Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is by far the most common vestibular (inner ear balance) disorder and its most common symptom is dizziness when rolling over in bed. Around 1 in 10 people will be affected by BPPV over their lifetimes and it becomes progressively more common with age. It is particularly common in women over the age of 50, and can also be brought on by head injury.  It is usually present in one ear, although in 10% of cases it can affect both ears.

Common symptoms of BPPV include:

  • Dizziness when rolling over in bed
  • Dizziness when lying back in bed
  • Dizziness when getting up out of bed
  • Dizziness when looking up or bending down

[Figures taken from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and The Meniere’s Society]

BPPV is caused by loose calcium crystals within the inner ear. These crystals are normally embedded in a part of the inner ear that is sensitive to gravity. These crystals can sometimes become loose and move around in the fluid of the semi-circular canals (the part of the inner ear that is sensitive to rotation). When this happens, then certain head movements can cause movement of the crystals in the canal, giving a sensation of rotation even when the head has stopped moving.

We will take a detailed history to determine if BPPV is the likely cause of your symptoms and to exclude any other possible causes. We will then perform a manouevre called the ‘Hallpike positional test’ to check if BPPV is present.

Those suffering from BPPV are commonly prescribed medication, which may reduce the symptoms slightly, but is not an effective treatment. We provide treatments to reposition the loose crystals into the correct part of the ear. 80% of sufferers are successfully treated in one visit, although for persistent cases or cases where both ears are affected, further treatments may be required.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of BPPV, contact us today to book an appointment. We can check if BPPV is the cause of your symptoms and usually treat you on the same day.

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