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Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Have you had the unsettling sense that you, or your surroundings, are spinning when you are actually still?

This sensation is often caused by an inner ear condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).   BPPV can be triggered by specific movements or positions of your head and usually comes on suddenly.  The feeling of spinning from BPPV may be intense and disorienting, but it is usually short-lived and is not life-threatening.  BPPV is very common, and more common in older people.

What causes BPPV?

Rocklike crystals of calcium carbonate are a normal part of your inner ear associated with balance and body motion. BPPV is caused when the crystals are dislodged from their normal place in the center of the inner ear.  When you move or change head or body position, the dislodged crystals float and trigger sensors in the wrong parts of the inner ear that tell your brain that you are physically spinning.  Nausea, loss of balance, disorientation and dizziness may also occur.

Movements as simple as rolling over in bed, sitting up, looking up, bending over or reaching can cause an episode of BPPV in some people.  There is no consistent reason for occurrences, although it may be associated with other inner ear issues, trauma, migraine, and some illnesses.  If you have experienced any symptoms of vertigo, please schedule a consultation with one of our Cumberland Valley ENT specialists so that we can help.

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