What is benign paroxysmal postural vertigo?

Benign paroxysmal postural vertigo is a problem of the inner ear. Consists in the appearance of sudden episodes of vertigo and of short duration.

This vertigo is caused by changes in position and is often accompanied by nystagmus. As usual, Postural vertigo reproduces when you adopt the position that triggered it.

This condition is one of the most frequent causes of vertigo. There is a feeling that everything is spinning outside or inside the head. Benign paroxysmal posture vertigo it is the main cause of vertigo in the primary care consultation.

Postural vertigo represents up to 25% of patients who consult for vertigo. It usually occurs in people older than 40-50 years and up to 50% of cases are not due to a known cause.

Although it can be an annoying problem, very rarely is it serious, except when it increases the possibility of falling.

Symptoms of postural vertigo

Postural vertigo is characterized by short episodes of dizziness. These dizziness can be mild to intense and they are often triggered by specific changes in the position of the head.

Dizziness can occur when you tilt your head up or down, when you lie down or turn around in bed. You can feel that the room is spinning or that the environment is moving. This gives rise to the sensation that is called vertigo.

Other symptoms that may occur When there is benign paroxysmal postural vertigo, they are:

  • Nausea and dizziness: Both sensations usually disappear after a few seconds.
  • Nystagmus: they are involuntary movements of the eyes, from one side to the other.
  • Inability to control eye movements.

In the case of suffering dizziness associated with vertigo, keep in mind that you can lose your balance and suffer a fall. For this reason, you should sit down as soon as you feel dizzy.

In those over 65, it can go unnoticed and manifest only with instability in the changes of position. In the diagnosis of these patients it is essential to carry out tests of provocation of symptoms.

Read also: How to combat vestibular neuritis with natural products

What causes benign paroxysmal postural vertigo?

The inner ear contains tiny calcium particles that allow balance to be maintained. When we move our heads, these particles stimulate the nerve cells. At the same time, The nerve cells send a signal to the brain indicating which direction the head is moving.

When the calcium particles are distributed abnormally through the ear canals, nerve cells tell the brain that the head has moved more of what he really has done. This wrong signal that reaches the brain is vertigo.

This disorder It can also be associated with aging or occur as a result of a blow to the head.

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Benign paroxysmal posture vertigo may disappear on its own within a few weeks or a few months. However, as a help to relieve your symptoms more quickly you can practice the repositioning maneuver.

What is canalicular repositioning?

This procedure consists of performing several simple and slow maneuvers to position the head. The objective is to move the particles of the inner ear channels towards the area of ​​the vestibule where these particles do not cause problems and are reabsorbed more easily.

Each position is maintained for 30 seconds after any symptoms or abnormal movement of the eyes disappears. The canalicular repositioning procedure It is usually effective after one or two treatments.

Surgical alternative

In very few situations the canalicular repositioning maneuver is not effective and The doctor may recommend a surgical procedure.

In the intervention a bone plug is used in order to block the part of the inner ear that causes dizziness. In this way, the plug prevents the semicircular canal of the ear from responding to the movements of the particles or to the movements of the head in general.

The success rate of the canal block surgery is approximately 90%. However, benign paroxysmal postural vertigo can recur, even after successful treatment.

Although there is no cure for this condition, it can be controlled with the help of specialists such as the physiotherapist, who can help us fight this disorder.