a dizzy view

Q. Three nights ago I was awakened by a feeling of the room whirling around. Ever since then, I cannot bend down or turn my head without vertigo and I have vomited as well.

I have taken Bonine but it does not seem to help. What can I do about this condition?

A. If you are suffering from benign positional vertigo (BPV, or BPPV), medications won’t help. The cause of this condition is calcium crystals in the inner ear drifting out of position.

You’ll need a diagnostic work-up to see if this is the problem. If it is, a manipulation called the Epley maneuver can be very helpful to get the crystals back where they belong. A recent article in Neurology (July 24, 2012) reported that YouTube videos can help patients with BPV learn to manage this at home.

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  1. Anne

    I have had vertigo but it is due to vestibular loss in my left ear. I have exercises for it. Epley Maneuvers would be the wrong thing for this type of vertigo. A diagnosis is necessary first.

  2. peter w z

    I have had vertigo for the last 4 years. have seen specialists, had MRI’s, CAT Scans Ect.
    The only thing they found was that I had a mild sinus infection. On my recent visit to my Ear, Nose Doctor, I did not see him but his Nurse Physician Assistant. I asked her if she thought my sinus infections could be causing my Vertigo. She did not know about that but suggested I try a sinus rinse. It is 12 weeks since I started using this sinus rinse. After less than a week my Vertigo (dizzy spells) stopped, and I have not had any since. I rinse twice a day. You can get it at any drug store or Wallmart.

  3. nm

    Sounds more like vestibular neuritis than BPV to me, and I’ve had both. BPV usually does not awaken you at night, but vestibular neuritis does. Epley maneuver makes vestibular neuritis worse, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Vestibular neuritis is almost untreatable, unless something has developed in the last 5 years or so. Basically you wait out 2-3 weeks in misery for it to go away.

  4. CFH

    I too have had BPV, went to see my ENT and after a normal hearing test was sent to a Physical Therapist who performed the Epley Maneuvers which worked very well for me. I went for two treatments and was given exercises to do at home. Good luck, as it is a miserable feeling.

  5. Barb

    My chiropractor told me it was a problem with the 8th cranial nerve and fixed it with a couple of neck jerks.

  6. Philip W.

    I had those “mini strrrrroke” symptoms a few days before a majorstroke. Get to a neurologist pronto. Also check the carotid arteries for blockage ASAP.

  7. Helen M

    ?????? Never saw this, We did a partial Epley at home at least ten years ago after anti-histamines failed to control it. I got too dizzy to finish; nevertheless, 20 minutes later I was no longer dizzy and it never happened again. I did not sleep sitting up.

  8. Angela M. R.

    Many years ago, I had two episodes of BPV. I perspired profusely, vomited repeatedly, and the room was moving back and forth. The dr. gave me pills that kept me still. I don’t know what they were. At the time, I never questioned. Now I question. I’m a bit fearful that this feeling will return. However, I find that sometimes my brain is gripped with a strange feeling. I don’t get dizzy, I don’t fall or lose consciousness. The dr. told me I’m lacking oxygen.

  9. CG

    I live in the same city as Dr. Epley, so when he was still practicing, I was lucky enough to be treated by the good doctor himself. You can learn to do the Epley maneuvers at home, but it’s best to find an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor or a vestibular physiotherapist trained in the maneuvers first, if possible. Performing the maneuvers incorrectly (or failing to sleep sitting upright for the next 2 nights especially) can prolong the misery.

  10. S H

    There is an easier and even BETTER method than this one on the provided video. It was developed, or publicized by a doctor in Denver, Colorado.
    I have had episodes of vertigo for more than 10 years. I forgot the name of the method, but the track rate is great. It seems to stop vertigo. It did for me. In my own words, a person gets on the floor in a comfortable area, like a rug, but NOT necessary. (For me, it was bedside). The article stated that a throw up bucket should be handy, just in case. –I didn’t even need one!— I got on all fours, just like I was going to do a forward roll, as in gymnastics/gym class. So, I was on my knees with my head down and the top of my head touching the floor. Head on the floor and rear end sticking up, so to speak.
    While my head was touching the floor, I turned my head to the right, then raised up to a position where I was on all fours, just like a dog or cat. After a few seconds I sat up in a chair.
    I did it ONE more time, with top of head on floor, turned it to the left, then got on all fours, then sat up in a chair. Poof! The vertigo was gone! — the longest time I held still, was the first step, where I had the top of my head on the floor. Rotating my head to the side, then raising my head and getting on all fours, like a cat or dog, then sitting up, was quicker. The doctor that uses this method is in Denver.

  11. Renee

    Not lonog ago, I had spells of dizziness when laying down or upon rising from bed, along with horrible headaches. I visited my doctor, who diagnosed me with BPV and referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. (I passed the hearing test just fine) I was shown how to do the Epley maneuver, which didn’t really help. It occurred to me to stop taking magnesium supplements, and my symptoms vanished quickly. Who knew?

  12. Mary

    I have had the Eply done to me a few times, and silly as it seems it works, I went to an Audiologist and she did this , I was amazed . No meds, No needles and it didn’t take very long, Who knew??? this is wonderful help for those of us that have this problem. I didn’t even know there were crystals in my inner ears, Thank Goodness for this.

  13. CRW

    Might be as simple as ‘stuck’ vertebrae. I had something very similar recently and a trip to my chiropractor solved it. The vertebrae nearest my skull had locked (poor posture on an old computer chair) and were impeding blood flow. An adjustment was all that was needed.

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