Are there really rocks in my head?
By Vanessa Simpson, Vestibular Physiotherapist
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo. Vertigo refers to spinning sensation or an abnormal sensation of movement. Some people will be severely affected by vertigo and for others symptoms will be mild. BPPV is not a condition you need to live with. It can be treated very successfully with specific assessment and treatment by our trained vestibular physiotherapist.
People with BPPV will typically experience a brief sense of vertigo lasting 10-30 seconds associated with changes in head position such as when lying down or rolling over in bed or bending over. The vertigo may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, imbalance and light headedness.
BPPV is an inner ear problem. Small crystals of calcium carbonate (or rocks!) fall into a part of the inner ear they are not supposed to be. This then causes an over stimulation of the vestibular nerve when the head is moved. The brain therefore gets a much stronger signal from the affected ear, telling it you are moving much more than you actually are. This altered signal does not match what other sensory systems of the body are telling the brain and the brain gets confused by this. As a result, you experience a sense of vertigo.
BPPV can be caused by head trauma or viral infections but in the majority of cases the displacement of the calcium carbonate particles is largely unknown.
BPPV can be successfully treated using procedures called particle repositioning manoeuvres. Our vestibular physiotherapist is able to identify which part of the inner is affected and use a manoeuvre specific to the type of BPPV you have.
Our vestibular physiotherapist will be able to assist you if you think you suffer from BPPV.