Vertigo, a specific type of dizziness that involves the sensation of the room moving around you or you moving within a room, is a common form of dizziness that often can be easily treated with physiotherapy. One of the main causes of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) - short lasting vertigo that is triggered by position changes. This condition can start insidiously, or can be secondary to head trauma (concussions, slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents). It tends to be more common as you age – studies show that it can be up to seven times more common in those over 60 than those 18-39. BPPV arises when small rock like crystals in your inner ear become dislodged and end up in your semicircular canals giving your brain false information when you move your head. This results in sensations of you spinning in the room or the room spinning around you. The good news is that BPPV can be easily treated by our physiotherapists who have been trained in vestibular rehab. Treatment can be up to 80% successful in one treatment, and 95% successful with a second treatment.
During your assessment, your physiotherapist will use the “Dix Hallpike” maneuver and the “Roll test”, among other tests to help determine where in the inner ear the crystals are located. This is essential as the location of the crystals guides the treatment. If it is determined that you do have BPPV, the treatment involves an appropriate crystal repositioning technique that is performed to help relocate the crystals back to their original home where they will no longer be problematic. If, on the other hand, your vertigo is determined to be from a cause other than BPPV (concussion, neck, viral inner ear infection, etc) then physiotherapy can still be helpful in rehabilitating the vestibular system, it is just not as specific and immediate. Vestibular rehab treatment is wide and varied but would be designed to help address the movements that trigger your symptoms.
BPPV is a common, yet easily treatable, condition that oftentimes has people suffering for years before they seek help. In as little as 10 minutes, vertigo that has been present from days to years can be completely resolved. While recurrence does occasionally occur, follow up treatment is fast and easy and if it recurs frequently, the repositioning technique can be taught as a home exercise for self-care.
For more information on vestibular therapy or if you think you have a vestibular system disorder and would like an assessment, please contact us at 705-788-1480 or check us out on our website at www.proactiverehab.com.