While modern medicine has its place, there are numerous issues it often times fails to adequately address. One of these being, vertigo. Those suffering with vertigo often deal with a debilitating and horrific experience, that doctors tend to dismiss because the patients don’t tend to outwardly manifest any strong symptoms. Because vertigo often subsides on its own often times doctors will simply proscribe anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea medications, masking symptoms and advising the patient to wait out the storm.
While this sounds acceptable in theory, the patient silently suffers on a constant tilt-a-whirl ride, frightened whether they are experiencing a stroke, brain tumor, or something severe and chronic in nature. If they go back seeking medical counsel they will usually be ordered to do one or several of the following: see an ENT specialist, undergo an MRI, take a hearing test, wear a set of googles to track eye movement. Yet many times the tests don’t make any revelations. Problems in the Eustachian tube, upper spine, sinuses, and ear wax are theorized. Still, the patient finds no relief. With nowhere to turn, alternative healing comes next.
Surprisingly, many unconventional healers are aware of a condition that doctors tend to dismiss or be unfamiliar with… Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). It is thought that upto 70% of undiagnosed cases of vertigo are caused by BPPV. The sudden spinning sensations, unsteadiness, swaying, lightheadedness, and balance issues are caused by free floating rock-like calcifications, called otoconia, displaced in your vestibular canal. Symptoms are usually exacerbated by things like walking in a mall/grocery store, riding in an elevator, during days of low pressure, turning the head up or down suddenly, or staring at vertical or horizontal patterns. Ironically, driving is one of the activities that provides relief, but should be done with caution, if even at all. There are two main types of BPPV, canalathiasis or cupulothiasis, depending on where the otoconia get displaced. Depending on the length of the vertigo spells and eye nystagmus the location of the otoconia can usually be identified.
Luckily this condition is not serious and can be easily treated, even at home, with simple exercises called Epley Manuevers. It is suggested that you first go to an expert, usually physical therapist or chiropractor, who has been formally trained to perform these precise exercises, which consist of lying down and turning your head certain angles.
The goal of these exercises is to maneuver the otoconia back into a position through the canal with gravity, so that they may be absorbed by the utricle, where they will no longer cause irritation. Anywhere from 90% to 95% of cases are resolved with these maneuvers. For those who do not undergo the maneuvers, BPPV will usually subside on its own within a few weeks or months. However, anyone experiencing the constant discomfort of BPPV will tell you that relief cannot come soon enough. Those who have dealt with BPPV once are likely to have a reoccurrence again in their lifetime and these exercises can be a miracle. Once the crystals are moved back into a healthy position, the patient will then be given a set of eye movement exercises to help strengthen their vestibular system (pictured above) and retrain their balance.
If you are currently experiencing vertigo and are struggling to find the root of the problem, find someone in your local area professionally trained in performing Epley Maneuvers. They will be able to identify if BPPV is to blame, and if so, on which side of your head the problem is located, based on how you feel while changing positions during the exercises, combined with tracking your eye movements. Even though this condition can be so severe and frustrating, it is often remedied within a matter of minutes and you will usually be completely back to normal within a matter of days.