Head Spinning? We Have the Solution!

Maybe you’ve heard someone say that they have vertigo if they stood up too fast. Often, people use the words “vertigo” and “dizzy” interchangeably, when in fact, vertigo is an unpleasant and very real medical condition. We explain what vertigo is, what causes it, and what you can do to regain your equilibrium.

Vertigo Is…

Vertigo is actually caused by an inner ear problem that creates periods of dizziness and the sensation of spinning in your head. One of the most common cause of vertigo, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), occurs when your head moves in certain positions. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), this type of vertigo occurs most often when the person is lying down, rolling over in bed, or looking up.

What Causes It?

This is where it starts to sound weird, but stay with us. “Ear rocks.” That’s right. According to the APTA, little pieces of calcium carbonate (ear rocks”) break off from part of your inner ear and move to another part of your inner ear, throwing your sense of balance and equilibrium out of whack. When you move your head a certain way, these tiny crystals move and irritate nerve endings which result in vertigo.

What Causes That?

Now that you know you have tiny rocks in your ears, what can make them break loose and cause vertigo? The APTA says that the crystals can become loose for a variety of reasons: head trauma, infection, aging, and in some cases, there isn’t a known cause. 


Although experiencing BPPV can be unpleasant and unsettling, luckily there is hope and treatment available. The APTA states that you’ll undergo testing and confirm a diagnosis; however, most people with BPPV recover after visiting a physical therapist and undergoing a course of very specific treatment. Your physical therapist will perform a well-researched and documented maneuver designed to move the crystals back into the appropriate area of your inner ear. The most common treatment, according to the APTA, is the Epley maneuver, in which the physical therapist will guide you through a series of four head positions, each for between 30-60 seconds. Your physical therapist could also use the Semont maneuver, in which your body is moved rapidly from lying on one side to the other.  (Although surgery is an option, the APTA notes it is extremely rare and often a last resort for those for whom traditional treatment methods have failed.) Your physical therapist will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your BPPV and help get you back on solid ground.

If you’re experiencing vertigo, balance problems, or other movement issues, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help. Our highly-trained, experienced, and caring physical therapists work with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to help get you back on your feet. We’re locally-owned and operated, with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t wait to improve your health, take the first step on your health and wellness journey and call Body One today!