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What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)?

The medical term benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) might sound intimidating and overwhelming to some people, but it is essential to learn about this condition. BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo in many affected individuals worldwide. As an upper cervical chiropractor that provides vertigo relief in Mount Dora, Dr. Todd Gignac has had his fair share of experience with this condition. 

To shed light on what BPPV is and what you can do to find relief from this condition, let’s begin by talking about vertigo.

In a nutshell, vertigo is the spinning sensation an individual might experience, although he or she is standing perfectly still. Vertigo episodes may lead to nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking and moving, and injury due to falling.

Vertigo is a pretty common symptom and one of the leading causes for doctor visits in the United States alone.  Most of the time, vertigo symptoms can go away independently; however, it can be a debilitating condition if it is persistent.

What is BPPV?

Around 50% of the world’s population may experience BPPV at least once in the span of their lifetimes. This condition is pretty rare to develop among children and may become more common with age, making senior citizens more vulnerable. 

In most cases, BPPV seems to happen without an apparent reason. Perhaps, this is why people get intimidated when hearing what the acronym means.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo might sound grave and overwhelming for many. To make better sense of this condition, let’s take each of the words and see what they really mean.

  • Benign - a non-life-threatening disorder
  • Paroxysmal - sudden, brief spells or episodes
  • Positional - episodes depend on the head position or head movements
  • Vertigo - the false sense that you or your surroundings are moving

When you take the words of BPPV individually, you can understand the condition better. This is how we explain the condition for our patients seeking vertigo relief in Mount Dora. Now, let’s talk about what can cause BPPV, which occurs within the inner ear.

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and vertigo, download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

The Causes of Positional Vertigo

Our bodies rely on several sources to maintain balance when moving or looking at something. The sources include our eyes, proprioceptors or the sensors in our arms and legs’ muscles and joints, and our vestibular system. These sensors send information to our central nervous system to make proper adjustments in the way we sense balance. If one of these sensors does not work correctly, this will result in vertigo spells. This article will focus on inner ear (vestibular system) issues as a cause for BPPV.

The vestibular system involves parts of the inner ear and the brainstem. Any issues arising from these two parts may lead to vertigo. The inner ear contains canalith particles or otoconia, which are tiny calcium carbonate crystals. These canaliths usually and should stay in one place in the inner ear. If these crystals migrate to other inner ear areas or become dislodged from their original position, they may disturb the proper fluid movement in the inner ear and send false signals in the brain. This can result in BPPV because the brain might read these false signals as movements even though the affected person is staying completely still.

Symptoms of Positional Vertigo

BPPV symptoms are not the same for everyone. There are varying frequencies and intensities for people who have this condition. However, some of the common symptoms associated with BPPV are the following:

  • Vertigo spells
  • Feeling faint 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Nystagmus or abnormal eye movements
  • Bouts of dizziness

Some people with BPPV report that in between attacks, they might feel a bit off-balance when moving. It’s also important to note that BPPV symptoms come in short and intense episodes. Symptoms should not include hearing issues or any numbness or tingling sensation in the face or arms. If you show more symptoms, it’s best to check with your doctor or a professional.

Relief Alternatives for BPPV

Certain medications can provide relief for BPPV symptoms. There is also an option for surgical intervention to address severe BPPV cases, although rarely. Those seeking vertigo relief in Mount Dora often wish for a long-term and non-invasive solution to their BPPV condition. Fortunately, many alternatives can help affected individuals find relief from this debilitating condition.

#1. Treatment maneuvers 

BPPV treatment maneuvers are a method that can help get rid of BPPV. The most well-known maneuver, the Epley maneuver, involves moving the head to bring the canaliths back to their original positions. This maneuver can be done at home given the proper instructions from a BPPV expert or professional.

#2. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy 

Vestibular rehabilitation refers to an exercise program designed by a physical therapist (PT) or occupational therapist (OT) specialist to improve balance in an individual. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercises target the vestibular system to retrain the eyes, significantly correct balance, and reduce bouts of vertigo.

#3. Upper cervical chiropractic

The upper cervical refers to the topmost part of the spine. The neck and vertigo can be connected in more ways than you know.   In some cases, BPPV can be caused by a head or neck trauma, for example, a hard blow to these areas. People who had dealt with head or neck trauma are more vulnerable to BPPV episodes, with a long-term recurrence rate of 50%. 

The atlas or the C1 vertebra is the topmost part of the spine. This region connects the head to the neck as well as protects the brainstem. As mentioned earlier, the brainstem is also a part of the vestibular system. Hence, it needs to be free from pressure.

When you experience any head or neck trauma, this can lead to a misalignment in the atlas, contributing to the severity and frequency of your vertigo spells. Vertigo, along with migraines and other associated pains, is a common condition that upper cervical chiropractic care can address. Upper cervical chiropractors use simple, safe, and natural techniques to solve the problem.  They guide the atlas back to its original position to enable the body to heal, therefore, effectively and safely reducing vertigo episodes.

If you or a friend is looking for vertigo relief in Mount Dora, look no further. Here at Mt. Dora Family Chiropractic, we take on cases to eliminate pain and improve the lives of our clients. Give us a call at (352) 720-3672 or contact us through this form to set an appointment or consult with Dr. Todd Gignac.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Gignac, call our Mount Dora office at (352) 720-3672. You can also click the button below.

If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.

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2255 Crescent St.
Mount Dora, FL 32757

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