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Just Stop Spinning!

Have you ever had a feeling like the room or world around you was spinning? This is called

“vertigo”. It can be caused for many different reasons- under the umbrella diagnosis of a

vestibular disorder.

The inner ear is the main center for both hearing and balance. Balance is a byproduct of our

vestibular system. There are three semicircular canals in each ear- and they are integral to our

vestibular system because they measure movement in regards to the head on the body or turn

of the body.

One common type of vestibular disorder is called BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional

Vertigo. Let’s break down that term so it doesn’t sound so technical:

Benign = not malignant

Paroxysmal = comes on suddenly

Positional = specific position of head

Vertigo = sensation of spinning

The most common symptom of BPPV is a sudden onset of vertigo with changes in head

position, such as rolling in bed, bending forward, or rinsing hair in the shower. It also can cause

nausea and vomiting, and a feeling of unsteadiness or imbalance. You can see how it can be

very functionally limiting! But there is help.

PT’s trained in these disorders can evaluate for nystagmus, or the oscillation of the eyes, when

testing the patient, and can determine which ear is involved, what semicircular canals are

involved, and treat the condition accordingly. The good news is that BPPV, when assessed

correctly, is highly treatable on the first visit. The bad news is that it can reoccur and that 50%

recurrences occur within 6 months. Part of the PT treatment is to teach the patient how to do the

techniques at home if there is a reoccurence.

If you have had these symptoms, or know someone who has them, Connect Physical Therapy

can help. Give us a call!

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