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What is it?

BPPV is the most common inner ear disorder which results in vertigo, or dizziness-type symptoms with changes in head position. It is not a serious condition and can be treated with a simple, positional maneuver to re position the crystals.

What causes BPPV?

There is currently no known cause for BPPV. It can arise from injury, illness, infection, or age. It occurs most frequently in adults over the age of 40 and is more prevalent in the female population. It is caused by crystals, called otoconia, in the ear which become dislodged from their gel matrix and travel to semi-circular canals deeper in the ear. When this happens, the crystals push on tiny hair cells that line these canals. Those hair cells act as sensors, giving the brain information about balance. As a result, the body loses its spatial detection and with quick head turns and movements, we experience a feeling of dizziness or more specifically, “room spinning” symptoms.

What are the symptoms of BPPV?

The main symptom of BPPV is the feeling of the room spinning, a phenomenon called vertigo. This sensation varies in intensity and typically lasts a few minutes. Commonly, it is accompanied by dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting.

Symptoms of BPPV will be brought on by positional changes such as:

  • Rolling over in bed
  • Sitting up from lying down
  • Looking up/down

Diagnosis & Treatment

BPPV can be easily diagnosed by a medical professional based on a thorough subjective history and a brief physical exam. This condition can be easily treated with a positional maneuver to move the dislodged crystals back into place. The result is often immediate relief or elimination of symptoms. Physical Therapists at POST Physical Therapy are trained to detect which ear is problematic and how to competently perform this maneuver. Furthermore, our therapists will provide detailed instructions on how to perform the activity at home for self-maintenance of symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo or have any questions regarding this disorder, please reach out to our staff at POST Physical Therapy!

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Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo Diagnosis and Tests | Cleveland Clinic. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].