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DIY vertigo relief corrects a surprising cause of this dizzying condition
If you have sudden episodes where it feels as if the world has gone crazy and is spinning around you, you could be living with a condition known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV.
And, according to neurologist Neil Cherian, MD, a dizziness expert, “Episodes of BPPV can last for a few seconds, a few days, a few weeks or a few months,” and have a major impact on your life, keeping you from doing the things you love.
In fact, BPPV can make you intensely dizzy and leave you nauseous, stuck in bed, waiting for the room around you to slow its vertigo-inducing spin.
And, the experts say that it’s all caused by tiny crystals in your ears.
Floating crystals of calcium carbonate
Basically, you can end up with BPPV when small crystals that are made up of calcium carbonate buildup in the canals of your ear. These crystals can become dislodged from one part of your ear and drift into a different part. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but the truth is that these floating crystals cause a mismatch in the messages your inner ear sends to your brain each time your head moves even slightly.
This is due to the fact that since they are disconnected, they continue to move around in the fluid of your inner ear, even once the movement stops. That makes your brain think there is still movement, despite the fact that your eyes are telling it something completely different.
And, that is what causes vertigo.
Something as seemingly small as rolling over in bed can result in extreme dizziness and nausea that plagues so many with BPPV.
A difficult condition with unknown cause
Now, no one really knows how some people end up with BPPV, while others never have to worry about the conditions. Medical doctors have been unable to determine what triggers those crystals to begin floating in your ears.
Related: When vertigo signals something more serious
As Dr. Felipe Santos, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an assistant professor in otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School, puts it, “There seems to be an association in a percentage of patients with head trauma, but for the most part, we don’t know.”
Although, they do also say that two other factors that can put you at risk for BPPV are:
- Being over 65
- A history of viral ear infections
DIY vertigo relief
But, while they’re still not really sure what causes BPPV, there is relief available from the condition.
A physical therapy move known as the Epley maneuver can help.
The way it works is this…
- Sit on the end of your bed with your head turned at a 45° angle toward the side with the crystals. Make sure to put a pillow behind you so that lay down, it’s under your shoulders.
- Quickly lie back. Your head will still be on the bed and remain at that 45° angle.
- Stay in this position, waiting for any dizzy feelings to stop.
- Now, rotate your head 90° to the unaffected side, without lifting it.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Turn your head and body all the way to your unaffected side, so that you’re looking at the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds more.
- Slowly sit up, but be sure to stay on the bed for a few minutes.
According to Harvard Health, the reason this maneuver is effective is that it allows those free-floating crystals to drift to another ear chamber, where they can be reabsorbed by your body.
Put simply, it’s like one of those puzzles you had as a kid that were filled with water and shook in order to move the tiny beads from one place to another.
It’s important to note that there are two reasons that the maneuver may not be working for you…
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The first is that you haven’t properly identified which ear has the crystals in it. So, be sure to pay attention to your symptoms.
For example, if you notice that your dizziness comes on each time you roll onto your left side, you can bet that it’s your left ear that’s the problem.
The second issue that could keep the maneuver from working is too much movement of your head and neck after you’ve completed the maneuver… Basically, not giving everything enough time to settle down.
“Typically, we advise patients to avoid positions that invoke the vertigo,” says Dr. Santos. “You don’t have to wear a neck brace, but we ask patients to avoid extreme flexion of the neck that would induce vertigo for 48 hours.”
However, if you still can’t find relief from vertigo symptoms, consider seeing an expert who can ensure you’ve identified the side of the problem, are performing the maneuver correctly, and don’t need a different type of treatment for your specific condition. Other causes of vertigo include inner ear infections or diseases of the ear.
Editor’s note: In 1955, research conducted at the Providence Hospital in Detroit, Michigan found that EDTA Chelation helps claw away rogue calcium in your joints, kidneys, the bones of your inner ear, and from the inner walls of your arteries where is can cause huge problems. To learn more about using EDTA Chelation for better health, click here!
- Self-help videos to stop vertigo work for some, not all — Harvard Health Blog
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) — Vestibular Disorders Association
- BPPV: Why Loose Ear Crystals Make You Dizzy and How to Fix Them — Cleveland Clinic
- Home Remedies for Vertigo — WebMD