Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo typically occurs in people 60 years of age and older. However, it can occur in people of any age. It isn’t often serious, except when the dizziness increases the likelihood of falling. If the dizziness is accompanied by a severe headache, a fever of 101 degrees fahrenheit, double vision or blindness, hearing loss, trouble speaking, extremity weakness, blackouts, falls, numbness, or chest pain, something else may be going on, and immediate medical attention is necessary. In addition to loss of balance, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo also can cause blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Episodes come and go, and symptoms rarely last longer than a few minutes—if that. Most people have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in one ear only, although it is possible to have it in both ears. Head trauma and inner ear damage can cause benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, but often the cause remains unknown. Treatment typically involves a canalith repositioning procedure, which consists of simple movements designed to move particles from the fluid-filled inner ear canals to the vestibule that houses the utricle (one of the otolith organs). There, the particles are more easily absorbed. Most people report symptom improvement after one to two sessions.