What is Benign Positional Vertigo (BPV)?
BPV is a senstation of your head spinning (vertigo) brought on by a position of the head or usually sudden changes of head position. Another name you may have heard it called is paroxysmal positional vertigo.
The reason it is called “ benign” is because it is not a serious condition and it is very likely to get better. It is a surprising how common this condition is and how very common it is in the elderly. Women are twice as prone to get BPV.
What is the cause of BPV?
For most people the cause is unknown but it can follow a viral condition or after accidents causing neck or head injuries.
There are two theories:
ONE- there are tiny bits of floating debris like little crystals in the fluid of the inner ear (Labyrinth)
TWO - is it a kink in the swivel joints of the neck?
What are the symptoms of BPV?
- An acute attack of severe dizziness (known as vertigo) - this can last for 10-30 seconds (maximum 1-5 minutes) triggered by a head movement. Some of the positions that are common triggers are:
- Tilting the head backwards
- Changing from a lying to a siting position
- Lying on one side
- Turning the head to the side
- Rolling over in bed.
Bouts of these attacks may be a once off but for others they can return after months or years. There does not seem to be any long term effects from these attacks.
What are the treatments for BPV?
Here at the clinic we try and look at the causes and the aggravating factors for the individual at the time of the BPV bout. For some people if there is a viral influence then treating this helps the episode. There can be jaw involvement too. For some clients it is recommended to have NST or an EPLEY Manueve. Or the exercises as described below.
Exercises for BPV.
These are called the Brandt and Daroff Exercises.
- Perform three times a day if possible
- Take 10 minutes each time
- Try to do 5 or more times on each side
- These exercises seem only to be beneficial if during the exercises the dizziness is reproduced.
- Sit on the edge of the bed : turn you head slightly to the left side ( about 45 degrees). Then quickly lie down on the right hand side (ensure the back of the head is on the bed). Wait for 20-30 seconds to see if the dizziness settles.
- Sit up straight. Wait 20-30 seconds for any dizziness to settle.
- Repeat on the other side. Turn head slightly to the right then quickly lie on the left side.