The Epley maneuver worked – why do I still feel dizzy?

A person with BPPV who was treated in Greece asked: “After the treatment maneuver I felt much better. However, I now feel,…off balance? Why? How long with this last? Should I keep trying the Epley treatment?”

This is a common question and has an interesting, if theoretical, answer. It seems that some people can tell when they have BPPV just by the way they feel, even if they don’t experience vertigo at that moment. They just feel off, like something isn’t right. It is almost as if they can feel the particles sitting in the posterior semi-circular canal. This feeling goes away after they get used to the particles being in the canal. These people still experience spinning vertigo when they lay down or move in such a way as to stimulate BPPV. Interestingly, when they undergo treatment for BPPV with the maneuver and the particles are suddenly gone they again feel odd. Some describe a sense of being off balance, or even lightheadedness. It seems as if they miss the particles after having become used to them. Again this feeling goes away after about 1-2 weeks and you return to normal. There is no need to continue repeating the treatment maneuver at this point unless you are still experiencing spinning vertigo.

This whole sequence of events can be prevented by rapidly undergoing treatment before your brain has had a chance to become accustomed to the presence of the particles in the ear canals.

As always it is important to consult your own physician about your specific symptoms, especially if they change or do not fit with your usual experience or expectations.

64 Responses

  1. victoria budden

    I had the Epley maneuver done in July 2016 after suffering 6 weeks of horrendous dizziness, but I still find it uncomfortable to lay in bed sometimes and am caught occasionally when out and about. It seems to have left me with a residual dizziness that has stayed with me, but is manageable.

  2. Jess

    Had an attack of vertigo after rolling over in bed one night. Went to see my GP who diagnosed BPPV. She said it would burn itself out. It took two weeks to recover but every now and then I will feel dizzy, unsteady, like I’m on a ship. It’s so horrible….. never been the same since. It gets particularly bad when I’m tired. Wishing you all relief.

  3. dean

    hi ive had this problem myself had it for about 2 months now not to the extent of some people but it couldnt come at a worse time. my partner has a slipped disc in her back and is bed bound, plus I have to hand in my final work for uni which means i have to sit at my desk all day on my pc. doesnt sound bad sitting but even then i feel dizzy. after 2 months of waiting i finally had the vertigo reset at my doctors yesterday which seemed to help when i left the doctors but after about 15 minutes of walking the syptoms came back. i felt abit better when i got in the house, took the doctors advice of using 4 to 5 pillows to sleep with under my head but woke up about 4am this morning feeling very sick. this morning i work up about 9am and i feel more dizzy than i have over the last 2 months…not sure what is going on.

  4. Greg Pohlmann

    I’m a first timer having vertigo which started about a week ago. I just had the epley maneuver this past Wednesday. Going back to therapist this coming Monday to see if I am clear of dizziness. Treatment has helped along with using a neck brace to keep my head upright and still after epley. I also feel light headed and not with normal balance. Glad to know these symptoms are often normal after having the epley maneuver. Would not wish this condition on anyone. Being a senior golfer, I now have a greater appreciation of what Jason Day went through having this problem on the course while playing on the PGA tour. Ugh!

  5. Cindy

    So reassuring to read some of your comments. I got vertigo two weeks ago – out of nowhere. Saw ENT, had a wax build up I was not aware of and he started me on Epley. After 5 days of that the BPPV went away but now I have what seems like “residual” lightheadedness and just feeling off. Balance now has become an issue as well. I’ve been so scared something worse is happening but after reading here apparently this is what happens. Just want my life back and the “off/lighthead” feeling to go away and regain balance. Good luck to all of you – it is horrible. Having kids was much easier to cope with that this!!!!

  6. Mary

    I have had two episodes of vertigo, the worst feeling ever. It has taken me many months after the initial spinning (which occurred by turning my head in bed). I feel “off” and hate this feeling. Epley helps but still have an unsettled feeling. Definitely the most miserable thing. Can’t exercise at the gym or take classes bc of fear it will come back. Ugh.

  7. Janet Thorup

    I too had an onset of Vertigo for the first time last week, I was petrified! I was sick to my stomach and could not stand. I went to E.R. they gave me pills to take home and assured me it was Vertigo. 5 days later I had another postcode. I did the half somersault maneuver and it helped so much. I am still experiencing light headiness and feeling scared to go out just in case it happens again. I did go to an ear nose and throat specialist and he concurred that it was vertigo and that my ears looked fine. I never knew how terrifying vertigo was, but I certainly have a new found compassion for people that suffer with this condition.

  8. Rebecca

    Hi I’ve bin suffering with this vertigo & dizziness and feeling off balance since January 2016 I’ve bin through a lot had a grommet in my left here symptoms went for a month then came back. Had a balance test they said my particles were out of place in left ear and I have poor eye tracking I’ve had the Epley Maneuver done Several times and it does help but I’m still not right I just feel like I’m going to fall over and the floor feels like it’s moving I do get ear ache too it’s bin over 2 years of this and it’s ruining my life I can’t work anymore because of it as I was a cleaner and hoovering triggered it off worse. I struggle going in shops as makes me feel worse I have to walk straight back out I went to have another Epley Maneuver done Monday and he said my left eye was twitching still so having this treatment done every month why isn’t my particles going back right I don’t understand.

  9. Rebecca C

    On 2/15/18 I experienced a rapid onset, severe vertigo attack. I couldn’t stop vomiting and 911 was called. I stayed hospitalized for several days during which time the Epley maneuver was done several times. It finally worked and the spinning stopped on day 4. It is now 2/27/18 and I am still lightheaded, dizzy, and off balance. I’m grateful to learn that this is just residual effects of the crystals moving but I can’t wait for it to be over.

  10. Susan

    I had 2 very short duration vertigo incidents 5 weeks ago and still feel off. It’s hard to describe because it’s not quite dizzy, but kind of lightheaded and buzzy. Almost like a caffeine buzz or when your blood sugar is dropping. Sometimes sudden movements intensifies it. It sounds like it’s not unusual, but the duration is bothersome.

  11. Flores

    I have had vertigo for about a week and bed spinning nauseous father went to the doctor and compactor corrector helps so much, but I still feel light headedness. When does it go away? The spinning is done. The dizziness is gone. I just feel light. Headed still.

  12. Gail Goldberg

    I have been suffering with the after effects of a vertigo episode almost 5 months ago! I have gone to Urgent Care, seen my Primary Care Physician, seen a neurologist and an ENT, who prescribed vestibular therapy. I am only slightly better. I now have an appointment to see an ear specialist at the House Clinic that specializes in ear problems…I pray they can help me.

  13. Dino

    Hi Chiratla, I had a vertigo also and had the Epley maneuver. It’s been 4 days now yet I’m still dizzy and light headed but the vertigo is gone. This is my 3rd episode within the past 10 years. The residual dizziness usually goes away after a few weeks. However, residual dizziness on my first episode lasted longer but the second took about 3 weeks.

  14. chiratla

    Hi Ann,

    Am also in the same boat as you were. Got a vertigo attack on Dec 26th and after 3 days i did the Epley. It stopped immediately. But the residual dizziness is still bothering me.

    Are you able to get back to normal now? From what i read online i heard that after 2-3 weeks you should be able to get rid of the residual dizziness as well. However am still feeling off balanced.

    Can someone suggest on this please?

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