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Vertigo (BPPV)

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Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is an inner-ear problem that causes short periods of dizziness when your head is moved in certain positions. It occurs most commonly when lying down, turning over in bed, or looking up. This dizzy sensation is called vertigo.

A layer of calcium carbonate material is present naturally in one part of your inner ear. BPPV occurs when pieces of this material break off and move to another part of the inner ear, the semicircular canals. These tiny calcium crystals are sometimes called “ear rocks.”

When you move your head a certain way, the crystals move inside the canal and stimulate the nerve endings, causing you to become dizzy. The crystals may become loose due to trauma to the head, infection, conditions such as Meniere disease, or aging, but in some cases there is no obvious cause.

Based on your physical therapist’s evaluation and your goals for recovery, the therapist will customize a treatment plan for you. The specific treatments will depend on the cause of your vertigo. Your therapist’s main focus is to help you get moving again and manage the vertigo at the same time. Treatment may include specialized head and neck movements or other exercises to help eliminate your symptoms.

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