CSA Physio Blog

BPPV – the easiest (and hardest) condition I treat.

Posted on: December 7th, 2017 by Jeffrey Begg
Jeffrey Begg

PT (Physiotherapist)
In practice since 1997, Jeffrey is Edmonton’s first Clinical Specialist in Musculoskeletal physiotherapy. He is a certified manipulative physiotherapist with an interest in traumatic as well as chronic spinal injuries, hip pain, dizziness/vertigo, arthritis care, and athletic injuries. He has also developed the Seniors Fitness Test, unique to CSA, as a way of helping the over-60 crowd to measure their fitness and find ways to maintain it. See Jeff and the rest of the staff at our South Edmonton location

BPPV.  It’s a form of vertigo – that’s the “V”.  The B is “benign”, meaning it is not serious and is not part of a disease process.  The Ps are “paroxysmal”, meaning a sudden flurry of symptoms that pass quickly, and “positional”, meaning it only happens when your head goes into a certain position.  Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Why is it the easiest condition to treat? 

Because if you have the classic textbook case, it takes 10 minutes to diagnose and 10 minutes to treat, and the success rate is 98%.  That means your symptoms are gone that day 98 times out of 100.  If you had to have just one condition that required physiotherapy, this would be the one you should choose.  Almost nothing else we do is fixable this quickly.

Why is it the hardest to treat?

Well, in my practice, less than 50% of the dizzy patients I see have classic BPPV.  Some have a complex form of it, where multiple parts of the ear (or both ears) are involved.  Some have such a nauseous reaction to the condition that the treatment makes them vomit.  And many others don’t have BPPV at all, but rather another cause of vertigo.  Remember, vertigo is a symptom (the sense of motion when no motion is occurring, sometimes referred to as ‘room spinning’), it is not a medical condition.  So finding the actual medical condition that is causing your vertigo is really important.  I have been helping patients with that in my practice for more than 15 years now.

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