Vestibular balance, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), is when you begin to experience dizziness by merely turning your head. You may also become lightheaded and nauseous. Fortunately, this condition is short-term and easily treatable. Use this guide to learn more about vestibular balance.
Vestibular balance is an inner ear disorder. The inner ear helps your body balance by taking in sensory input and transferring it to your brain to process. If there is a disruption with this transfer, your perception can become unstable, and it will appear as if the room is spinning, which is vertigo.
The inner ear system is a web of tubes, passageways, and sacs. One sac-like organ, the utricle, senses forward, backward, and side-to-side head motions. It also contains calcium carbonate crystals known as otoconia. Otoconia are supposed to naturally dissolve in the utricle, but they sometimes become dislodged and end up in other areas of the inner ear system. When the otoconia are not in the utricle, they will not dissolve as quickly, and will instead roll around in the inner ear system, preventing it from helping with your balance.
These dislodgments can be random, but there can also be triggers. Migraines, head injuries, changes in air pressure, and ear infections can all lead to vestibular balance. In addition, the inner ear system changes slightly as you age, so this condition is very common for elderly people. In these cases, it’s important to get treatment as dizziness in older people can lead to dangerous falls.
Within six weeks, the otoconia can dissolve, and the vertigo should diminish. However, you can consult with a doctor or physical therapist about a particle repositioning procedure. Through a series of head and body movements, you can shift the otoconia back into the utricle where they belong.
It only takes about fifteen minutes to perform. Your doctor may give you instructions on how to perform this procedure on your own just in case there is a reoccurrence. To treat nausea, an over-the-counter medication for motion sickness can help.
If you’re struggling with vertigo, contact the team at Physical Therapy of Andalusia in Andalusia, AL. We have over 39 years of experience in the physical therapy industry. Whether you need help with pain management or mobility, we’re determined to improve your quality of life. For more information on our services, visit us online or call (334) 222-5785.