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Vertigo: BPPV & Balance Disorders

  • Synopsis: Last Revised/Updated: 2015-03-14 - Information on vertigo and balance disorders usually associated with the inner ear balance mechanisms and Menieres disease.

Vertigo is a subtype of dizziness in which a patient inappropriately experiences the perception of motion (usually a spinning motion) due to dysfunction of the vestibular system. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as a balance disorder, causing difficulties with standing or walking. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo - the sudden sensation that you're spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.

Main Document

Vertigo or balance disorder is a disturbance that causes an individual to feel unsteady, giddy, woozy, or have a sensation of movement, spinning, or floating, and loss of balance. Causes of dizziness related to the ear are often characterized by vertigo (spinning) and nausea.

Vertigo is a serious disease as it increases the risk factor for some of the serious disorders such as strokes and tumors.

There are different types of vertigo such as;

Hence, the treatment of the vertigo is a necessity as it may lead to severe imbalance problems.

The human balance system works with our visual and skeletal systems to maintain orientation or balance. Visual signals are sent to the human brain about the body's position in relation to its surroundings. These signals are processed by the brain, and compared to information from the vestibular, visual and the skeletal systems.

Balance Problems related to the ear or the brain

2 - Brain Related Balance Conditions

How To Treat Vertigo

There are various options for treating balance disorders. One option includes treatment for a disease or disorder that may be contributing to the balance problem, such as ear infection, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. Individual treatment will vary and will be based upon symptoms, medical history, general health, examination by a physician, and the results of medical tests. Most types of balance disorders will require balance training, prescribed by a physiotherapist.

The disease is usually treated symptomatically since it will help to reduce the severity of manifestations. The problem is in the inner ear, which includes dislocation of calcium crystals and infections such as Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV) and can be treated with certain exercises such as physical maneuvers. However, brain damage or cardiac problems are more serious and hence have to be treated very carefully.

Particle repositioning maneuver is a specific treatment for vertigo caused by mis-positioning of calcium carbonate crystals. In the treatment the head has to be moved in such a manner to reposition the crystals and to give relief from the symptoms of imbalance.

Drugs for the treatment of vertigo can be administrated orally, through intravenous injections or patches in the skin. In case of any bacterial infections, antibiotics are preferred to stop the further complications. Meclizine hydrochloride, Diphenhydramine, Promethazine Hydrochloride, Diazepam and Scopolamine transdermal patch are some of the commonly used for the treatment of vertigo.

Exercises for BPPV

Exercises for vestibular rehabilitation are also used as remedy for vertigo in which the patient repeatedly undergoes the position change from lying state to sitting and vice versa. This is repeated until the patient has recovered completely and most often, the recurrence of the disease will not occur.

In serious cases, surgery in the inner ear to insert a plug is recommended to overcome the disorder. It has high success rate and only 5% of people have to repeat the treatment.

Rest is the immediate solution to vertigo, as soon as the symptoms are felt. Use of a cane is also sometime necessary to retain steadiness and balance. A patient with a tendency for vertigo must be extremely careful to adjust their movements at a slow pace.

Exercises are a method of treating BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). Exercises include the Epley, Brandt-Daroff exercises, and Semont Maneuvers. These maneuvers are effective treatment in that they help speed up compensation by the brain. When these maneuvers work, they can relieve the symptoms of vertigo very quickly.

Vertigo Balance & BPPV Awareness

Balance Awareness Week - Sept 14 - 20, 2015. National Balance Awareness Week was established to educate the community regarding the symptoms of vestibular disorders so that individuals experiencing problems can seek help to receive an accurate diagnosis and get effective treatment.

Quick Facts: Vertigo Types &

There are three types of vertigo.

Statistics: Balance Disorder

One recent large epidemiological study estimates that as many as 35% of adults aged 40 years or older in the United States, approximately 69 million Americans, have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction.

Latest Vertigo Balance Disorders & BPPV Publications
1 : Balance Disorders: Types and Treatment : Thomas C. Weiss.
2 : Meniere's Disease: Causes & Prevention : University of Colorado Denver.
3 : New Hope for Sufferers of Vertigo : McGill University.
4 : The Cause of MRI Induced Vertigo : Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.
5 : Implant Device to Treat Balance Disorder : University of Washington.
6 : Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: Facts & Information : Disabled World.
7 : Vertigo: Semont Maneuver for PPPV Balance Disorders : Disabled World.
8 : Vertigo: Epley Maneuver Information & Video : Disabled World.
Click Here for Full List - (10 Items)

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