There are a range of disorders that commonly interfere with the normal functioning of the Vestibular or balance system
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
One of the most common causes of vertigo (dizziness) is a condition known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). This often frightening and disabling condition is characterized by episodes of sudden and severe vertigo when the head is moved around. Common triggers include rolling over in bed, getting out of bed and lifting the head to look up. BPPV tends to come and go for no apparent reason. An affected person may have attacks of disabling vertigo for a few weeks, then a period of time with no symptoms at all.
In Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, dizziness is generally thought to be due to debris which has collected within a part of the inner ear. This debris can be thought of as "ear rocks", although the formal name is "otoconia". It is thought that an injury or degeneration in the ear may allow the 'ear rocks' to escape into the balance organ and interfere.
Factors that may allow these 'ear rocks' to migrate into the balance organ include:
- Head or ear injury
- Ear surgery or ear infection,
- Degeneration of the inner ear structures
- Vestibular neuritis (viral infection of the inner ear)
- Meniere's disease (disorder of the inner ear)
However In around half of BPPV cases, the cause can't be found (idiopathic BPPV).
Diagnosis & Treatment
Dizziness and vertigo are common to a wide range of medical conditions, so careful differential diagnosis by our experienced Physiotherapists is important and will involve several tests to diagnose BPPV. Not all physiotherapists and Doctors are trained in the assessment and treatment of BPPV and BPPV-trained physiotherapists undertake specific education to diagnose and successfully treat this condition.
Your skilled therapist will apply specific techniques to relocate the "ear rocks" to an area in the inner ear that doesn't stimulate feelings of dizziness or vertigo in order to resolve your symptoms.
The good news it can generally be corrected very quickly. The common success rate is 75% after a single treatment and 90% after a second treatment. If your symptoms sound like it is BPPV, the easiest way to diagnose and treat your symptoms is to book an appointment with your Doctor or one of our BPPV-trained Physiotherapists.
This is often caused by a virus that damages the vestibular nerve that send messages about movement and balance between the inner ear and the brain, leading to sudden, severe vertigo, nausea, vomiting and significant balance problems.
This disorder affects the semicircular canals and cochlea of the inner ear creating vertigo, imbalance and ultimately hearing loss.
This is often considered the second most common cause of Vertigo.Possibly of mixed pathophysiology with altered vascular and neural processes and generally very difficult to diagnose.
Persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD)
PPPD is categorised by non-spinning dizziness, or unsteadiness, that lasts for longer than 3 months. It is usually made worse by movement or upright positioning. Complex patterns such as shopping centre tile patterns or computer screens have also been shown to worsen symptoms.
PPPD is a central processing disorder. That means that there is nothing structurally wrong with either the brain, the vestibular system or connecting nerves. The problem lies with the system being too sensitive – that is, the vestibular system and processing of information is working too well, as if constantly on ‘high alert’.
People with this condition can show significant improvement in symptoms with vestibular rehabilitation.
Some other causes of Vertigo
These can include acoustic neuroma, toxicity( advert reaction of inner ear to medications), stoke and trauma
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is an exercise based program designed to improve balance and reduce the problems associated with vertigo and has been shown to be effective for treating many of the symptoms associated with the above disorders. Speak with our Physiotherapists more more detailed information if this would be suitable for you.
Remember that our practices have a number of excellent physiotherapists, but when you are booking for specialized treatment for Vertigo, please notify the practice when making your appointment.