(Hello, hello) Living in a place called Vertigo

Unlike U2 nobody really wants to experience vertigo. Why does my head spin in a certain position and what can be done to help?


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV for short, is a disorder of the inner ear. For those who experience BPPV when you move your head into a certain position, usually looking over a shoulder, you may start to feel dizzy, nauseous and the room may start to spin.

BPPV VertigoBPPV is caused when a calcium crystal forms in one of the tubes in the inner ear. These crystals are normally embedded in gel inside an inner part of our ear. When these crystals become dislodged and migrate into one or more of 3 fluid-filled canals, where they are not supposed to be.

When enough of these particles accumulate in one of the canals they affect the normal fluid movement that these canals use to sense head motion. This causes the inner ear to send false signals to our brain. This false information does not match with what the other ear is sensing, with what our eyes are seeing, or with what the muscles and joints of our body are doing. It is this mismatched information is perceived by the brain as a spinning sensation, or vertigo.

The Epley Manouevre

Both Chiropractors and Osteopaths can check to see if you have BPPV with a simple quick test called the Dix-Hallpike test. It involves is putting your head in a certain position whilst sitting and then briskly lying down, and looking to see if you have any nystagmus (abnormal movement of the eyes). Once this test confirms BPPV there is a simple treatment, called the Epley manouevre, which can be performed. The Epley maneuver is 90% effective at reducing symptoms within a week of being performed. (1)

My world is spinning now, what can I do?BPPV Vertigo

When you are experiencing the vertigo there are a few things you can do to help as proposed by the NHS

  • Lie still in a quiet, dark room
  • Sit down as soon as you feel dizzy
  • Try to relax as anxiety can make vertigo worse

To prevent/ reduce the number of episodes you have, you could try the following:

  • Move your head carefully and slowly during daily activities
  • Turn on the lights if you get up at night (this gives your brain visual feedback too instead of just relying on the position of your body)
  • Use a walking stick if you’re at risk of falling
  • Sleep with your head slightly raised on 2 or more pillows
  • Get out of bed slowly and sit on the edge of the bed for a while before standing up

If your head is in a spin about what you can do to stop vertigo… give us a call or book online via the link below.

1) Gaur, S., Awasthi, S.K., Bhadouriya, S.K.S., Saxena, R., Pathak, V.K. and Bisht, M., 2015. Efficacy of Epley’s maneuver in treating BPPV patients: a prospective observational study. International journal of otolaryngology, 2015.

2) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vertigo/

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