Living with dizziness or vertigo? You don’t have to.
Are you feeling dizzy? Is the room often spinning? We can help.
In this blog we enter the conversation about the world of “vestibular” problems.
Let’s start with this question…
What are vestibular problems?
Vestibular is defined in the dictionary as “relating to a vestibule, particularly that of the inner ear, or more generally to the sense of balance” (Oxford Dictionary of English).
In layman’s terms, it’s often associated with vertigo, dizziness, or loss of balance. Dizziness is a relatively common symptom in adults and it can be caused by several different conditions. It’s important to be assessed by your doctor to rule out more serious causes of dizziness such as cerebral or cardiovascular issues. However, vestibular issues can also be more random and caused by lifestyle, rather than by disease.
Vertigo is a particular type of dizziness in which the environment around you appears to be moving. Such as the room spinning. This will often occur due to position changes such as lying down or rolling over in bed or head movements such as shoulder checking or looking up.
What is the vestibular system?
The vestibular system (inner ear) communicates to your brain information on head rotational movements, linear movements, as well as your body relative to gravity. So, if there’s stress to the area, you might feel off-kilter or off-balance.
Vestibular Dysfunction, in particular, BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), is the most common cause of vertigo and dizziness.
What is BPPV?
Your inner ear has what are called otoliths (or “ear rocks”). They move around with your head and tell your brain where your head/body is in space. When they get dislodged and move to a part of the inner ear where they don’t belong, they can trigger a sensory response that gives the brain incorrect information about your balance, giving you a feeling of vertigo or being off-balance.
How do we fix this?
If a person is diagnosed with BPPV or free-floating otoliths otoconia, treatment would focus on moving the ear rocks back to where they belong. A physiotherapist uses maneuvers such as the Epley manoeuvre which helps get these otoconia back to the membrane and canal where they belong (this is called canalith repositioning). Complete remission of BPPV symptoms occurs in most of these cases with only two treatments.
Sometimes people are told that BPPV will just go away on its own. While this does occur in approximately 20% of cases after 1 month, and 50% after 3 months, if you are living with symptoms like vertigo, you know you don’t want to live with it for very long!
Plus, for half of those with BPPV it will likely not solve itself without treatment. This condition can severely hinder daily life and lead to movement dysfunction for months or even years.
Call now to book
If you are having these symptoms or know of anyone who is, talk to your doctor or book an assessment with our vestibular therapist Blake Clarke to see if vestibular treatment is what you need.
Main source: Neil Bhattacharyya, MD et al. 2017. Clinical Practice Guideline: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, Otolaryngology– Head and Neck Surgery, Vol. 156(3S) S1–S47