Do you ever feel unsteady, or not quite as sure-footed as you used to be? Do you find yourself having to reach for walls or furniture to steady yourself? Does your dizziness make it difficult for you to complete daily tasks without having to sit down to re-balance yourself? If so, you may be suffering from a balance disorder such as BPPV.
BPPV, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, is the most common cause of vertigo. It can develop for a variety of reasons and can be physically and mentally disrupting. BPPV occurs when the tiny calcium crystals located in your inner ears break apart and move around to different parts of the ear. This can cause sudden spinning sensations (vertigo) and inner-ear discomfort.
If you are living with BPPV or think this may be your diagnosis, don’t hesitate to contact our physical therapy office today. We have two locations available to serve the Iowa (Des Moines Clinic) and South Dakota (Dakota Dunes Clinic). Our vertigo treatments will help you get back on your feet in no time.
How can I tell if I have BPPV?
The most common symptom of BPPV is vertigo. Vertigo is a sense that the world is spinning, rocking, or rotating even though you are standing, sitting, or lying still. Vertigo often leaves you feeling disconcerted, especially when it happens suddenly.
So, what does your inner ear have to do with your sense of balance? In a word: everything. While your inner ear, specifically the cochlea, is responsible for transmitting sound waves from the movement of bones in the middle ear to the auditory nerve in the brain, the semicircular canals act as a sort of gyroscope in the body. These canals are filled with fluid and when the fluid responds to movement, millions of hair cells called cilia report your body’s position in space. When a crystal is incorrectly in the semicircular canal, the hair cells report extra movement to the brain, thus creating spinning.
In addition to vertigo, you may also notice:
- Inability to focus or remain alert.
- Double vision.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Nystagmus, also known as abnormal eye movements.
How will physical therapy help?
At Fyzical Dakota Dunes and Fyzical Des Moines, we provide vestibular therapy for patients suffering from BPPV or balance disorders. Vestibular therapy, also referred to as vestibular rehabilitation, is conducted through a process of adaptation and compensation. We use both passive and active therapies to reprogram the vestibular system and form connections with the brain on adjusting imbalances and regaining stability.
One of the most common examples of treatment for BPPV is canalith repositioning maneuvers, which focuses on treatment-specific head and body movements for BPPV patients. These exercises help in moving the calcium deposits out of the inner ear semicircular canals to prevent excess signal from being sent to the brain. When the crystal is back in the proper location, vertigo dissipates.
Additional vertigo treatments include:
- Various maneuvers
- Balance training
- Home programs
- Patient education
If you believe you may be living with BPPV or another balance disorder, call Fyzical Dakota Dunes (South Dakota) or Fyzical Des Moines (Iowa) today. We’ll provide relief for all of your dizzying symptoms.