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What is BPPV, what can a Physiotherapist do for me?

What is BPPV, What Can a Physiotherapist do for me?

BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal positional vertigo is the common cause of vertigo is older adults and is the most common reason for dizziness in this population. BPPV usually manifests as a sudden onset of vertigo and unsteadiness and can also lead to falls and other injuries in the elderly. The picture below illustrates the function of the semicircular canals.


What causes BPPV:

BPPV is caused by free floating calcium crystals in the semicircular canal. This causes firing of the nerves even though no movement has occurred, causing an intense vertigo or dizziness. This usually lasts about 30 seconds to a minute.


  • Dizziness.
  • A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A loss of balance or unsteadiness.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

Intense dizziness or vertigo that is caused by:

  • Lying down to sleep.
  • Turning in bed.
  • Sitting up from a lying position
  • Leaning forward.
  • With sudden head movements.

Assessment of BPPV:

Usually vestibular therapist can assess, which canal is involved. The therapist would usually look for abnormal eye movement, which is usually referred to as nystagmus. Nystagmus is produced when testing the involved canal by placing the patients in different positions. The main test that is commonly used is called the dix hallpike’s test.

Treatment of BPPV:

Patient is treated with different maneuvers called canalith repositioning maneuvers like Epley’s, Semont Liberatory maneuver and Gans repositioning maneuver. These maneuvers are highly effective in abolishing symptoms in a patient with BPPV.

Revive difference:

ICS impulse system is the gold standard technology for assessing BPPV. Once the involved canal is identified the CRM is performed with 100% accuracy. Biodex biosway: This system can assess if the patient’s balance system is involved by performing standardized testing. BPPV can be a frustrating problem for patients. With use of technology, our vestibular physiotherapist can treat BPPV with a high degree of success. Call our Edmonton physiotherapy expert today.


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