CSA Physio Blog

Feel Like You’re Spinning?

Posted on: April 24th, 2020 by Michelle Maliczewski

Feel like you’re spinning or dizzy?

Have you ever felt like the room was spinning when you get up out of bed? Or when you look up or reach down to get something? There are many causes of vertigo (spinning), but one of the reasons you can get that feeling is called  BPPV.

What is BPPV?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a common vestibular condition I assess and treat in the clinic. The specific symptom that comes with BPPV is vertigo (room spinning) with specific head movements such as looking up, looking down, and rolling over in bed. These symptoms are unsettling and can be strong enough to put someone out of commission for the first couple of days.

Why do I feel like the room is spinning with BPPV?

When you feel like the room is spinning, the inner ear crystals that send information to your brain about where you are in space are not residing where they should. The inner ear crystals normally sit in a sac called the otolith organ, but in the event of BPPV, the crystals have moved to a different spot called the semicircular canals. The displaced crystals give a mismatch in signals to your brain, telling you that you are moving in a certain direction when in reality you are not.

What causes BPPV?

Spontaneous occurrence is the most common reason for BPPV1, 3, 4. Other reasons include inner ear infections/diseases, trauma (eg. motor vehicle accident), and migraines to name a few.

What can Physical Therapy do for BPPV?

A Physical Therapist will do specific repositioning maneuvers in order to move the inner ear crystals back to where they normally reside. Furthermore, the Physical Therapist will ensure the following: your other inner ear canals are clear of crystals, your balance has returned, and you’re not sensitive to any particular movement5.

All in all, Physical Therapy treatment has a positive outcome for those with BPPV.

Yours in health,

Michelle

Michelle Maliczewski, PT

References:

  1. BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO (BPPV). (2015). BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO (BPPV). Portland , OR.
  2. Woodhouse, S. Anatomy and Physiology of the Peripheral Vestibular System [PDF Document]. Retrieved from email: Lifemark email.
  3. Woodhouse, S. Differential Diagnosis of Dizziness [PDF Document]. Retrieved from email: Lifemark email.
  4. Woodhouse, S. Pathophysiology of the Peripheral Vestibular System [PDF Document]. Retrieved from email: Lifemark email.
  5. Woodhouse, S. Treatment-19 [PDF Document]. Retrieved from email: Lifemark email.
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