We have the equipment and knowledge to help you manage any balance issues.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a vestibular disorder that causes vertigo. BPPV is caused when calcium deposits in the inner ear become dislodged from the otolithic membrane and settle in the semicircular canals. Any change in the position of the head causes these tiny crystals to shift, triggering dizziness.
What causes BPPV? There isn’t always an apparent cause when these calcium deposits break loose; however, it is commonly the result of a head injury, inner ear infection, damage from ear surgery, or prolonged back position associated with bed rest. Older individuals are susceptible to degeneration of the otolithic membrane related to normal aging.
The most common cause of BPPV is vertigo and the symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of balance, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, and concentration difficulties.
Vertigo is a form of dizziness characterized by the feeling that you or your environment is moving or spinning, despite the lack of actual movement. This sensation is caused by disturbances in the inner ear or brain.
Types of Vertigo
Peripheral vertigo is associated with problems in the inner ear. The vestibular system sends signals to the brain about the position of the head in relation to movement, enabling us to keep our balance and maintain equilibrium. When these signals are disrupted, vertigo occurs.
This is often caused by inflammation related to a viral infection and is commonly associated with two conditions: labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear’s labyrinth and vestibular nerve), and vestibular neuronitis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve).
Other causes of peripheral vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Ménierè’s disease. BPPV occurs when dislodged pieces of calcium move from the central part of the inner ear to the semicircular canals.
Central vertigo occurs when there is a problem in the brain, usually affecting the brainstem or cerebellum. These parts of the brain are responsible for interactions between the visual and balance systems; any disturbance can lead to vertigo. The most common cause of central vertigo is migraines. Other less common causes include stroke, tumors, acoustic neuroma, multiple sclerosis, alcohol, and certain drugs.
Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of vertigo you have. Some forms disappear without treatment. The most common type, BPPV, responds well to head maneuvers, while other types are successfully treated with medication. When the condition persists, physical therapy can help.
Pediatric Balance Disorders
The vestibular system controls balance and alignment and plays a crucial role in your child’s development. Disease or trauma can affect the development of normal movement and motor control. If your child is experiencing symptoms of dizziness or vertigo then the signals the brain is receiving from the vestibular system has been disrupted.
Testing for Pediatric Balance Disorders
We will first determine whether your child is suffering from lightheadedness or vertigo, then diagnose what underlying condition is causing these episodes. There are many possible factors, ranging from colds and allergies to anxiety, medications, inner ear disorders, and migraine headaches.
Treatment for balance disorders in children varies depending on the condition responsible. Often a cold or flu will run its course and symptoms will dissipate after a few days. A change in medication can reduce or eliminate side effects. Other treatment options include physical and occupational therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery.
If your child is experiencing problems with their balance or frequent symptoms of dizziness, call us today. We can help your child feel steady again.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are an existing patient, or would like to book a special appointment type (pediatric, balance, etc.), please call us to schedule.