Vestibular Disorders: BPPV – Boys Town National Research Hospital

A vestibular disorder is just what it sounds
like, so a disorder that has specifically affected the vestibular system in the inner
ear. The most common type is something called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and because
that’s hard to say we call it BPPV for short. What happens with BPPV is that we all have
these crystals that are in our ears and usually they are adhered together. Those crystals
can become loose and they can migrate into a part of the inner ear where they are not
supposed to be and it makes us sensitive to gravitational changes, meaning the patients
will have problems when laying down to bed, getting out of bed, bending over to tie their
shoes, looking up to pick something up off the shelf and they will get very very brief
dizziness that just lasts for a few seconds and as soon as they stop that activity then
the symptoms go back to normal. Primarily it is adults. Vestibular disorders
are fairly rare in children with the exception of children who are born with hearing loss.
Women are more susceptible than men and we are more likely to see women have BPPV once
they have gone through menopause or will often times occur in individuals who have suffered
a head injury where they have hit their head and that’s what sort of puts those crystals
in motion. For BPPV or when the crystals are loose we
typically put people through a series of exercises to get the crystals back into the place where
they need to go. That treatment is very effective and that often times as soon as the patients
receive that exercise or treatment they feel better.

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