As doctors of chiropractic, we get the opportunity to see an assortment of patients walk through the door.
We have seen the typical pain patient, the patient with chronic headaches, the patient who recently had a car accident, but lately our favorite patient has been the vertigo or dizzy patient. Why would we ever enjoy seeing a patient that is suffering from such a crippling issue? Because many times it is an easy diagnosis, with an even easier solution!
Over the past 2 months, we have treated 3 different patients with chronic vertigo/dizziness. These patients had the exact same story. They have been to every doctor, they have had every test, yet they still can not find a solution to their dizziness. When we hear this complaint from a patient the first question to them is always “Do you feel dizzy when you are laying in bed? That question may be short but it gives HUGE insight to the cause of their suffering. If someone is feeling dizzy while laying in bed or with changes in head position, that is a tell-tale sign that they are most likely suffering from what is called Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. This may sound like a crazy disorder, but trust me there is an easy confirmation test and an even easier procedure to correct it!
The 101 on BPPV
BPPV is a disorder arising from an issue in the vestibular system, or inner ear. Inside our ear we have small canals that allows our body to adapt to changes in head position. Inside these canals flows a fluid called endolymph which helps the brain recognize changes in head position. Also within these canals are small crystals called otoconia which are very sensitive to gravity and linear motion. Sometimes these crystals can get lodged or “stuck” in an area of the canals it is not supposed to be in. When this occurs, an individual may complain of dizziness and vertigo in various head positions. This is ultimately what causes BPPV.
Testing for BPPV
There is a very easy test to confirm whether someone is suffering from BPPV. That test is called the Dix-Halpike test. This is an extremely gentle, non-invasive test to confirm BPPV. In short, the patient is seated on the table and the doctor turns their head at a 45 degree angle and then assists the patient as they lay down on their back with their head slightly extended off the table. If the person experiences any dizziness or feels like they are falling, that is a confirmation that they are suffering from BPPV.
An Easy Solution for BPPV
After someone is confirmed to have BPPV, the next step is a very quick and easy “repositioning” maneuver called Epley’s Maneuver. This is a test in which the doctor places the patient’s head in various head positions for a short period of time while they are laying down. This will “reposition” the crystals in the inner ear and the symptoms of vertigo or dizziness ultimately resolve.
I know this may sound too easy or not possible, but I can honestly say that those 3 patients mentioned earlier, AFTER JUST 1 VISIT, were symptom free from their dizziness and vertigo!
Thank you so much for your time and attention. Please feel free to contact our office at 973-228-0500 for more information about BPPV or to schedule a consultation with the doctors!