Vertigo is a potentially debilitating inner ear problem that often causes feelings of giddiness and sudden bouts of dizziness. The most common form, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), is triggered by certain movements or holding your head at certain angles, and typically causes episodes that last less than a minute. Fortunately, vertigo can often be diagnosed and treated without medication or surgery.
Vertigo isn’t detectable with MRIs or other imaging tests, but physicians can diagnose the condition by triggering specific symptoms. The Dix-Hallpike Test is the most common method, in which the doctor helps you lie backward quickly with your head hanging over the edge of the exam table. They’ll then move your head at a 45-degree angle, watching for the sudden eye movements that typically occur during a vertigo episode. If they notice a certain pattern, called nystagmus, they’ll likely diagnose you with vertigo.
While medications for vertigo are available, they typically aren’t as effective as using a series of movements to shift crystals inside your inner ear back to where they belong. Your doctor will perform different head movements based on the type of vertigo you have.
To treat BPPV, doctors typically use the Epley maneuver, which usually shows results after a couple of treatments. While this treatment is perfectly safe, for the best results, it should be performed by an experienced doctor or physical therapist who can modify the movements to target the part of the inner ear causing your vertigo.
If you’ve been dealing with spells of dizziness, our team at Physical Therapy of Andalusia is committed to helping you live a life without pain or discomfort. We have nearly 40 years of experience in the therapy field, along with the training and expertise to treat a wide range of ailments. Follow us on Facebook for more health tips and advice. Call (334) 222-5785 or visit us online to make your first appointment.