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What is BPPV?


BPPV: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo Benign: This condition is not life threatening.

  • BPPV is a mechanical problem in the inner ear in which calcium carbonate crystals become dislodged and float around in the wrong location.

  • These crystals are supposed to imbedded in a gelatinous structure known as the ‘utricle’. This structure is responsible for detecting linear motion- moving forward or backward. Such as walking or riding in a car.

  • When these crystals become dislodged from the utricle, they will move to one of three semicircular canals. These canals detect angular motion such as looking up and down or rolling side to side in bed.

  • As you move, the crystals move through the canal and create the symptoms of vertigo.

Paroxysmal: The condition comes in sudden spells.

  • This condition can occur spontaneously- for no real reason at all.

  • Some correlations include: head trauma, migraine, inner ear infection or disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and reduced blood flow.

Positional: Certain head motions or positions trigger symptoms of vertigo.

  • These symptoms usually last less than one minute.

  • Some patients may feel a sense of disequilibrium or imbalance between these episodes of vertigo.

  • Symptoms of constant dizziness or vertigo are usually related to other vestibular disorders or central nervous system disorders.

Vertigo: A false sense of motion- usually rotation.

  • Other symptoms can include imbalance, nausea, vomiting, and brain fog.

How is BPPV Treated? ‘Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers’ treat BPPV. These maneuvers involve guided motion of your head and body by your physical therapist to move the crystals through the semi-circular canal and back into the utricle. There are different maneuvers to treat each of your three semi-circular canals, depending on where the crystals are located. Most importantly, in order to fully resolve BPPV, these maneuvers may need to be done multiple times over more than one session. Common symptoms during and after these maneuvers include: vertigo, nausea, imbalance and brain fog. What Should I Do if I think I have BPPV? 1. See your doctor


  • Your doctor can usually prescribe medications to reduce the symptoms of vertigo and nausea, but these medications will not resolve the BPPV.

  • Some doctors may be able to test you for BPPV and refer you to the right location.

2. See a Physical Therapist at Restore PT & Wellness/ FYZICAL Ashburn

  • Our physical therapist Rachel Gorman DPT will be able to identify if you have BPPV and treat you in the office the same day!


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