Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Q. What causes someone to have BPPV?


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is most commonly attributed to calcium debris within the inner ear. Up to one third of cases are of unknown origin, other cases may be due to minor head trauma. In the remainder, BPPV is a residual effect of a variety of inner ear pathologies, most commonly Ménière's disease.

If the diagnosis of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) has been confirmed at a medical visit, your doctor or physical therapist may treat you with repositioning maneuvers which encourage the debris to exit out of the canals to where these particles don’t cause trouble and are more easily reabsorbed.

Self-treatment with the modified Epley maneuver may serve a complementary role for those who do not respond immediately. Please click here for instructions.

Other tips to consider:

  • Be aware of the possibility of losing your balance, which can lead to falling and serious injury.
  • Sit down immediately when you feel dizzy.
  • Use good lighting if you get up at night.
  • Walk with a cane for stability, if you are at risk of a fall.
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