Are you suffering from the symptoms of vertigo? If so, you may be struggling with BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. At North 49 Physical Therapy, located at Saskatoon, SK, our experienced team is ready to help you understand and conquer this debilitating issue. It’s time to find the BPPV treatment that works for you and get back to living your best life.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can present with a type of dizziness called vertigo. Rather than being a diagnosis, vertigo is a symptom. The onset of vertigo can be sudden, often when someone is just waking up in the morning. Its trademark is creating the sensation of the world spinning around you, or that you yourself are spinning.
How Does Vertigo Compare to Just Being Dizzy?
General dizziness can have many causes, such as low blood pressure, anemia, low blood sugar levels, an imbalance in the body’s hormones, or stress and anxiety. It can even come about as a side effect of medication. Dizziness can originate from issues relating to the eye, inner ear, neck, brain, and even the heart. In reality, an onset of dizziness can occur when just about anything is out of whack with the body.
When comparing vertigo to a general sense of dizziness, vertigo stands out as a symptom due to the unique “room spinning” sensation. This spinning sensation helps us narrow down what could be causing your problematic symptoms.
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo is almost always caused by one of two things: an issue with either the brain or the inner ear. Vertigo caused by an issue with the brain is less common than inner ear troubles, and it’s usually paired with other symptoms such as:
- Double vision
- Slurred speech
- Facial droop, such as with a stroke
- Severe and unrelenting headaches
Vertigo can also be caused by an inner ear problem such as an infection or Meniere’s Disease. However, for the vast majority of people experiencing vertigo, the issue stems from tiny crystals in the inner ear getting lodged in places they shouldn’t be. That’s where we get to BPPV.
What Causes BPPV?
It all comes down to the canaliths. BPPV is the most common form of vertigo, and it’s caused by the most inconspicuous of culprits; tiny calcium crystals. Deep within the inner ear, your body has a store of calcium crystals, known as canaliths. In the utricle of the inner ear, canaliths are attached to the otolithic membrane. These calcium crystals are gravity sensitive, so when you move your head, the canaliths will also shift from side to side.
So, what’s the problem with canaliths? Nothing, when they’re in the right place. The problem is there are three, very sensitive canals within each inner ear that serve as “motion detectors.” If canaliths migrate into one of these canals, it can drastically affect your body’s ability to remain balanced and oriented.
How Does This Happen?
Just as we shed our old skin cells to generate new ones, over time our canaliths naturally break off to regenerate. The old, discarded canaliths will then be gradually absorbed by the body. However, due to the inner structure of our ears, if canaliths break off or are dislodged while we are lying on our side, they can fall into one of the canals.
This often happens at night during sleep. You’ll remain completely unaware of it until you try to sit up or roll over. The sudden motion can then position these misplaced canaliths even further into one of the tubes of the inner ear, where they become lodged and cause vertigo.
What Does It Feel Like to Have BPPV?
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can present a little differently from case to case. You may experience vertigo or you may not be able to sense a sensation of spinning, but rather feel just dizzy. The symptoms can also vary in both intensity and frequency.
The symptoms of BPPV can be relentless and are triggered by changes position, such as rolling over in bed, looking up or down. These are called “vertigo attacks.” One usually feels better is they keep un upright position.
What Is the Best BPPV Treatment?
Knowing what BPPV is may be helpful, but it doesn’t fix the problem. The onslaught of symptoms related to BPPV can affect your ability to perform your daily activities. So, what does BPPV treatment look like? There are two mindsets that come into play when it comes to treatment.
The “Wait and See” Method
One of the approaches to BPPV treatment is the “wait and see” tactic. As implied by the name, many who suffer from BPPV try to wait it out and see if it will resolve on its own. With time, or sometimes sheer luck, the dislodged canaliths may be able to work their way back to where they belong or simply get absorbed. It is currently estimated that within three months of waiting, 50% of people struggling with BPPV will show improvement.
While it is encouraging to know that BPPV may resolve on its own, three months is a long time to wait. Adjusting your daily life or work schedule around the symptoms of BPPV for three months can be a daunting task. In more mild cases of BPPV, it may be bearable to wait it out, but many who are experiencing all the symptoms Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo has to offer will find this a nearly impossible task.
The Canalith Repositioning Technique
Here at North 49 Physical Therapy, we recommend and utilize a treatment we call “canalith repositioning technique.” This treatment is as all-natural as you can get, as it uses motion and the pull of gravity to get the job done. By gently positioning the head, and turning it at 90 degree turns, we can encourage the crystals out of the sensitive canals they are caught in, and back where they belong.
How Quickly Can You Expect an Outcome?
When used properly, the canalith repositioning technique has almost immediate results. 84% of patients feel relief after just one visit. That number jumps up to 97% by three visits. This can be an important teller of whether or not your vertigo is caused by true BPPV. If treatment is received from a reputable source and the patient still doesn’t feel any better, your issue may stem from a different source, as this treatment should prove effective very quickly.
Get Your Life Back in Balance
When even getting up from bed causes symptoms, it’s time to get the issue addressed so you can get back to living your life. Contact North 49 Physical Therapy today to set up an appointment with our compassionate team of experts. You deserve better than a room that won’t stop spinning.