Robert R. Cawley, D.O.
Dover, NH 03802
By Jessica Bergeron, PT, CLT, and Lindsay Carrier, PT, DPT, CLT, CSRS, Wentworth-Douglass Rehabilitation Services
It happens suddenly. You roll in bed or get up quickly and your bedroom begins to spin. It only lasts a minute or so but it unravels your day and you feel nervous to move. This may be the sudden onset of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.
If this has happened to you, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital's personalized vestibular rehabilitation services can help get you back on your feet.
Vertigo is a common problem of the vestibular system – or inner ear - which causes dizziness. The problem starts when small particles, known as calcium carbonate crystals (yes crystals!), begin to move freely in your inner ear canals. Usually these crystals are stuck in place and are not able to move when you move.
When the dizziness or vertigo occurs it may cause nausea, vomiting, and/or a sense of falling. Vertigo may be caused by head trauma, (including concussion), infection, advanced age or it may just happen on its own.
These freely floating crystals are non-life threating and can be treated by a physical therapist, who guides the patient through movement-based treatments to re-locate the crystals and stop the dizziness. The most common maneuver is the Epley maneuver.
The sooner the Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is treated the better. Research shows that 90 percent of patients have no symptoms of vertigo within one to three physical therapy treatment sessions. Some patients may also need additional balance and inner ear strengthening after the maneuvers. BPPV may re-occur 30-50 percent of the time, however treatment is just as effective in these cases.
Sudden dizziness may also be a symptom of other issues, including a neurological problem, contact your doctor right away when your world begins to spin.
At Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, our physical therapy team includes specialists in vestibular rehabilitation to care for people who have vertigo, dizziness or balance problems. If you have questions about physical therapy for vertigo, or any questions regarding our Rehabilitation Services, please call (603) 740-2101.
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