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Why do I feel dizzy, lightheaded and sick to my stomach when I turn my head suddenly, or get up from sitting or lying down?

To be clear, there are many reasons why this could be happening. However, one of the most common reasons for these symptoms is a condition known as BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo).

That is quite a mouthful, so most people just call this condition vertigo. BPPV/Vertigo occurs when tiny calcium particles clump up in the canals of the inner ear. This then causes the signals that the inner ear sends to the brain about head and body movements relative to gravity to be disrupted, which causes dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea, and affects your balance.

Most commonly, people with BPPV report that when they turn their head to the right or left, go from lying to sitting, or sitting to standing that they feel the room spinning, feel like they may vomit, stumble or fall especially to one side.

There are a few treatments available to get rid of vertigo/BPPV and its symptoms:

  • There is medication that can be used that addresses the symptoms of vertigo/BPPV until it hopefully resolves with time
  • There is surgery, which is rarely used and very ineffective
  • On occasion this issue can resolve on its own but usually returns
  • Last but not least, physical therapy is the most effective treatment of all because it addresses the reason why the BPPV/vertigo is occurring.

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Physical therapists at Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy are experts in the treatment and resolution of BPPV/vertigo. When you arrive for treatment, one of our physical therapists performs an evaluation on you using specific, special tests to determine whether or not the symptoms are truly due to vertigo/BPPV. Our physical therapist will ask specific questions as well to ensure your symptoms are not coming from medications you are taking or a recent concussion/head injury you may have had.

Once a physical therapist determines that your symptoms are indeed coming from BPPV/vertigo, then the therapist will put you through a specific set of positional movements that serve to realign the particles in the inner ear. This realignment can provide some fairly immediate relief of symptoms, usually within the first 24 hours of treatment.

Complete resolution of symptoms is usually seen within one to three treatments with a Cardin and Miller physical therapist.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that come with vertigo/BPPV, such as dizziness, spinning of the room, lightheadedness, nausea and/or loss of balance, call for a free screen at 717-245-0400 to see how we can help you resolve your vertigo symptoms.

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Steve Miller is the owner of Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy and can be reached by email at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com. His column will appear bi-monthly in the Thrive section of the Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.

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