Today we are going to answer a question that I frequently hear (FAQ) from my patients which is, “Why do I get dizzy when I look up?”

The answer to that question is that dizziness with looking up – or what we call “Top Shelf Vertigo” – is a common symptom of the most common inner ear disorder, which is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV.

Some people that I have met who are suffering with BPPV only get dizzy when they look up. As soon as they return their head to level, the dizziness goes away.

Often they find that the dizziness comes when they’re putting in eyedrops, taking medications, or when they go to the dentist or the hairdresser, while they are lying back in a reclined position or looking up.

Some other conditions that may also cause dizziness with looking up include problems with your neck, such as cervical spondylosis, or problems with the blood flow to your brain.

What Can I Do To Stop Getting Dizzy When Looking Up?

BPPV is only one of the things that might cause dizziness when looking up and that usually requires an evaluation by a Vestibular Physical Therapist or Vertigo Doctor.

You can find a Vertigo Doctor or Vestibular Physical Therapist at the Vestibular Disorders Association.

A Vestibular Provider is specially trained to evaluate your symptoms of dizziness by looking up.

Different possible causes of dizziness looking up should be able to be assessed by a Vestibular Physical Therapist. Then they may be able to treat you themselves or refer you to someone else who specializes in that particular cause of dizziness.


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.

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