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What is BPPV.....Vertigo?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

What is BPPV?

Benign = Not life threatening

Positional = Symptoms occur when lying down then changing positions

Paroxysmal = Symptoms come on suddenly then resolve quickly

Vertigo = Spinning sensation that is not actually happening


The inner ear consists of semicircular canals which contain crystals or otoconia. The primary function of the inner ear is to help you hear and to keep your balance. When you move your head, the crystals shift in place sending a signal to your brain about the position of your head. 

What causes BPPV?

The causes of BPPV are due to otoconia which are in your inner ear that are displaced in your ear. When this happens, your brain gets a signal that your head is spinning even if it isn’t. The mismatch in information between other balance systems such as vision confuses your brain resulting in vertigo.

What can I do?

BPPV can be scary but is usually not a serious health problem. Episodes usually resolve within 1 minute however, this could increase your risk for falling. It is recommended that you see a professional healthcare provider. Trained clinicians will perform maneuvers to move your head in a sequenced manner to move the ear crystals out of the canals. 

If you need Physical Therapy for BPPV, give Kailua Wellness Center a call today at (808) 261-8181.

Dr. Jun Bradley Cadelinia PT, DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

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