What is BPPV?

BPPV is a condition of the inner ear which can cause intense episodes of vertigo, a false sensation of movement, like spinning.

BPPV is more common in people who are elderly or have suffered head trauma. About 50 per cent of all dizziness in older people is due to BPPV. People with BPPV are at a higher risk of falls.

What causes BPPV?

BPPV is caused by a problem within the inner ear. The inner ear is made up of:

Messages about rotational head movement are sent from the canals to the brain. The brain uses this information to keep your vision stable and keep your balance as your head moves.

The crystals in the vestibule can break away and then fall into one of the canals, most commonly the posterior canal. Once inside the canal, the crystals cause false information about your head movement to be sent to the brain, causing intense dizziness.

Management of BPPV

Your Vestibular Physiotherapist may do a number of tests, including one called the Dix-Hallpike to confirm that you have BPPV.

Your Vestibular Physiotherapist can then treat BPPV by moving your head through a number of different positions. This is called a canalith repositioning technique. There are many different techniques that can be used, depending on where the crystals are located. The most commonly known is the “Epley Manoeuvre”.

The aim of these treatments are to move the crystals out of the canal so that the body reabsorbs them.