• I did the Epley's & am still dizzy!

    by Dr. Niki Varveris, PT, DPT, MSPT, MBA, CKTP
    on Apr 20th, 2018

So, you woke up with the room spinning to the point that you didn’t dare make sudden movements with your head? Then you decided to search “treatments for vertigo” online and what did you find: “The Epley’s Maneuver”! You followed the instructions on YouTube but you still have vertigo. How can that be? YouTube and the internet are always right. Right?


Right and wrong! The spinning sensation you experienced is most likely vertigo, more specifically BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). BPPV is prevalent in people over the age of 60 and can be a result of turning too quickly in bed or even dehydration while playing golf or tennis. Although, BPPV is the easiest type of vertigo to treat (85% success rate after just 1 treatment), one should consult a healthcare professional prior to making assumptions and initiating self-treatments.


In simple terms, BPPV results from small calcium crystals entering the semicircular canal of the inner ear where they should not be. This provokes an abnormal signal delivery to the brain during certain head movements. The end result is the inability to determine where the body is in space and the sensation of “the room is spinning” and the presence of Nystagmus in the eyes.


Let’s assume the cause of your vertigo is BPPV. Did you know that we have 3 semicircular canals in each ear, thus 6 possible canals that may be the culprit? Furthermore, depending on which canal is the problem, the treatment may be different. And this is why doing the “Epley’s Maneuver” you just saw on YouTube may not be such a great idea. In fact, if you perform the wrong maneuver, you may make your condition worse.


The first step to proper treatment of BPPV, is properly identifying which ear and which semicircular canal is the involved canal. The second step is to pair the appropriate repositioning maneuver with the involved canal. For example, if you have a right posterior canalithiasis BPPV, then doing an Epley’s Maneuver on the left ear will not help the condition! And if you have a left horizontal cupulolithiasis, the Epley’s Maneuver will not work.


So the best advice is for you to go to a healthcare specialist who is trained in the proper diagnosis and management of vestibular disorders. Let them tell you how to self-manage at home so you do not do more harm than good.

Author Dr. Niki Varveris, PT, DPT, MSPT, MBA, CKTP

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