My Doctor Told Me I have BPPV!

A woman with a headache against a dark background

If you are experiencing either acute or chronic dizziness, you may have gone to the doctor and were given the diagnosis of vertigo or BPPV.  Vertigo is a general term for dizziness and BPPV is a specific type of vertigo.

BPPV stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.  Phew!  That is a lot to say! Did you know this condition is related to your ear?  The ear is responsible for both hearing and your balance. This condition develops from changes in your inner ear and the signals that are then sent to the brain.  Within the inner ear you will find organs which are part of your vestibular (balance) system.

The vestibular organs found in the inner ear will sense head position and movement.  The vestibular organs have tiny hair that will sense change in position when your head moves and thus send a signal to your brain.

The vestibular organ also contains three semicircular canals that are filled with fluid.  These canals provide information to your brain about when you head moves.

BPPV occurs when you produce tiny crystals of calcium carbonate in the fluid.  The crystals may move from the tiny hairs into one or more of the semicircular canals.  When this happens the inner ear sends a signal to your brain that your head and body are in motion, when actually you may not be.  A spinning sensation could be experienced, even when lying down.

Reasons that BPPV occurs are multiple.  This could include but no limited to concussion/head injury, virus, age greater than 50 due to thickening fluid in the organs or being inactive for an extended period of time.

Some physical therapists have specific training in techniques aimed to improve your vertigo (dizzy/spins) and teach you home exercises/management.  Milford Regional Medical Center has therapists trained both inpatient and outpatient.  The Rehab and Sports Medicine Outpatient clinics are located in Northbridge, Milford and Franklin.

Don’t suffer with your dizziness!  Have your MD refer you to one of our three clinics today!

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This blog was written by Theresa M. Ryan, supervisor of physical therapy at Milford Regional Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine in Northbridge. For more information, or to book an appointment at the Northbridge clinic, call (508) 234-8792.  If you would prefer to contact a therapist at our Milford location, call (508) 422-2388 or at our Franklin location, call (508) 528-2748.

 

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