Positional Vertigo

What is it?

Dizziness is a term often used to describe different sensations, but can be broken down into three general categories. The first is how one might feel right before fainting, or lightheaded; the second is the sense that one is moving or falling when you are standing still, like being drunk; the third is when the room seems to be spinning around you, like being seasick (or REALLY drunk). This last one described is vertigo and it may occur when small crystals block the normal path of fluid in your inner ear and so prevent it from flowing to one side.

How do I know if I have it?

Vertigo usually occurs on one side in this condition, generally noticed when you are lying down. People often wake up and the room starts spinning as soon as they open their eyes, or when turning their head or making a quick move, it might seem that the room keeps moving momentarily even after you have stopped. One might also experience nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue. These other symptoms can continue even when the spinning has stopped.

How can I get tested for it?

I can confirm this condition in the office with a few simple maneuvers after I have gotten a good history about the symptom onset. This also helps me to differentiate the positional vertigo from other types of vertigo and dizziness.

How can I be treated for it?

I usually demonstrate a simple set of counter-maneuvers in the office that a patient will do at home several times a day for up to a week or less, if it is resolved more quickly. They only take a few minutes to do and can be very effective in curing this type of vertigo. Medications like those used for seasickness might also be given.

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