What To Know

Vestibular Rehabilitation for BPPV, Vertigo, Dizziness in Vancouver

Dizziness and balance problems affect approximately 50% of all adults at some time. They account for up to 10% of all physician visits.

Dizziness is the number 1 reason for physician visits by people over the age of 65. Greater than 20% of people older than 60 years have current dizziness. It is associated with falls, fear of falling and loss of independence.

One of the difficulties in managing dizziness is that the term is often used interchangeably to describe a variety of sensations: vertigo, light-headedness, spinning, unsteadiness, nausea, “a bit off’, “something’s not quite right”, dizziness itself.

Vestibular Rehabilitation is:

  • The assessment of what type of problem the “dizziness” is
  • The determination of its causes
  • The treatment, if applicable, of the issues.

The 2 most common causes of Dizziness that respond well to physio are:

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – dizziness caused by Vestibular System, a series of motion sensors in our inner ears that let us orientate ourselves with respect to up and down and movement. The dizziness associated with it, is vertigo, the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning
  2. Cervico-genic Dizziness – dizziness caused by neck issues. This is often associated with neck trauma and dysfunction. The dizziness associated with it, is usually not vertigo…no spinning sensation. Treatment of cervico-genic dizziness is aimed at the neck and involves manual therapy, exercise and postural correction

What is BPPV?

  • Benign means that it is due neither to a cancerous nor a serious cause. (The symptoms of BPPV may be unpleasant but the underlying cause is not serious)
  • Paroxysmal means recurring sudden episodes of symptoms
  • Positional means that the symptoms are triggered by certain head positions
  • Vertigo is dizziness with a spinning sensation. If you have vertigo you feel as if the world is spinning around you, and you feel very unsteady. You may feel sick (nauseated), and may be sick (vomit)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) causes short episodes of mild to intense dizziness (vertigo) when you move your head in certain directions. Symptoms are triggered by specific changes in the position of your head, such as tipping your head up or down, and by lying down, turning over or sitting up in bed. You may also feel out of balance when standing or walking.

Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can be a bothersome problem, it’s rarely serious except when it increases the chance of falls. You can receive effective treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo during a physio treatment.

A simple treatment of moving the head into various positions over a few minutes can cure the condition in many cases. This treatment uses gravity to move tiny fragments away from where it is causing problems. The technique is done in the clinic by the physiotherapist and follow-up home exercises are prescribed. Note: following BPPV treatment in the clinic, the patient requires a friend or family member to drive them home.

If you have questions or concerns about this in terms of your own health, please ask your physiotherapist at your next visit to Dunbar Physio.

Our treating Vestibular Therapists are: Anand Shetty, Haiyun “Winnie” Liang

Some further reading on BPPV…

(1) Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – Patient.Info

(2) Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – Mayo Clinic

(3) Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – Timothy C. Hain MD

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