Do you get dizzy often? Learn when a little lightheadedness becomes something more serious.

Dizziness and BPPV: What you should know

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Have you ever felt like the room was spinning when you were standing still? Dizziness can be scary and sometimes easily written off as standing up too fast or feeling lightheaded. However, feeling dizzy can be the side effect of many things, and one treatable condition that may be responsible is BPPV.

What is BPPV?

BPPV stands for benign positional paroxysmal vertigo.  It is caused by crystals in one of the three canals of the inner ear.

Signs that you may have BPPV

  • Dizziness (room spinning or feeling as if you are moving when you aren’t)
  • Lasting several seconds or minutes
  • Occurs only in certain positions
  • Residual feeling of unsteadiness when walking after episode

 How is it treated?

A specially trained health care provider (doctor or physical therapist) performs a maneuver to roll the crystals into an area of the inner ear where they can be reabsorbed.

When is dizziness an emergency situation and NOT just BPPV?

  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Severe balance disturbance
  • Memory loss

(If you have any of these signs, seek IMMEDIATE medical attention.)

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About The Author

Becky Riley is a physical therapist with Sentara Healthcare at Sentara Obici Hospital’s Outpatient Rehab Center.  Becky specializes in the treatment of neurological disorders such as vertigo, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke and other balance disorders.  She has been a physical therapist for 7 years.  She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and Bachelors in Exercise Science from Old Dominion University.  She lives with her husband of 10 years, 3-year-old daughter and two dogs.  She enjoys time outside with friends and family and playing soccer.  

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