One of the most common causes of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV. This form of vertigo causes mild to severe dizziness that can last for a quick minute or even longer. Home remedies for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can help reduce the duration of these dizzy spells or even prevent them from occurring.
What Triggers BPPV?
This type of vertigo is often triggered when you move your head in a certain way like when you look up or when you look down. Sometimes even when you lie down or sit down on your bed it can trigger BPPV.
BPPV is definitely the most common cause of vertigo. Benign stands for not life threatening, Paroxysmal stands for it comes out of nowhere and lasts briefly, Positional stands for it’s triggered by specific head movements, and Vertigo stands for a false sense of spinning or dizziness.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is often brought on due to calcium crystals also known as otoconia getting dislodged and moving into areas inside your inner ear where they shouldn’t be such as one or more of the semicircular canals. Once these calcium crystals in your inner ear build up in one of the fluid filled semicircular canals they disrupt the normal fluid motion that these canals utilize to sense head movement.
This disruption causes the inner ear to send signals to the brain that aren’t true, which is then perceived by the brain as a spinning or dizzy sensation (vertigo). This false sense of dizziness or spinning sensation usually lasts for just a brief minute.
If you notice that you are experiencing any other symptoms such as problems with speaking or coordination then you should talk with your doctor. BPPV will only cause dizziness brought on by a specific movement or change in position and shouldn’t cause other symptoms.
It is not uncommon for some people to get misdiagnosed with BPPV initially until other symptoms like headaches or fainting are experienced. If you are experiencing any other symptoms on top of the dizziness then another condition could be causing your symptoms and you should get reevaluated.
Who Is More Likely To Experience BPPV
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can affect anyone, but seniors are more likely to experience it. It’s very rare when a child experiences this form of vertigo, but some children have been documented with having this condition.
What Causes BPPV
The most common cause of BPPV is a head injury. Older people are much more likely to develop BPPV due to the vestibular system in the inner ear degenerating. Other typical causes of this form of vertigo can be attributed to viruses that affect the inner ear.
This form of vertigo is most commonly diagnosed by examining eye movements of a patient when their head moves into a position that causes the dislodged crystals to move in one of the inner ear canals. This abnormal eye movement that specialists look for in patients who have BPPV is known as nystagmus.
Abnormal eye movements occur in people with BPPV because the dislodged crystals make the brain believe a person is moving when they really aren’t. Once the eyes begin to move it causes the patient to feel as if the environment around them is spinning uncontrollably.
By examining the eye movements of a patient an experienced physical therapist or ENT will be able to determine which ear the displaced crystals are inside.
Some experienced doctors will also diagnose a person with BPPV by using tests such as the Dix-Hallpike test, which involves moving the head into certain positions to help the crystals that have been dislodged trigger the vertigo so they can observe if there is any nystagmus present. Diagnosis for BPPV can also be done with the use of Frenzel googles.
Types of BPPV
There are two different types of BPPV and one of them is known as the canalithiasis where the dislodged crystals in the inner ear move within the canal (doesn’t last that long), and the other is known as cupulolithiasis where the crystals inside the inner ear get stuck on the bundle of sensory nerves and causes vertigo symptoms to last much longer in comparison.
Home Remedies for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Once you know what type of BPPV you’re dealing with (canalithiaisis or cupulolithiasis) you can begin determining what treatment or home remedy will work the best for you. One of the most best home remedies for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo involves a maneuver where the crystals are transported back to the area in your ear canal where they’re supposed to be.
When it comes to canalith the maneuver is known as the canalith repositioning maneuver. Meanwhile cupulolithiasis is known as the liberatory maneuver where rapid head motion is utilized to dislodge and transport the hung up crystals.
A very popular maneuver to treat BPPV naturally at home is the epley maneuver-also called the Semont maneuvers. This maneuver is repeated nightly before the patient goes to bed.
Another one of the most commonly used home remedies for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo are the Brandt-Daroff Exercises. These exercises were designed to be performed at home and are usually recommended when the the side of BPPV is not known.
Since there are various forms of BPPV you have to becareful trying to perform one of these maneuvers on your own. Once again a lot of people are misdiagnosed with BPPV but receive treatment for it.
This is why it’s vital you talk to your doctor first before diagnosing and using home remedies for vertigo. Always have the Epley or any other maneuver performed first by an experienced doctor so that complications like vomiting or compression of the vertebral arteries can be avoided.