What Can Cause BPPV?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a common disorder of the inner ear that causes brief episodes of dizziness or spinning sensations triggered by changes in head position. The primary cause of BPPV is the displacement of calcium carbonate crystals, known as otoconia or canaliths, from their usual position in the inner ear. The exact reasons for the displacement of these crystals are not always clear, but some potential causes and risk factors include:

  • Aging: BPPV is more common in older adults, and age-related changes in the inner ear may contribute to the development of the condition.
  • Head Injury: Trauma to the head, such as a blow to the head or a concussion, can displace the otoconia and lead to BPPV.
  • Inner Ear Disorders: Other inner ear conditions, such as vestibular neuritis or Meniere’s disease, may increase the risk of developing BPPV.
  • Viral Infections: Certain viral infections affecting the inner ear can lead to BPPV.
  • Prolonged Immobility: Being bedridden or immobile for an extended period, such as after surgery or illness, may increase the risk of otoconia displacement.
  • Migraines: Individuals who experience migraines may be at a higher risk of developing BPPV.
  • Certain Activities: Specific head movements or positions, especially those involving tilting or turning the head, may trigger or exacerbate BPPV.
  • Family History: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing BPPV, and a family history of the condition could increase the risk.

While the exact cause of BPPV is not always clear, it is often related to issues within the inner ear. The condition is typically not a sign of a serious health problem, and various treatments, such as canalith repositioning maneuvers (e.g., Epley maneuver), can be effective in alleviating symptoms and repositioning the displaced crystals. If you experience persistent or recurrent symptoms of dizziness or vertigo, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.