Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a balance problem that makes you feel like you're spinning or tilting (vertigo) if you move your head a certain way. BPPV is caused by a problem in your inner ear. Tiny calcium "stones" inside your inner ear help you keep your balance. Normally, when you move a certain way, such as when you stand up or turn your head, these stones move around. Sometimes these stones move into an area of your inner ear called the semicircular canal. When you move your head in certain ways, the stones move. Sensors in the semicircular canal are triggered by the stones, which causes a feeling of dizziness.

A vertigo attack usually lasts less than a minute. A doctor can move your head in ways that adjust the stones so they don't affect your balance. But even without treatment, the attacks will usually go away on their own in a few weeks.

Current as of: December 2, 2016

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine