If this happens often it can be a sign of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).
Feeling like the room is spinning around you is described as vertigo. Up to 42% of the time this vertigo can be explained by a treatable condition called BPPV.
BPPV causes up to a minute of intense spinning which happen when you move your head in certain directions, for example when rolling over in bed. This spinning can make you feel nauseous but doesn’t often cause people to actually be sick.
Why does it happen?
It’s all to do with a mix up of the signals your brain uses to help you balance. One of the signals it relies on comes from your inner ear.
Your inner ear is made up of looped canals filled with fluid. Here, tiny calcium crystals sink with gravity to tell the brain which way is down. (This is how, even if under water you closed your eyes, you’d still have a sense of what way is up.)
BPPV occurs then tiny fragments of debris in these canals stop the crystals from moving were they want to and the crystals become lodge in one spot. Because of this, the information being sent to the brain by the inner ear is wrong and different to what the eyes are seeing and so that feeling of spinning sets in!
So what causes the debris to build up?
It’s a good question and one that the medical profession is still debating. What we do know is that the chance of you having BPPV is higher the older you are, 54 years being the average age, if you’ve had previous ear infections or head injuries and long periods of lying such as a stay in hospital over several days.
So unfortunately (a bit like getting old!), BPPV isn’t something you can try to avoid but you can watch out for the symptoms and seek treatment earlier than later!
Simple effective treatment is at hand!
A well trained physiotherapist is able to treat these cases using a simple movement of the head into various positions. Treatment takes just a few minutes and uses gravity to move the debris away from where it’s lodged and causing problems. Often a large reduction in symptoms can be felt almost immediately after the first treatment and you’ll be given a simple home exercise to do daily for the next few weeks till the spinning completely disappears.
Around 30% of those successfully treated will find they have recurrences of symptoms months or years later. Again, recognizing the symptoms should they ever return allows quick repeat of the treatment and nips that spinning sensation in the bud before it gets any worse!
So if you experience short spells of spinning don’t just put up with it. Avoid the risk of falls and nausea by seeing a physiotherapist who specialises in treating this problem. There may be a simple and quick solution to get you feeling steady once again!
If you’ve any questions about the topic raised in this article don’t delay, call and ask to speak to one of our physiotherapists today!