Vertigo, sometimes to referred to as BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, is a very common cause of dizziness complaints.
Did you know that vertigo is the main culprit of dizziness in two out of ten cases and can be diagnosed by your hearing specialist using an audiogram? Vertigo does not discriminate based on age or whether you’re a male or female.
The most common complaints of vertigo symptoms that we hear are nausea and a spinning room that can last for only an instant or even up to a couple of minutes.
How Is Vertigo Triggered?
From research and dialogue with our patients, we’ve learned that vertigo can be triggered by specific head movements, i.e., sudden or continued turning in one direction. One of our patients tells us that he must be face-to-face to talk to people. If he has to turn his head even 45 degrees, it can trigger a spinning sensation and nausea. He can be sidelined for days. Other vertigo triggers are turning in bed, tilting the head upward toward the stars or the shower head, leaning the head backward in a reclining position, or even bending down to remove shoes.
Causes of Vertigo
Small crystals line the inner ear and they are responsible for our balance. There are times, however, when these crystals become dislodged and subsequently become trapped. As we move our head in different directions, the dislodged crystals move as well thus “throwing us off-balance” or causing a room-spinning sensation. When we stop moving our head, the crystals also stop moving and we tend to see the vertigo subside.
How We Diagnose and Treat Vertigo
To diagnose vertigo, or BPPV, make sure to be evaluated by an ENT doctor who will perform a physical examination and hearing test. If the exam indicates that the patient does have vertigo then additional testing is needed to be performed by a vestibular rehab therapist, i.e., Dix-Hallpike. The Dix-Hallpike test involves placing the patient in a sitting-up position and prostrate position with the intent being to stimulate dizziness. If vertigo is triggered, the Epley Maneuver is performed which places the crystals back in their original position.