Vertigo- One of its causes has a simple cure

Do you suffer from dizziness or vertigo. Do you feel dizzy when you move your head quickly, or does the room seem to spin whenever you lie down, roll over or get out of bed? If you experience these symptoms, you might be among a small percentage of people who have a condition called… Positional Vertigo, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a type of dizziness, or vertigo, caused by tiny particles that are trapped in the “balance tubes” of the inner ear (semicircular canal). The particles that cause the problem are called canaliths. These particles may break loose as a result of trauma, prolonged inactivity or ear disease. When the head is moved, canalith movement in the inner ear fluid causes nystagmus, which is an involuntary eye movement.

Dr. John Epley
A brilliant physician, Dr. John Epley, founder and medical director of the Portland Otologic Clinic, studied this phenomenon and pioneered a revolutionary non-invasive, non-drug treatment to correct the problem. Known as the “Epley Maneuver” (Canalith Repositioning Maneuver), the treatment is both simple and effective.

Dr. Epley theorized that when loose particles are allowed to move in the semicircular canals of the inner ear they induce nystagmus, which is an involuntary eye movement pattern that makes it seem like the room is spinning.

He developed a procedure whereby the patient’s head is systematically moved into various positions. By performing the proper movement sequence he found that he could literally lead these tiny particles out of the inner ear canals, thus eliminating dizziness and vertigo symptoms.

This simple procedure is known as  “canalith repositioning” or, more commonly, The Epley Maneuver. It’s quick, effective and usually takes but one or two treatments to bring about dramatic symptom relief.

Who can perform the Epley Maneuver?
Dr. Epley, of course, performs the procedure in his Portland clinic, but physical therapists around the world are learning how to perform the maneuver, as well.

Call physical therapists in your area. Ask them if they can perform the Epley Maneuver.

Any condition that can make you dizzy, decrease your balance or compromise your gait stability can lead to serious injury. We encourage you to seek professional help to find the cause of your vertigo as quickly as possible. Your physician can discuss the many causes of dizziness and vertigo with you.

(Another potential cause of loss of balance is related to your pelvis. See my article on Upslips.)

Author: Tom LeBlanc, PT Certified Preceptor Tom LeBlanc, PT has enjoyed helping, encouraging and empowering individuals to Optimal Health and Function for over 40 years. As a physical therapist he has worked in Acute Hospitals, Rehab Centers, Outpatient Clinics, Geriatrics, in his Private Practice, and in the Home Health Environment where he is currently working at Encompass Home Health and Hospice. One of his passions is helping people to understand the importance of Good Hydration as a means to Optimal Health.

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