Dizziness and Vertigo

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Dizziness and Vertigo

“I got out of bed and the room started to spin…”

You or someone you know likely has experienced a dizziness episode similar to this that was labeled as “vertigo” by a doctor, friend, or family member. Did you know that vertigo itself is not a diagnosis? It is a term used to describe a type of dizziness that you feel. What you are likely experiencing is BPPV.


BPPV is an abbreviation that stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo and is a specific type of dizziness that is indeed a diagnosis. BPPV is the most common disorder of the vestibular system, the inner ear system that has a role in balance.

What are the signs and symptoms of BPPV?

BPPV is described as a sudden onset of room spinning dizziness when the head is moved in a certain direction. If you are experiencing BPPV you will likely not have dizziness symptoms when you are still, but will experience dizziness lasting seconds to minutes with head or neck movement. People experiencing BPPV often say, “I woke up feeling fine, but when I went to get out of bed the room started to spin.”

Why am I dizzy?

BPPV is a disorder of the vestibular system, a group of tiny structures in the inner ear that play a role in balance. In each ear are small canals that detect movement of the head. With BPPV, a false sense of movement is sent from those canals to the brain. The brain will then cause your eyes to move in response. This involuntary, quick eye movement is called nystagmus and can be seen your eyes if you have BPPV. Nystagmus results in disorientation and room spinning dizziness. Since this response is not activated when the head is still, no dizziness is felt at rest.

How is BPPV treated?

BPPV can be treated by a physical therapist and be resolved in as quickly as one to two treatments! A physical therapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation will perform maneuvers involving head and neck movement to resolve the BPPV. Unfortunately, not all doctors are aware that these maneuvers exist or that physical therapists are trained to perform them. Here at Cray PT we offer BPPV treatment, so if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, come see us!

What else could be causing my dizziness?

BPPV is not the only disorder of the vestibular system that could be causing dizziness and imbalance. Other possible diagnoses include vestibular hypofunction, vestibular migraines, or concussion to name a few. Good news – research shows that a physical therapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation is able to help decrease dizziness caused by any of these disorders!

Cray Physical Therapy offers treatments, management and general information for several vestibular system disorders related to dizziness and imbalance. Give us a call at 339-987-4856 so we can help you get on the road to recovery! You can also fill out our contact form by clicking here and we will be back in touch.

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