Vertigo is a specific kind of dizziness. It is described as a spinning sensation, it can either present itself with a sensation that you are spinning or that the room is spinning around you. It is a symptom of disturbance in the vestibular system. It can be accompanied with other symptoms such as nausea and light headedness.
The most common cause of vertigo is BPPV- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. It is a condition characterised by some episodes of sudden and severe spinning (vertigo) when you move your head in certain directions. The common triggers of the symptoms include bending forward, changing position in bed (rolling over), getting up from lying down or sitting.
There is no known cause for these symptoms, it can occur for a few days or linger a few weeks. It can disappear for a period of time and then start again with no specific incident or explanation. It can also appear post trauma to the head.
BPPV is causes by particles (crystals) within the balance system in our inner ear. Usually it only affect one ear, but can occasionally be both sides. Although BPPV is the most common cause of dizziness (vertigo) other conditions can cause this as well: Meniere’s disease, neck joint dysfunction, vestibular migraine and acoustic neuroma.
In physiotherapy we can retrain the vestibular system with eye-vestibular exercises. We can also treat BPPV with great success. After assessing and confirming BPPV diagnosis, the treatments consist of specific techniques of movement of the body and head in specific positions to help relocate the crystals in the inner ear where you no longer get the dizziness and vertigo. Most patient recover in 1-3 sessions.