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Have You Lost Your Marbles? A Lesson on Positional Vertigo

  June 02, 2016


By Courtney Parmley, Au.D., CCCA and Joanna Capobianco, Au.D., CCCA, Audiologists at the Central Illinois Hearing & Balance Center

Dizziness is something that most of us have experienced at one time or another, whether caused by fatigue, lack of hydration, blood pressure levels, medicinal side effects, or just by having one too many adult beverages. Whatever the case may be, dizziness is not ideal and can certainly have a significant impact on one’s life if it persists and is not diagnosed and treated properly.

Dizziness is a very broad term. Patients may describe their dizziness ranging from slight lightheadedness to severe vertigo (or spinning sensation) with severe nausea and vomiting. There are many causes of dizziness. One common type of inner ear related dizziness is called BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). BPPV is:
  • Not life threatening
  • Paroxysmal—sudden, brief spells
  • Positional—triggered by certain movements (such as rolling over in bed)
  • Vertigo—a feeling of movement/spinning
Luckily, BPPV is not a sign of a serious health problem. Within our inner ear, we have tiny calcium crystals. These crystals help us keep our balance. Sometimes these crystals move out of their “home” and can cause issues with dizziness. Some examples of dizziness that may be related to BPPV include a spinning sensation when:
  • Rolling over in bed
  • Looking up at a high shelf
  • Tilting your head back in the shower
  • Looking down at your phone or book
  • Bending over to look in a freezer or tie your shoes
While the hallmark of BPPV is episodic vertigo associated with changes in head position, many patients also have a mild degree of constant unsteadiness during the periods when they are also having the recurrent attacks of positional vertigo.

If you or a loved one is experiencing dizziness, please consult with your primary care physician for evaluation and treatment. Your physician will help you in determining if a referral to a specialist would be appropriate, as there are many causes of dizziness.

The audiologists with the Central Illinois Hearing and Balance Center will help determine proper appointments for evaluating your dizziness and develop a plan of care to get you on the road to recovery. They even have their own vestibular-trained physical therapist on staff to get you back on your feet and dizzy free. Please give them a call at 309-661-0232. They would be happy to talk with you.


Information obtained from The Vestibular Disorders Association.

Photo credit: Marjan_Apostolovic/iStock
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June 02, 2016

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