Why am I Dizzy? Why am I Dizzy? Why am I Dizzy?

Why am I Dizzy?

by Katie Semlow PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, Vestibular & Concussion Program ManagerLeave a Comment

Dizziness is among the most common reasons patients visit the emergency room, with more than 85 different conditions that can cause this symptom.1 One of most common causes for their dizziness that individuals seek emergency care for is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BBPV. About 50 percent of all dizziness in the older population is due to Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), and accounts for 20 percent of dizziness across all ages.2

Maybe someone you know or even you may have experienced BPPV symptoms not knowing what it was. Individuals with BPPV often complain of a spinning or unsteadiness when bending forward, lying down/getting up from bed, rolling over or looking up. Patients whom have been treated in the past for BPPV often refer to it as having crystals or rocks in their inner ear, which is a pretty close description of BPPV. BPPV stands for…

  • Benign – not malignant
  • Paroxysmal – recurrent, sudden intensification of symptoms
  • Positional – placement of ear
  • Vertigo – sensation of spinning/rotation

All of us have crystals, calcium carbonate crystals, in our inner ears attached to hair cells, which help us detect movement and where we are in space to keep us upright and balanced. Sometimes these crystals can break off from their hair cell and move into fluid-filled canals, where they don’t belong. So when the patient moves their head forward or backward the crystal starts moving through the fluid-filled canal, signaling to their brain that they are moving, but actually only the crystal is moving while the patient is still. This can cause symptoms of spinning or dizziness, which is not a fun ride to be on.

The cause of BPPV is usually idiopathic/unknown (50-70 percent of the time), but can also be related to head trauma (7-17 percent of the time). Luckily, the treatment for BPPV is highly effective, with a 90 percent success rate after one treatment and 96 percent success rate after two treatments.3

At Athletico Physical Therapy, we have clinicians who are vestibular specialists in the treatment of BPPV as well as other causes of dizziness. Our team can help provide symptom relief and get patients back to doing what they enjoy. Listed below are common diagnoses that our vestibular therapists can assist with:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction
  • Bilateral Peripheral Vestibulopathy
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Vestibular Neuritis
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Vestibular Migraines
  • Cervicogenic Dizziness
  • Motion Sickness

Some symptoms that vestibular therapy can help improve include:

  • Spinning sensation (vertigo) during position changes or head movements
  • Unsteadiness with position changes or head movements
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance with changes in direction, position changes or head movements
  • Light-headedness/fogginess
  • Headaches
  • Motion sensitivity

If you or someone you know would like more information on dizziness and treatment services Athletico Physical Therapy can provide, please schedule an appointment below.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

References:
1.) Burt CW, Schappert SM. Ambulatory care visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient departments, and emergency departments: United States, 1999-2000. Vital Health Stat. 2004 Sept 13;(157):1-70.
2.) Helminski J, Zee D, Janseen I, Hain T. Effectiveness of particle repositioning maneuvers in the treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: a systematic review. Phys Ther. 2010 May; 90(5): 663-678.
3.) Tang H, Li W. Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Exp Ther Med. 2017 Sept; 14(3): 2424-2430.

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