If you are suffering from vertigo or dizziness one type of vertigo can be related to the movement of crystals in our inner ear. This is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.This type of dizziness feels like the room is spinning. You feel ‘ok’ but the world is moving around you. BPPV vertigo is common with head movements, getting up and down from lying and with looking down activities. People that have this type of vertigo like to lean against a wall and close their eyes. It comes and goes, as it is associated with head movement.

“The room is spinning but I am OK.”

“I have vertigo with getting up and lying down.”

“It is helpful to close my eyes when I get vertigo.”

Treatment for BPPV has an incredibly high success rate. The reason for this is that the treatment for BPPV is based on gravity. We all have rocks (crystals) in our heads. A problem arises when these rocks get loose and end up in the tubing of our inner ears. These tubes have one way in and out and are very curved, moving fluid (endolymph) through them every time our head moves quickly in a new direction. Getting these crystals out requires us to use gravity. The Epley maneuver was designed to quickly position your head to allow gravity to slowly move loose crystals through the endolymph towards the end of the tube and back into the tank or vestibule where they are no longer causing a problem. Think of this system like a hot water tank in your house with all the piping. If you had a pebble in the hot water tubing or pipes it would cause all sorts of problems. Some faucets wouldn’t work as well. You would have vibrations and changes in flow. But if this same pebble were sitting on the bottom of your hot water tank you would never know it was there. Here is a video that shows how the evaluation and treatment for BPPV works.

“move the crystal from the tubing to the tank”

One last thing, knowing that you have BPPV is important as well as what canal is affected. Make sure you have appropriate imaging if the Epley maneuver fails to get rid of your vertigo.