Benign positional vertigo the most common cause of vertigo. Someone encounters vertigo generally after a change in the head’s position. This can happen when you turn or change position in bed. Each episode of vertigo lasts for less than one minute. Positional vertigo is the sensation of spinning or swaying. The sensation is such that it makes one feels as if something is spinning inside the head. Positional vertigo transpires from a head injury or due to age factor but, there is no specific cause of positional vertigo.
One experiences brief periods of mild or intense dizziness while suffering from positional vertigo. Other actions that can trigger during positional vertigo are:
1. Tilting the head down
2. Lying down
3. Turning over
4. Getting up
Signs of positional vertigo
Dizziness: Episodes of dizziness with certain head movements are frequently found in the cases of positional vertigo.
Spinning sensation: Positional vertigo gives the sensation of spinning while tilting the head down, lying down, or getting up. A person feels a sudden sensation that the surrounding is spinning. Positional vertigo is usually triggered by specific changes in the position of the head.
Loss of balance: A person experiences loss of balance in positional vertigo which is one of the most typical symptoms of positional vertigo. Loss of balance is due to dizziness and spinning sensation that makes it difficult for the person to judge his or her surrounding well, affecting the sense of balance.
Vomiting: Positional vertigo caused by inflammation inside the ear can cause symptoms of vomiting. However, frequent vomiting can cause dehydration. One must consult a doctor if s/he feels the persistent dizziness and vomiting is because of Positional vertigo.
Hearing loss: Inflammation in ears can further cause problem in the semicircular canal and can trigger hearing loss. In positional vertigo, the inner ear is responsible for handling signals, if these are not transmitted properly, it causes hearing loss.
Blurred vision: One symptom of positional vertigo is rapid eye movement. As the jerky movements subside, eyes drift slowly back to center because of positional vertigo and can cause blurred, double or loss of vision. A person suffering from positional vertigo may feel that the surrounding is moving. This may cause blurry vision.
Causes of positional vertigo
Positional vertigo occurs because of disturbance inside the inner ear. Semicircular canals are the tubes inside the ears carrying fluid that moves with the change of the body’s position. These semicircular canals are distinctly delicate. Positional vertigo develops when small crystals of calcium carbonate in other areas of the ear break free inside the semicircular canals. It makes the brain initiate complicated messages about the body’s position. Positional vertigo can also cause migraines.
Causes of positional vertigo include:
3. Blurred vision
6. Rotary nystagmus
7. Loss of balance
Symptoms of positional vertigo
Symptoms of positional vertigo fluctuate and usually stay for a minute or so. Most patients with positional vertigo experience fast head movements. Conditions which trigger symptoms of positional vertigo depend from person to person. They usually occur because of position of the head. Some people feel out of balance while standing or walking.
Treatment of positional vertigo:
Doctors recommend the Epley’s Maneuver as the best treatment for positional vertigo. The Epley’s maneuver, developed by Dr. John Epley was first prescribed in 1980. It is a simple technique which anyone can try at home as it does not require any equipment. It includes tilting of the head in different positions so that calcium carbonate moves to the different area of inner ears.
Dizziness associated with positional vertigo can be managed by taking a few precautionary methods. Beware of your surroundings and place at all times. Try to go into risk-free position or place when feeling dizzy to prevent falling and injuries. Take a seat when feeling drowsy to prevent falling. Take precautions like having good lighting around and use a cane for stability.
The doctors prescribe the medications that relieve from spinning sensations. These may include:
1. Sedative-hypnotics which are sleeping aids
2. Anticholinergics which prevents the brain sending wrong messages
However, medications are not the best way of treating positional vertigo.
Surgical treatments such as semicircular canal occlusion can be done for treating positional vertigo. Surgeries carries a risks of neurosurgical procedures. Neurosurgical procedures can cause bleeding in the brain, brain swelling, strokes or coma. Therefore, surgeries are reserved for the last stage of positional vertigo.
Risk factors for positional vertigo
Positional vertigo usually occurs to people at age of 50 years or later, but some experience positional vertigo at earlier ages also. Positional vertigo is more common in women than in men. A head injury or injury inside the ear makes the case more susceptive of positional vertigo.
Complications of positional vertigo
Although positional vertigo is uncomfortable, it causes complications in rare cases only. Dizziness due to positional vertigo makes the person unsteady and poses greater risks. A person may develop weakness, slurred speech or vision problems due to positional vertigo. Keep in mind that symptoms of positional vertigo are sometimes related to some other serious conditions.