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Fri 15 Dec 2017

How to cure one common form of dizziness

12 May 2016
In my older age (over 50) I found that I was experiencing dizzy spells (a) at night lying down my head on the in bed (b) exaggerated movement of the head (c) occasionally when walking, in time with my steps. This particular kind of vertigo ("BPPV") can be self-diagnosed and treated. I am not a doctor, and this treatment should not replace the advice of a medical doctor. Here's how...

The Condition

The inner ear is also the organ of balance, due to the three semi-circular canals containing liquid whose motion senses movement (1) forward/backward (2) left/right (3) up/down.

Small calcium crystals in one part of the ear that are responsible for detecting sensitive movements, sometimes migrate into the semi-circular canal. Here the movement of the crystals causes stimulations of the motion detectors in the ear, resulting in a false sense of motions which doesn't match what you are seeing, resulting in dizziness, which doctors call "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo" or BPPV for short

The Treatment

The condition can be both detected and cured by a certain movement of the head, which moves the crystals from the semi-circular canals, back to their proper location. Because there are three semi-circular canals, you have to repeat the movement of the head three times, it three slightly different orientations. The process takes about 10 minutes, but may make you queasy, extending the recovery time.

The Epley Manoeuvre

The Epley Manoeuvre is a series of movements to your head, that will detect and may cure this form of vertigo. Do not perform if you have issues with your neck or back. It may help to have someone help you.

Important: for each movement (a) you may feel intense dizziness (b) your should wait one minute, to give the crystals time to relocate to their new position.

    1. Sit upright on your bed
    2. Then lie flat on your back, so that your head hangs over the edge of the bed, and you can see the wall behind you. (Possible dizziness, wait a minute)
    3. Sit back up.
  1. Repeat as follows, with the variations described:
    1. Sit upright on you bed, but this time, turn your head to the right, about half way between looking forward and looking to the right side.
    2. Keeping your head turned, lie flat on your back, so that your head hangs over the edge of the bed (with your head still turned).
    3. While still on your back, turn your head from looking right, to looking left.
    4. While you are on your back, and looking left, now roll onto your left hand side. You'll be looking towards the floor, but not quite directly downwards.
    5. Sit back up. If you are on the left edge of the bed, you can face left and dangle your feet over the left edge.
  2. Repeat as follows, with the head turned in the opposite direction:
    1. Sit upright on you bed, with your head to the left, about half way between looking forward and looking to the left side.
    2. Keeping your head turned, lie flat on your back, so that your head hangs over the edge of the bed (with your head still turned).
    3. While still on your back, turn your head from looking left, to looking right.
    4. While you are on your back, and looking right, now roll onto your right hand side. You'll be looking towards the floor, but not quite directly downwards.
    5. Sit back up. If you are on the right edge of the bed, you can face right and dangle your feet over the right edge.

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