What is Vertigo and How Can We Treat It?

What is Vertigo and How Can We Treat It?

By Physiotherapist Manas Moholkar

      When we speak about vertigo, we need to remember and imagine days in our childhood when we would spin around in a park and feel that the entire world is spinning once we stop and stand still. It used to be fun as it was a part of our playing, but imagine if this spinning feeling was a part of your daily life.
What is Vertigo and How Can We Treat It?

This is certainly not a fun feeling and no one would be keen to live a life like this. This constant feeling of spinning or dizziness is called Vertigo.

What is Vertigo and How Can We Treat It?

What does Vertigo feel like?

Vertigo is a symptom and not a disease.

Typically one would experience- dizziness, nausea, sometimes vomiting, a feeling of the eyes moving involuntarily.

What Causes Vertigo?

There are many causes for a person to experience Vertigo, but one of the most common causes is due to a problem in the inner ear which experienced Physio’s can treat. It is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – Now that is a mouthful so we call it BPPV.

BPPV is caused when free flowing crystals at the base of the inner ear are dislodged from their place and end up in one of the three semicircular canals located in the inner ear. These crystals are like little rocks. We often joke with patients that they have rocks in their head!
See the semicircular canals in the image below.

What is Vertigo and How Can We Treat It?

What Triggers Vertigo or BPPV?

BPPV related dizziness happens when there is a sudden change in the position of the head. Typically a person would describe it as the entire room or world is spinning.

One must understand such episodes are often triggered by head movement and is not about body position.

For e.g. people often have vertigo whilst doing some of the following simple things:

  • getting in and out of bed,
  • giving a kiss,
  • turning their head from side to side,
  • looking up while hanging clothes.

Who is more likely to get Vertigo or BPPV?

BPPV can come on suddenly, it can happen in healthy individuals of all age groups and to men, women and children.

Vertigo is common in people who have had a concussion, a head injury and patients with hearing deficits.

How do we treat Vertigo or BPPV?

As a Vestibular Physiotherapist I have the expertise to assess and diagnose what is causing your Vertigo or Dizziness.

I will perform a thorough assessment of your eye function, semicircular canals and balance.
Based on this assessment and my findings I will provide treatment to help to reposition the crystals back to where they should be. What I do to treat is very specific to which semicircular canal the crystals have lodged in.

BPPV can be managed effectively and quality of life can be improved. The above mentioned management is non-invasive and most patients would expect 90-100% relief after treatment.

The video Below will show you how we assess and then treat Vertigo caused by BPPV.


In my next blog, I will discuss about management of impaired eye function & motion sickness.

Book An Appointment

Come and have a chat with one of our physiotherapists to see if we can help improve your health. Book online or call the clinic on (03) 5232 2400.

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