Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common vestibular disorder. Many people suffer from it without realising that it can be treatable.

BPPV occurs when small calcium crystals, known as otoconia, become dislodged from their usual location within the inner ear. These crystals can enter one of the three semicircular canals, disrupting the normal flow of fluid and sending false signals to the brain about head movement and orientation, resulting in a brief sensation of vertigo.

Causes

The exact cause of BPPV is often unknown, but several factors can contribute to its development:

  • Age: BPPV is more common in older adults, particularly those over the age of 60.
  • Head Trauma: Injury to the head, even minor trauma, can displace the otoconia in the inner ear.
  • Inner Ear Conditions: Other inner ear disorders, infections, or inflammation can increase the risk of BPPV.

Symptoms

BPPV causes brief episodes of vertigo which can last from a few seconds to few minutes, often triggered by certain head movements or changes in position. Other common symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nystagmus (involuntary eye movements)
  • Unsteadiness and imbalance

Diagnosis

Diagnosing BPPV typically involves physical examination, which helps determine the affected ear and the specific canal involved.

Treatment Options

BPPV is a treatable condition with a very good prognosis. Vestibular Physiotherapists can perform Canalith Repositioning Procedures (e.g., Epley maneuver) to move the displaced otoconia out of the semicircular canal and back into the inner ear’s proper location. If you experience dizziness or vertigo, please feel free to contact us for a check-up.

To make an appointment with a vestibular physio in Claremont, please click here or call (08) 9384 1555.

To make an appointment, call our Claremont clinic on (08) 9384 1555 or click here to book online.