What is Dizziness and Vertigo?

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It is difficult to discuss dizziness because it means different things to different people.  There are three main terms in use by physicians which describe what we all refer to as “dizziness” Disequilibrium Disequilibrium is the sensation of being off balance, much like when getting off a boat, and is sometimes characterized by falls in a specific direction. This condition is not often associated with nausea or vomiting or vertigo. Pre–syncope Pre-syncope (literally near fainting) or lightheadedness, like when standing up too … Read More

Mal de debarquement? Is that like BPPV?

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We recently were asked: “I think that I have Mal de Debarquement syndrome. I believe this because I tend to get it after train travel. In the past it took 6 weeks for it to go away. Now, it seems to be taking longer. Does the Epley maneuver work for this?” Until recently very few people knew about Mal de Debarquement syndrome. This syndrome can occur after any type of travel. The best analogy is sea sickness. When you first step … Read More

I tried the Epley maneuver but it didn’t work.

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Although most people with BPPV can be treated with the Epley maneuver or a home treatment device.  About 5-12% of people cannot be treated.  There are several reasons which should be carefully considered. 1) You do not have BPPV.  There are many kinds of vertigo and only BPPV will respond to the Epley maneuver.  You should always get a proper diagnosis from a physician qualified to diagnose BPPV.  Several serious conditions can cause vertigo as part of their symptom complex and these … Read More

How long does BPPV last? Why does it go and come back?

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We were recently asked, “Why does BPPV go away and come back?”.  To understand the treatment and natural history of BPPV it helps to understand how it happens in the first place. Lets imagine that the inner ear is akin to a tiny snow globe inside the head.  In a healthy person the snow inside this globe is actually stuck down but with age the snow comes loose and begins to fly around when disturbed.  Now lets imagine there is a … Read More

How long will I have BPPV?

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After being diagnosed with BPPV many people report mixed feelings.  First – relief at not having a brain tumor or stroke, second – happiness that there is a treatment and third – discomfort with having a chronic disease. BPPV is indeed a chronic disease.  The otoconia, (normal balance crystals) which cause the symptoms of BPPV when in the wrong place, do not disappear when treated with the Epley Maneuver or with home BPPV treatment, rather the particles are moved.  More than … Read More

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