Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common type of dizziness. Benign means not life threatening, paroxysmal means a brief burst, positional indicates the problem occurs with certain body movements to a given position, and vertigo means a spinning sensation.
BPPV is thought to be caused by loose particles, or degenerative debris, in the balance portion of the inner ear, which have moved to an area in which they are not normally found. Certain body movements cause these particles to move, causing a perception of spinning and dizziness.
Nearly all people with this disorder report episodes of vertigo that is usually caused by a specific head movement. BPPV can occur in adults of all ages, but most occur in middle-aged and elderly individuals. BPPV is uncommon in children and has not been reported in children under the ages of 11. BPPV occurs spontaneously, but can be associated with head trauma or labyrinthitis (an inflammation of the membranes in the inner ear).
Spontaneous remission of BPPV is common, but in some people it is annoying and disruptive to everyday activities. Treatment for BPPV may include repositioning maneuvers. These maneuvers are safe, simple and provide immediate relief from symptoms for many people.