Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Vertigo is a kind of dizziness where you feel like you're spinning around. Benign means it isn't serious and goes away on its own—although it may be uncomfortable. Paroxysmal and positional mean the dizziness comes on suddenly when you move in certain ways.
You get sudden episodes where you feel like you're spinning and feel sick to your stomach and may throw up
The episodes are triggered when you move your head
Usually the episodes last less than a minute
BPPV is more common in older people—it can affect balance and make you more likely to fall
A set of movements called the Epley maneuver stop dizziness in most people
BPPV happens because there's a problem deep inside your ear where your balance is controlled. Tiny calcium particles in your inner ear get loose and float around where they don't belong. This causes symptoms.
The particles shift around when you move your head in certain ways, such as:
BPPV is more common in older people and in women.
Symptoms come on suddenly when you move your head. The symptoms of BPPV are:
Symptoms are unpleasant but aren’t dangerous. However, you can lose your balance and fall if an episode of BPPV comes on while you're standing or walking.
Doctors diagnose BPPV based on your symptoms and a physical exam. They might do other tests, such as an MRI, if they need to make sure you aren’t getting dizzy for other, more dangerous reasons.
Doctors usually treat BPPV by doing the Epley maneuver. This maneuver is a special way of moving your head and body. It shifts the loose particles to a different part of your ear so they don't cause problems.
To do the Epley maneuver do the following and hold each position for about 30 seconds:
Sit down on a table or bed and turn your head halfway to the right
Lie down on your back with your head still turned to the right and let your head hang off the end of the table or bed
Turn your head to the left
Now turn your head and body all the way to the left so your nose points to the floor
Slowly sit up, but keep your head turned all the way to the left
Once you’re sitting up, turn your head to face forward
The symptoms of BPPV usually go away in a few months.
Doctors sometimes give you medicines to relieve the dizziness and sick feeling in your stomach, but these may only help for a short time.