What Is Benign Positional Vertigo?

Benign positional vertigo is one of the most common causes of dizziness. It makes the person feel like everything is spinning inside or outside their head.
What is benign positional vertigo?

Benign positional vertigo is a problem in the inner ear. It consists of the occurrence of sudden and short-lived episodes of dizziness. In that sense, this dizziness is caused by changing position and is often accompanied by nystagmus. In general, benign positional vertigo occurs when one occupies a position that triggers it.

It is also one of the most common causes of dizziness. It makes the person feel like everything is spinning inside or outside their head. Benign positional vertigo is the leading cause of dizziness at medical consultations.

In addition, it  represents up to 25% of patients who experience dizziness. It usually occurs in people aged between 40-50 and up to 50% of cases are not due to a known cause.

While it can be an annoying problem,  it is rarely serious, except when it increases one’s likelihood of falling.

Symptoms of benign positional vertigo

Doctor checks girls' ear

This condition causes short-lived episodes of dizziness. These episodes of dizziness can be mild to serious. They are also often triggered by a certain change in the position of the head. 

Dizziness can occur when moving your head up and down, lying down or turning in bed. In that respect, one can feel the room turning or moving. This leads to a sensation called vertigo.

Here are the other symptoms that can occur:

  • Nausea and dizziness. Both emotions usually disappear within a few seconds.
  • Nystagmus. Involuntary movements with the eyes.
  • Loss of control over eye movements.

In people over 65, this condition can go unnoticed and only manifest itself with instability related to when changing position. To diagnose these patients, it is essential to perform a provocation test.

What causes benign positional vertigo?

The inner ear contains  small calcium particles,  which allow people to keep their balance. When you move your head, these particles stimulate nerve cells. As a result, the nerve cells send a signal to the brain indicating which direction the head is moving.

When calcium particles are spread abnormally through the ear canal, the nerve cells tell the brain  that the head has moved more than it actually has. This “wrong signal”, which reaches the brain, is vertigo.

In addition, this disorder can also be associated with aging and occurs as a result of a blow to the head.

Treatment

Benign positional vertigo  may go away on its own in a few weeks or after a few months. However, to help relieve your symptoms more quickly, you can perform a procedure for repositioning the ear stones.

What is a procedure for repositioning the ear stones?

This is a procedure that involves doing  several simple and slow maneuvers to move the head. As a result, its intention is to move the inner ear particles to the vestibular sense, where these particles do not cause problems and can be resumed more easily.

To do this,  hold each position for 30 seconds, after any symptom or abnormal eye movement disappears. Procedure for repositioning of ear stones is typically effective after one or two treatments.

Woman trying to treat benign positional vertigo

Surgical alternative

In rare cases, the procedure for repositioning the ear stones is not effective. In these cases, the doctor may recommend a surgical procedure.

During the operation, a bone sting is used to block the part of the inner ear that causes dizziness. Thus, the plug prevents the semi-circular channel of the ear from responding to movement of particles or head movements in general.

The success rate for the operation is about 90%. However, benign positional vertigo may recur even after successful treatment. Although there is no cure for this condition, one can check it with the help of specialists such as physiotherapists.

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