Recently I successfully treated myself for BPPV for the sixth time in my life and I also had a false alarm during an earthquake that seemed very similar. I want to share my experience with you because I often hear similar stories from my patients.


Living in California, it is sometimes hard to tell if I am experiencing vertigo or if we are having an earthquake.


I rolled over in bed the other day around 1am and felt like the whole bed was moving. 

My thoughts went something like this:

“If that was BPPV, I will fix myself in the morning when I wake up.

If I have a migraine, I will deal with it in the morning.

If my neck is out of alignment, I will call my physical therapist when I wake up.

No stress, relax and breathe.”


Then I fell back asleep. When I woke up in the morning, I was feeling fine so I forgot all about it.


That was my first clue that it was not BPPV, a migraine or upper cervical vertigo.


Later that day, in talking with some friends I learned that we had an earthquake that morning at 1am.


Years ago, I remember feeling similar sensations of vertigo during another major earthquake that we experienced on an Easter Sunday.


I recall feeling surprised when I heard my friends and family discussing the earthquake because I had just assumed I was having vertigo!



As a California resident who frequently experiences bouts of vertigo from multiple causes, I have realized that it is a good practice to ask my friends and neighbors, “Did we just have an earthquake?”


And I think to myself, “Or am I having vertigo again?”


Either way, I relax and breathe, knowing that I can handle it.


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

-Philippians 4:13 NKJV


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

Accessibility Toolbar