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Vertigo May Be All in Your Head: September 21, 2013

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo- the term itself might make your head spin. People who have this condition struggle with the sensation in a very real sense.

“One of the things that can cause it commonly is a fall, a head injury. It can also occur due to an infection in the inner ear. It also occurs from degenerative changes as we age,” says Dawn Root, physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Simple enough to grasp, but what’s actually going on in your head is the disruption of a delicate balance.

“We have semi circular canals in the inner ear, there’s three of them in the right ear and three of them in the left ear, there’s also a central area here called the utricle. In the utricle there are a lot of calcium crystals that are contained within. Sometimes some of those calcium crystals can become dislodged from the utricle and then fall into the semi circular canals. Then once they’re in those canals, when the patient moves their head in certain positions the crystals will move inside the canal and then create the symptoms of vertigo,” says Root.

The definition of vertigo is the illusion of motion. People may feel like they’re spinning when they’re not. It can cause dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, and light-headedness. If the condition doesn’t resolve on its own- there is a specialized therapy to alleviate positional vertigo.

“The goal of therapy is to move the patient in certain positions,” says Root.

It generally takes between one and three sessions to help your body put things in proper order.