Vertigo is the feeling that you are spinning or the
world is spinning around you. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is caused by
a problem in the
inner ear . It usually causes brief vertigo spells that come and go.
For some people, BPPV goes away by itself in a few weeks. But it can come
BPPV is not a sign of a serious health
Benign paroxysmal positional
vertigo (BPPV) is caused by a problem in the inner ear. Tiny calcium "stones"
inside your inner ear canals help you keep your balance. Normally, when you
move a certain way, such as when you stand up or turn your head, these stones
move around. But things like infection or inflammation can stop the stones from
moving as they should. This sends a false message to your brain and causes the vertigo.
The main symptom is a
feeling that you are spinning or tilting when you are not. This can happen when
you move your head in a certain way, like rolling over in bed, turning your
head quickly, bending over, or tipping your head back.
usually lasts a minute or two. It can be mild, or it can be bad enough to make
you feel sick to your stomach and vomit. You may even find it hard to stand or
walk without losing your balance.
Your doctor can usually tell that you have BPPV by asking you questions about your vertigo and doing a physical exam. You may have a test where your doctor watches your eyes while turning your head and helping you lie back. This is called
the Dix-Hallpike test.
There are other things that can cause
vertigo, so if your doctor doesn't think you have BPPV, you may have other tests too.
Your doctor can usually do one of two procedures in the office that works for most cases of BPPV. These procedures are called the Epley maneuver and the Semont maneuver. If you don't want treatment or if treatment doesn't work, BPPV usually goes away by
itself within a few weeks. Over time, your brain will likely get used to the
confusing signals it gets from your inner ear. Either way, you can do some simple
exercises that train your brain to get used to
the confusing vertigo signals.
Medicine can help with severe
nausea and vomiting caused by your vertigo. But using this kind of medicine
can also make BPPV take longer to go away. Only you know whether you feel sick
enough that it is worth it to take medicine (and possibly have vertigo
Be extra careful so that you don't hurt yourself or
someone else if you have a sudden attack of vertigo.
- Do not drive or cycle if there is any chance that vertigo could
strike and make you lose control. (This depends on what kind of movement
triggers vertigo for you.)
- At home, keep floors and walkways free of clutter so you don't
- Avoid heights.
- Don't use tools or machines that could be dangerous if you
suddenly get dizzy or lose your balance.