You may have seen your health care provider because you have had benign positional vertigo. It is also called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo and the easiest to treat.
What to Expect
Your provider may have treated your vertigo with the Epley maneuver. These are head movements that correct the inner ear problem that causes BPPV. After you go home:
- For the rest of the day, DO NOT bend over.
- For several days after treatment, DO NOT sleep on the side that triggers symptoms.
- Follow any other specific instructions your provider gave you.
Most of the time, treatment will cure BPPV. Sometimes, vertigo may return after a few weeks. About half the time, BPPV will come back later on. If this happens, you will need to be treated again. Your provider may prescribe medicines that can help relieve spinning sensations. But, these medicines often do not work well for treating the actual vertigo.
If vertigo returns, remember that you can easily lose your balance, fall, and hurt yourself. To help keep symptoms from getting worse and to help keep you safe:
- Sit down right away when you feel dizzy.
- To get up from a lying position, slowly sit up and stay seated for a few moments before standing.
- Make sure you hold on to something when standing.
- Avoid sudden movements or position changes.
- Ask your provider about using a cane or other walking aid when you have a vertigo attack.
- Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during a vertigo attack. They may make symptoms worse.
- Avoid activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing while you are having symptoms.
To keep your symptoms from getting worse, avoid the positions that trigger it. Your provider may show you how to treat yourself at home for BPPV. A physical therapist may be able to teach you other exercises to reduce your symptoms.
Having BPPV can be stressful. Make healthy lifestyle choices to help you cope:
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. DO NOT overeat.
- Exercise regularly, if possible.
- Get enough sleep.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
- Learn to ease stress by using relaxation techniques, such as yoga, tai chi, or progressive muscle relaxation.
When to Call the Doctor
You should call your provider if:
- Symptoms of vertigo return
- You have new symptoms
- Your symptoms are getting worse
- Home treatment does not work
Vertigo - positional - aftercare; Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo - aftercare; BPPV - aftercare; Dizziness - positional vertigo
Bhattacharyya N, Gubbels SP, Schwartz SR, et al. Clinical practice guideline: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (update). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;156(3_suppl):S1-S47. PMID: 28248609 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28248609.
Crane BT, Minor LB. Peripheral vestibular disorders. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 165.
Millar JL, Schubert MC, Shepard NT. Vestibular and balance rehabilitation: program essentials. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 168.
Review Date 4/15/2018
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.