all-about-bppv-the-most-common-vertigo-conditionBenign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the leading cause of peripheral vertigo, and it is one reason why people turn to Calgary upper cervical chiropractic for help. As many as 150,000 people suffer from BPPV annually.

BPPV brings about intense vertigo attacks. Changes in head position can trigger it. To help you better understand the nature of BPPV, here’s a breakdown of the definition of each word.

Benign

It means that the disorder is not life-threatening. 

Paroxysmal

This pertains to the timing of the attacks. They occur suddenly and are usually temporary episodes of vertigo.

Positional

Specific changes in position or movement of the head can bring about episodes of vertigo.

Vertigo

This is the main symptom or characteristic of BPPV. Vertigo is the false feeling of movement or spinning. 

Causes of BPPV Episodes

BPPV is due to an issue in the inner ear. The vestibular system includes three fluid-filled semicircular canals. These canals are involved with keeping the body’s balance. The inner ear naturally has calcium carbonate crystals called the otoconia. These small crystals help in detecting motion to provide the brain the data it needs to keep our sense of balance. Damage, breakdown, or dislodging of these crystals due to ear infections or head injury may cause them to move into the fluid-filled canals where they do not belong. This disrupts the proper fluid movement in the inner ear, resulting in severe vertigo attacks.

Telltale Signs of BPPV

One of the main symptoms that your vertigo is due to BPPV is when it does not bring about persistent dizziness, and it sets in following changes in head position. BPPV attacks are short but severe. Keep in mind there are other telltale signs of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: 

  • Vertigo that comes on after lying down
  • Vertigo that occurs upon waking up in the morning
  • Worse migraines – Migraine patients who also have BPPV may experience more severe and more frequent headaches as BPPV can aggravate other health conditions.
  • Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus) accompany vertigo attacks

BPPV Treatment Options

Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers

Certain maneuvers can relieve BPPV by moving the calcium particles away from the semicircular canals. The Epley maneuver is one of the canalith repositioning maneuvers that can bring symptomatic relief. It moves a patient’s body and head into certain positions to loosen the calcium crystals and help them migrate into a different area of the inner ear where they can’t bring on symptoms of vertigo. 

Medications

Doctors may prescribe BPPV patients some medication that can address some of the symptoms of BPPV, such as nausea. However, these only provide temporary relief.  Long-term use of some medications can actually cause vertigo.

The Link Between BPPV and Your Neck

Head position and neck position are inseparable. Without the neck’s support, particularly the topmost part of it, the head would not be able to move in various directions. Since the alignment of the neck affects how you can hold your head up, BPPV can be a neck issue and head position issue, especially for vertigo patients with a history of neck or head injury.

Vertigo and its connection to the neck are undeniable for several reasons, including the following:

1. Vertigo can worsen due to changes in head position.

Vertigo and dizziness can occur in different scenarios like when you roll over, get up out of bed, bend down to pick something up from the ground, tie your shoes, extend your neck back to get something out of a high cabinet, and many more. In short, vertigo may occur when you change your head position. 

2. The brainstem transmits info to the brain about the body’s position.

The uppermost vertebrae in the neck, the C1 and C2, protect the brainstem. Misalignment of these vertebrae can distort signals that inform the brain about the body’s position in its environment. This can result in vertigo and vestibular dysfunction. 

3. History of head or neck injury can cause otoconia to migrate.

Even a simple slip and fall can cause the dislodging of the calcium crystals away from their designated area in the inner ear. An accident or injury can also lead to the shifting of the C1 and C2 vertebrae which hold the head up. As a result, abnormal head position and nerve function may ensue.

How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Eases Vertigo

Upper cervical chiropractic is a unique niche in the chiropractic practice that takes care of the vertebrae at the top of the neck. The C1 and C2 vertebrae facilitate head movement and protect the brainstem.  

Vertigo patients can benefit from Calgary upper cervical chiropractic as it is one natural option for ensuring the proper function of the brainstem and vestibular system. This is most relevant for people with any history of neck or head injury, no matter how minor the trauma may have seemed when it happened.

At our upper cervical chiropractic clinic, Solara Health, our adjustments are very accurate and do not use strong force. Upper cervical chiropractors take ample time to analyze the position of the head and neck, to make customized adjustments for each patient. Every adjustment is meant to hold in place for as long as possible.

Through correction and maintenance of the proper alignment of the C1 and C2 bones, the body can start to get better naturally and restore its normal function once again. Contact Solara Health in Calgary, Alberta for a free phone consultation and to learn more about how upper cervical chiropractic care can help your overall wellbeing.

References:

https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/inner-ear-disorders/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigo

http://vestibular.org/understanding-vestibular-disorders/types-vestibular-disorders/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigo

https://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/AIS-Benign-Paroxysmal-Positional-Vertigo.pdf