The vestibular system is vital for maintaining a person’s balance and coordination of the eyes with the head and body movements. When the system is out of balance a sensation of spinning, nausea, visual disturbances, and loss of balance can occur.
The issue occurs with a change of head position and symptoms can be delayed by up to about 30 seconds. Most commonly symptoms occur with rolling over in bed or with lying down or sitting up from a lying position. Symptoms can be mild to very severe in nature and can be debilitating enough to cause diminished quality of life, reduced employability and complicate all aspects of life. Symptoms can also last from a day or so to weeks and even months.
The cause of the issue is the otoconia in the inner ear, which are tiny crystals, that are part of the normal anatomy. The otoconia can detach from the otolithic membrane and cause issues with the signals that tell the brain how to have the eyes track with a moving head, causing involuntary eye motions(nystagmus) as the eyes are not staying in ‘tune’ with how the head is moving.
This is different from lightheadedness and dizziness that occur ‘in’ the head, where vertigo occurs in the visual field.
While BPPV is the most common disorder of the inner ear causing vertigo issues, it is important to rule out other possible dysfunctions that cause similar symptoms. These dysfunctions/diagnoses include acoustic neuromas, autoimmune disorders, vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s Disease(which involves hearing loss), toxicity of the inner ear from medications and head injury/concussion that can cause issues as well.
Physical Therapy is highly successful in treatment of BBPV and often can resolve symptoms in 1-3 sessions. Physical Therapy will also help to decrease use of medications during the acute phases. There are many exercises that can then be used to sharpen the Vestibular Ocular Reflex to help with balance and eye tracking issues to allow someone to get back to their normal activities. The Vestibular Ocular Reflex activities can also help out when someone has non BPPV vertigo issues as well to help improve balance with day to day activities.
Four Pines Physical Therapy has Physical Therapists who are trained in the evaluation and treatment of the Dizzy Patient. Call as soon as you have symptoms so that you can get them resolved faster and without or with minimal use of medications!
Call 307-733-5577 for your appointment in our Jackson Location