Vertigo: Physiotherapy Treatment for BPPV

25 Aug Vertigo: Physiotherapy Treatment for BPPV

Did you know Physiotherapists can successfully treat BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)?

BPPV is a condition arising from a problem in the inner ear, and is the most common cause of vertigo.

Symptoms include brief but repeated periods of vertigo, which are provoked by moving the head to and from certain positions – such as turning in bed, rising from laying or sitting down, looking up or bending down.  People suffering with BPPV may also experience feelings of a ‘spinning world’, unbalance, nausea and light headiness.

It is thought that BPPV is caused by one or more tiny solid crystallised fragments that have become lose and move into one of 3 canals within the inner ear.  In the canal the fragment can either be free to float or becomes stuck; either way it is thought that here it has the potential to bombard messages down the vestibular nerve.  These confusing messages conflict with normal messages from the other unaffected ear and from the eye and body.  The brain thus becomes very confused and reacts with vertigo.

A Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment when considering whether a set of symptoms are related to BPPV. This will include gaining an understanding of how the symptoms manifest, how long they last, how often they occur and what factors aggravate or ease the feeling of vertigo.

Treatment then involves a series of moves to the head to correctly reposition the debris. A successful treatment results in patients reporting a 70% improvement in their symptoms. After 2 sessions the reported improvement increases to 90%. The re-occurrence rate is known to be less than 15%. Patient education is vital after active treatment and a series of head moves can be shown to the patient to continue with managing their symptoms for the future.

Most cases of BPPV occur in people over the age of 40.  It is one of the most common causes of vertigo in older people.  Younger people can develop BPPV following an injury to the ear, or following a previous infection in the inner ear.

Whilst on maternity leave, Halo’s Rachael Adams trained at University College London Hospital under the guidance of Amanda Male, a highly specialised Physiotherapist in Vestibular Rehabilitation. Rachael is now qualified to assess and treat patients who present with symptoms and conditions relating to BPPV.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms that are relating to BPPV, please contact Halo and ask to book an appointment to see Rachael!

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