Friday, September 05, 2014

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Henceforth known as BPPV is a condition caused by calcium crystals that become dislodged from the utricle, one of the sensory organs of the inner ear.

I first experienced symptoms after being involved in a cycling/car collision in 2011. Having bounced my head of the pavement quite hard(Fyi - helmets do work to prevent more serious injuries- writing this post an example of that) I suspect the blunt force impact dislodged the otoconia.

What I attributed as post concussion like symptoms are probably actually BPPV related and a result of both my age(51) and concussion history. For most the onset is the result of aging or injury so I have the misfortune of possessing both factors.

Initially it was periodic vertigo episodes but has since progressed to constant dizzyness when standing suddenly,especially in the morning when getting out of bed. I have also begun to experience vertigo when laying prone on my right side or shifting from side to side.. I suspect my right ear is the issue and it makes sense as my 2011 fall saw my right upper forehead take the impact from the ground. I can also experience symptoms when I look down and to my right over my shoulder or if I stretch my arms over my head and move my head to the right. That particular maneuver illicits the strongest response. Not pleasant at all. Lying on my back doing ab crunches or on the bench doing chest presses also results in an " at sea" feeling.

Like classic BPPV the vertigo passes quickly but is still a nuisance at best and potentially troublesome at worse considering my active lifestyle and the sports I choose to play; cycling,ball hockey, weight training and softball. So far I have had no issues while cycling or playing hockey but usually feel worse with mild head ache and increased lightheadedness the following day.

I am comforted knowing that I am(probably) a classic case study of BPPV ( and nothing more serious) but will now seek an official diagnosis to put it to bed. I will also practice the Epley Maneuver to help reposition the loose crystals to a less sensitive part of the semicircular canal. No really cure for it other than retraining the brain to recognize the mixed signals received from the inner ear. Waking every morning with that hangover like vertigo induced "spinning" just really bites...... getting old. The body is aging but the ambitions are still 20 something. The brain is willing but the body is quickly becoming less forgiving.


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