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What are the Different Types of Benign Positional Vertigo Treatments?

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  • Written By: Clara Kedrek
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Benign positional vertigo is a condition that results in short episodes of intense dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. These periods of dizziness can last from seconds to minutes and typically recur with certain head positions. Benign positional vertigo treatments primarily involve being put through a variety of maneuvering techniques to reposition the debris within the vestibular system that is causing the symptoms. Treatment of the condition in the acute phase can also be achieved with a number of medications.

To understand benign positional vertigo treatments, it is important to understand why the condition occurs. The inner ear contains a system of canals that contain endolymphatic fluid and are positioned perpendicular to one another. This system of fluid-filled cavities allows the body to sense its own position. With benign positional vertigo, debris called canaloliths accumulates in the canals and causes abnormal stimulation of the inner ear. This abnormal stimulation results in dizziness.

One short-term solution to the symptoms of benign positional vertigo is to avoid positions that induce dizziness. This is not a permanent, long-term solution. It can, however, help temporarily relieve symptoms if it is not immediately possible to visit a doctor.

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Perhaps the most important of the benign positional vertigo treatments is the use of repositioning maneuvers. In these techniques, the affected person’s head is put through a specific sequence of movements with the intent of displacing the canaloliths into the membranous sacs of the vestibular system; moving the debris to this part of the inner ear allows it to be reabsorbed. The repositioning maneuvers might have to be repeated numerous times for the canaloliths to be dislodged. After the maneuvering procedures are finished, the affected person should avoid lying flat for a couple days. Repositioning maneuvers can be performed by physicians or other trained healthcare professionals.

Medications important to benign positional vertigo treatments include a number of classes of pharmaceutical drugs. It is important to note that these medications do not cure benign positional vertigo, but they can help decrease the symptoms it causes. One class of medications used is the anticholinergic drugs, such as scopolamine. This type of medication is used to help those who get seasickness, and similarly can help the dizziness caused by benign positional vertigo. Antihistamine agents such as diphenhydramine can also be used to treat dizziness caused by benign positional vertigo.

Patients who do not improve with use of the most common benign positional vertigo treatments could be candidates for a therapy called vestibular rehabilitation. With this option, patients are taught Brandt-Daroff exercises, a series of exercises that can be done at home. With time, practicing these exercises should decrease the symptoms brought on by benign positional vertigo.

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