My life journey as a cancer survivor can pivot periodically, and sometimes I’m left dizzy, usually figuratively but lately quite literally. The last 2 months I have had vertigo and will be getting a brain scan on Friday to make sure it is truly a vertigo disorder instead of something more serious.
Vertigo and BPPV
So far, all signs point to what is called BPPV.
“Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is an inner ear problem that causes short periods of dizziness when your head is moved in certain positions. … This dizzy sensation called vertigo usually only lasts a few seconds up to a minute, but often makes you feel like the room is spinning around you.” -Shannon L. G. Hoffman PT, DPT
In BPPV, calcium crystals become loose and go into one of the semi-circular canals. When you move your head a certain way, the crystals move inside the canal, irritate the nerve endings, and you become dizzy.” -Shannon L. G. Hoffman PT, DPT
BPPV is treated with simple neck maneuvers usually performed a physician or physical therapist designed to move the crystals from the canal back into the area where they came from. The most common maneuver designed to fix the problem is called the Epley maneuver, which involves moving the head through a series of 4 positions, staying in each position for about 30-60 seconds. Another maneuver is called the Semont maneuver, which involves rapidly moving the body from lying on one side to lying on the other.
BPPV can return once you have had an episode, and often the treatment is ongoing.
My Story with Vertigo
I have had vertigo since early January, and it is now late February. I noticed dizziness when I would get up out of bed in the middle of the night to use the restroom. My gait would be off and the room would shift almost in waves. I also noticed it when horizontal and I would turn from one side to the other while falling asleep. It is a strange sensation to be dizzy while laying down!