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Last updated: 7-28-11


One of its causes has a simple cure!

by Tom LeBlanc, PT

Do you suffer from dizziness or vertigo?

Do you feel dizzy when you move your head quickly, or does the room seem to spin whenever you lie down, roll over or get out of bed?

If you experience these symptoms, you might be among a small percentage of people who have a condition called Positional Vertigo, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a type of dizziness, or vertigo, caused by tiny particles that are trapped in the “balance tubes” of the inner ear (semicircular canal). The particles that cause the problem are called canaliths. These particles may break loose as a result of trauma, prolonged inactivity or ear disease. When the head is moved, canalith movement in the inner ear fluid causes nystagmus, which is an involuntary eye movement.

Dr. John Epley
A brilliant physician, Dr. John Epley, founder and medical director of the Portland Otologic Clinic, studied this phenomenon and pioneered a revolutionary non-invasive, non-drug treatment to correct the problem. Known as the “Epley Maneuver” (Canalith Repositioning Maneuver), the treatment is both simple and effective.

Dr. Epley theorized that when loose particles are allowed to move in the semicircular canals of the inner ear they induce nystagmus, which is an involuntary eye movement pattern that makes it seem like the room is spinning.

He developed a procedure whereby the patient’s head is systematically moved into various positions. By performing the proper movement sequence he found that he could literally lead these tiny particles out of the inner ear canals, thus eliminating dizziness and vertigo symptoms.

This simple procedure is known as  "canalith repositioning" or, more commonly, The Epley Maneuver. It’s quick, effective and usually takes but one or two treatments to bring about dramatic symptom relief.

For more information about Dr. Epley, click here to visit his Web site.

Who can perform the Epley Maneuver?
Dr. Epley, of course, performs the procedure in his Portland clinic, but physical therapists around the world are learning how to perform the maneuver, as well.

The Epley Maneuver can be performed on Transition Home clients, too. However, if you aren’t a resident of Transition Home (located in Baker City, Oregon) or if you’re unable to drive to Portland, Oregon, call physical therapists in your area. Ask them if they can perform the Epley Maneuver.

Any condition that can make you dizzy, decrease your balance or compromise your gait stability can lead to serious injury. We encourage you to seek professional help to find the cause of your vertigo as quickly as possible. Your physician can discuss the many causes of dizziness and vertigo with you.

(Another potential cause of loss of balance is related to your pelvis. See our article on upslips.)

This article may be copied as long as as this information box remains.

Tom LeBlanc PT has been a physical therapist for over 30 years. His experience includes working in all of the above caregiving environments. He is currently developing a FREE teleseminar on Caregiver Secrets. He also hosts Home Entrepreneurs News, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and business seekers find the business that is right for them. One of his “featured Businesses” is detailed in his article, Become a Personal Caregiver.



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