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Benign Paraxysmal Positional Vertigo - Also known as BPPV

BPPV

This is an inner ear condition where you have short lived, severe bouts of room spinning vertigo. The condition is benign which means it is not serious and it won’t progress onto anything worse. The term paroxysmal means that it is sudden when it happens and also it is unpredictable, the term positional means that it is associated to the position of where your head is which affects it. It is an unpleasant and incapacitating problem for the sufferer.

Treatment

Fortunately symptoms often subside or disappear within six months of onset, but due to the nature of condition, six months is an awfully long time to wait. Therefore there are a variety of manoeuvres which can be undertaken under medical supervision. A couple which are mentioned here;

  • The Epley Manoeuvre – This must be done by a Doctor familiar with the treatment. The manoeuvre involves moving the body and head in a series of sequential movements which are held for 30seconds at each turn to relocate the “ear crystals”-otoconia into a position where they are no longer giving your brain the false signals of movement.  – The manoeuvre can make you feel very dizzy and you will need someone with you to drive you home. The cure rate of this manoeuvre is approx 80% as once the ear crystals are relocated the symptoms are resolved.

  • The Brandt-Daroff Exercises – If you are one of the 20% for whom the Eply manoeuvre does not work there are exercises which can be done at home once you have been shown how to do them. - they succeed in approx 95% of cases although are more arduous to undertake as you have to do three sets of four movements, three times a day and each set of four movements is one repetition- you have to do five repetition’s each time. –and you have to do it for two weeks.

You must always be seen and diagnosed by a doctor prior to undertaking any of these exercises

 After your treatment

When you have had the Epley manoeuvre treatment there are things you  can do to help the “ear crystals “ stay  where they have been repositioned.

  • Don’t drive yourself home
  • Sleep semi-recumbent for the next two nights prop yourself up in bed so you are in relaxed sitting position with your head well supported
  • During the day try to keep your head vertical
  • Don’t bend down to  pick anything up
  • Do not tilt your head up either.
  • Don’t do any strenuous exercises which involve head movements for the next week

After one week you can put yourself in the position which makes you dizzy to see if the manoeuvre has been effective. Make sure you are somewhere where you can’t fall or hurt yourself 

Surgical Treatment for BPPV – This is only undertaken in severe cases where exercises and manoeuvres have failed –it is rarely undertaken.

Please Note: The information provided here should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A medical practitioner should always be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions.

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