If you’ve ever experienced the sensation in which it felt as if the world—or your own body—was spinning, but in fact nothing of the sort was happening, chances are it was most likely vertigo. Vertigo is defined as a type of dizziness and the incorrect perception of motion when there is none, and is quite prevalent in the U.S., with millions of people experiencing it every year.
One of the most common types of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which can affect people of all ages but is most common in adults over 60, where its prevalence is about 9%. BPPV is a disorder of the inner ear and causes brief periods of dizziness that usually occurs when lying down, turning over or looking up.
The inner ear contains tiny calcium crystals, or rocks, which normally stay in place and help regulate balance. As the result of a trauma such as infection or inflammation, these rocks can become detached and are free to travel to other parts of the ear. Eventually they move to a part of the inner ear called to the semicircular canal and cause an unwanted flow of fluid, which tricks the brain into perceiving motion when it does not exist.
The good news is that BPPV is the most easily treated balance disorder and most people can recover from it with some basic lifestyle modifications and treatment. Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy can treat your BPPV with a number of balance exercises, as well as head and neck maneuvers that are all intended to remove these rocks from the semicircular canals.
Fortunately, about 70-80% of patients are cured through treatment offered, but we also recommend the following lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms of BPPV:
- Use two or more pillows in bed at night
- Avoid sleeping on the side of your head with the ear that’s causing problems
- Get up slowly in morning, sit on the edge of the bed, and take a moment before standing
- Try to avoid leaning over to pick things up or tipping your head too far back to look up
- Be cautious when playing sports that require you to turn your head, lean over or lie on your back
If you’re experiencing BPPV and would like a treatment program to eliminate episodes, or for any other musculoskeletal aches or pains, please visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City. Call 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment.