Each year, nearly half of all people experience the sensation of whirling and loss of balance known as vertigo.
Sometimes such incidents are indications of a medical illness, but often they result from a mechanical imbalance of the inner ear, called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
In many cases, a trained professional can alleviate the symptoms within moments by simply repositioning the head.
An audiologist or other therapist must initially determine if the symptoms are caused by this benign condition by turning the patient’s head from side to side and seeing if the patient develops nystagmus, which is a rapid and involuntary eye movement.
To bring rapid relief, the therapist then turns the patient’s head in several positions while the patient is sitting or standing.
This movement, called an “Epley maneuver,” allows gravity to shift inner ear crystals so they float back into their proper place. It often brings about instant relief.
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