Dizziness: is it BPPV?

BPPV stands for “Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo”. It can affect anyone but is more common in people, who are elderly or have suffered head trauma.

What causes BPPV?

There are 3 semicircular canals located in each inner ear which are filled with fluid. These canals detect the movements of your head and sends signal to the brain, whichBPPV2 makes compensatory eye movements so that your vision remains stable when your head moves. These canals also play an important role in maintaining your body balance.

In part of this system there are little calcium carbonate crystals, which are stuck in a thick jelly-like substance. These crystals can detach from the jelly substance through a blow to the head, or just spontaneously and fall into any of the canals. Whilst in the canals the crystals change the way the fluid moves in the canals and therefore give false information to your brain about the movement of your head. This can cause the following symptoms:

Dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, headache, nausea and sickness.

These symptoms are provoked by changing positions/ postures, like rolling over in bed, lying down, standing up, bending over or looking up.



Your Physiotherapist can diagnose this condition with a simple test performed in the clinic called “Dix-Hallpike” which involves moving you from a sitting position to lying down with your head over the edge of the bed.



Your Physiotherapist can treat this condition by moving your head through a series of different positions. The aim of this treatment is to move the crystals out of the canal where they will be reabsorbed by your body. The treatment is very effective and symptoms usually get resolved in one session.


Following the treatment, your Physiotherapist will give you some directions to follow and a home exercise program. Here is one exercise that can help you.


  • Start sitting over the edge of the bed
  • Turn your head 45° to the left
  • Quickly lie onto your right side
  • Stay in this position until the dizziness stops plus 30 seconds
  • If you have no dizziness, remain for 30 seconds
  • Sit up, again wait for dizziness to stop plus 30 seconds
  • Repeat same to the opposite side
  • Repeat 4-5 times 2-3 times a day


Rajneet Kaur


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