Benign Positional Vertigo

Vertigo means you feel like you or your surroundings are moving when they are not. Benign positional vertigo is the most common form of vertigo. Benign means that the cause of your condition is not serious. Benign positional vertigo is more common in older adults.

CAUSES

Benign positional vertigo is the result of an upset in the labyrinth system. This is an area in the middle ear that helps control your balance. This may be caused by a viral infection, head injury, or repetitive motion. However, often no specific cause is found.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of benign positional vertigo occur when you move your head or eyes in different directions. Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Loss of balance and falls.

  • Vomiting.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Dizziness.

  • Nausea.

  • Involuntary eye movements (nystagmus).

DIAGNOSIS

Benign positional vertigo is usually diagnosed by physical exam. If the specific cause of your benign positional vertigo is unknown, your caregiver may perform imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).

TREATMENT

Your caregiver may recommend movements or procedures to correct the benign positional vertigo. Medicines such as meclizine, benzodiazepines, and medicines for nausea may be used to treat your symptoms. In rare cases, if your symptoms are caused by certain conditions that affect the inner ear, you may need surgery.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Follow your caregiver's instructions.

  • Move slowly. Do not make sudden body or head movements.

  • Avoid driving.

  • Avoid operating heavy machinery.

  • Avoid performing any tasks that would be dangerous to you or others during a vertigo episode.

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop problems with walking, weakness, numbness, or using your arms, hands, or legs.

  • You have difficulty speaking.

  • You develop severe headaches.

  • Your nausea or vomiting continues or gets worse.

  • You develop visual changes.

  • Your family or friends notice any behavioral changes.

  • Your condition gets worse.

  • You have a fever.

  • You develop a stiff neck or sensitivity to light.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.