV is present, then a maneuver called the Dix-Hallpike and Epley’s tests will be performed to help reposition the crystals to their correct place in the inner ear. Normal treatment to reduce symptoms of BPPV will take one to three sessions and immediately reduce symptoms after your first session.
If you, or anyone you know, has symptoms of dizziness or has been diagnosed with Vertigo, please contact AZOPT at (623) 242-6908 to schedule an evaluation.
For another helpful article, please read Vestibular Issues in Physical Therapy