Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
BPPV is an inner ear condition where you experience short lived, bouts of room spinning vertigo. The condition is benign which means it is not life threatening. The term paroxysmal means that it is sudden and also it is unpredictable, the term positional means that it is associated to the position of your head, it often occurs in one ear and if you turn your head too quickly in a certain manner the room begins to spin. It is a debilitating problem for the sufferer.
Treatment for BPPV
You will need to see your GP who will then refer you to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist, once you have been diagnosed you will be treated accordingly.
Fortunately symptoms often subside or disappear within six months of onset, but due to the nature of condition, six months is an awfully long time to wait.
There are a variety of manoeuvres which can be undertaken under medical supervision. A couple which are mentioned here;
The Epley Manoeuvre
This must be done by a Doctor or vestibular specialist. The manoeuvre involves moving the body and head in a series of sequential movements which are held for 30seconds at each turn to relocate the “ear crystals”-otoconia into a position where they are no longer giving your brain the false signals of movement. The manoeuvre itself can make you feel very dizzy and you will need someone with you to drive you home. The cure rate of this manoeuvre is approx 80% as once the ear crystals are relocated the symptoms are resolved.
The Brandt-Daroff Exercises
If you are one of the 20% for whom the Epley manoeuvre is not successful there are exercises which can be undertaken at home once you have been shown how. These exercises succeed in approx 95% of cases. These are more arduous to embark on as you have to do three sets of four movements, three times a day you will need to do these exercises for two weeks so require dedication and endurance.
You must always be seen and diagnosed by a doctor prior to undertaking any of these exercises
After your Treatment
When you have been treated with the Epley manoeuvre there are actions you can take to help the “ear crystals “remain in position.
Have a friend or relative drive you home
Sleep semi-recumbent for the next two nights prop yourself up in bed so you are in relaxed sitting position with your head well supported
During the day try to keep your head vertical
Don’t bend down to pick anything up
Do not tilt your head backwards to look up.
Don’t do any strenuous exercises which involve head movements for the week following the manoeuvre.
Surgical Treatment for BPPV – This is only undertaken in severe cases where exercises and manoeuvres have failed –it is rarely undertaken.