The number of people complaining of peripheral vertigo, mainly due to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), seems to be increasing. The American Academy of Otolaryngology shared that this inner ear-induced condition is more prevalent in older people. With the nation’s aging population, this is probably why more people are dealing with this.
Simplifying the Inner Ears’ Complex Structures
The inner ears have labyrinths where the fluids or the endolymph flow. The fluids’ movement rustles the fine hair carpet that lines the cochlea, the part of the inner ear that encases the Corti or the organ for hearing. Otoliths or calcium particles pull on the fine hair, and by doing so, they create signals that the brain uses to assess the body’s correct stance. When everything works, the brain receives signals used as a basis for the body’s subsequent form or posture. Whether a person bends or stays upright is due to a chain of reactions in this maze.
BPPV: A Quick Review
Despite the complex and critical functions in the inner ears, its structures are delicate membranes. People often do not know that harmless-looking slips and tumbles can have far-reaching damages to the inner ears. That is the case of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Otoliths can be displaced easily, even with gentle nudges. Here are some activities likely to bring the same results:
- Holding on to the same head and neck position for a long time. Think of surgeons, dentists, hairstylists, and even fashion models.
- Riding in roller coasters. The higher the drop, the more likely otoliths get removed.
- Biking on rough paths. The bumpy ride sounds like a beautiful time to spend an afternoon. However, don’t be surprised if you might be nursing vertigo soon after.
Aside from these, imagine the impact of blunt force trauma to the head or neck on these calcium particles. Old age and inner ear infections can dislodge otoliths and make them lose their structural hold. Once they fall off, they drop into the stream of endolymph.
Otoliths in the fluid stream can affect the fine hair and influence the signals delivered to the brain. Since the displaced otoliths flow aimlessly, they can cause the delivery of mixed signals to the brain. In a nutshell, this is how peripheral vertigo starts. Vertigo strikes are more intense during head movements which cause the otoliths and the fluids to move.
Current Care Approaches
As a form of bedside therapy, the Epley maneuver’s goal is to attempt to lead the calcium particles away from the stream and into a new location in the inner ears where it won’t cause so much damage. Numerous instruction materials can guide you to accomplish this at home. Remember that you should avoid any drastic movements after the treatment if you intend to do so. Also, make sure you use a pillow that will stop you from sleeping on the affected side.
If you would prefer working with a professional, find the nearest local physical therapist or even chiropractor in your area. Doing this by yourself is good, but working with experts also works. What is important is to meet the goal of successful repositioning.
Like the Epley maneuver, either you or the doctor can turn your head to redirect the otoliths to a less sensitive section of the inner ears. What makes this maneuver distinct from the Epley procedure is that it uses abrupt actions. If done successfully, this can relieve the symptoms of peripheral vertigo. Otherwise, Michigan Medicine warns of sharper sensations that follow if this procedure fails.
Although people might not opt to get surgery to address a BPPV, it is an option for those who want it. In cases when the effects of vertigo become too disruptive, a person can have a surgeon close off a section of the inner ears so the otoliths cannot get in and do their damage.
Upcoming Treatment Option
A study discloses the effectiveness of anticholinergic drugs in addressing the effects of BPPV. Anticholinergics block acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the body’s involuntary movements. Medical experts from the pharmaceutical industry believe this is an effective treatment for vertigo.
If you would like to get a prescription, make sure your healthcare professional discloses the possible outcomes. As in any medication, anticholinergics might address your equilibrium issues, but it might also affect other critical body functions. The pharmaceutical industry believes that this option can provide immediate relief once it is widely available.
A Natural Way to Achieve Relief from BPPV Effects
Chiropractic care is another option to relieve vertigo caused by errant otoliths in the inner ears’ labyrinth. With chiropractic care, the otoliths can move to a part of the inner ears where it won’t cause so much disruption in the conversion of sound waves.
Besides this, chiropractors can also check for spinal alignment issues that may aggravate the effects of peripheral vertigo. By ensuring that the spine’s bones and discs are symmetrical and in their proper places, chiropractors help ensure that the nerves’ pathways to get to the brain are free of roadblocks.
When finding a licensed and well-experienced upper cervical chiropractor in your area, Upper Cervical Awareness has a directory that you can use as a reference. This guide contains contact numbers, office addresses, and helpful information you need during your first session.
Remember that BPPV is a common issue that simple, harmless-looking events can cause. Don’t let this adversely affect your life. Find your local chiropractor, schedule that appointment now, and be on your way to better days free of the effects of vertigo.