Anytime that I treat a patient for BPPV, I always educate them on the possibility that BPPV symptoms could recur in the future.
Of course, I also encourage them to contact me right away so they don’t get the run around, develop a fear of falling or experience physical deconditioning from chronic unresolved dizziness and vertigo.
The following is the most common way that I describe a recurrence of BPPV symptoms to my patients before I send them on their merry way.
I say, “If you roll over in bed in the middle of the night or wake up first thing in the morning feeling dizzy, that is likely BPPV. If you find yourself walking like a drunken sailor, that is most likely BPPV. If you notice that you are bumping into walls, then you most likely have BPPV again.”
When I say this to my patients, they almost always chuckle and recall their own story or a friend that is experiencing these BPPV symptoms.
Of course, there are many other BPPV symptoms that I could describe to people but these three seem to hit home the hardest.
Most people with BPPV tell me that they either rolled over and felt it in the middle of the night or woke up with the BPPV symptoms first thing in the morning.
Therefore, that is a common way I am able to teach my patients to detect if they are experiencing a recurrence of BPPV symptoms.
A woman I was discussing this topic with today commented, “You know, I have a dear friend who keeps bumping into walls. She just sort of walks around bouncing off the walls literally, but she says she does not feel dizzy. I told her I think she has BPPV and she needs to get it checked out since it is so easy to fix once you find the right provider.”
Her friend’s experience is the classic “walking into walls” BPPV symptom. This can occur when someone has BPPV – with or without an active complaint of dizziness or vertigo – and needs to be addressed to prevent falls.
Another example is my beloved late grandmother Pat who passed away last December. She fell about 5-6 times over the last 11 years while I was her intermittent caregiver and she never complained of dizziness or vertigo.
She would simply say, “I feel like a drunken sailor so I think you need to check me for the crystals again.”
Every single time she had an unexplained fall due to walking like a drunken sailor, I would find a positive BPPV test when I assessed her. As soon as I treated her, she could walk straight and steady again right away.
The key point of Pat’s story is to understand that she never complained of dizziness and vertigo, but had unexplained repeated falls and always tested positive for BPPV.
Her experience was the “walking like a drunken sailor” BPPV symptom. This feeling can also occur when someone has BPPV, with or without an active complaint of dizziness or vertigo.
I hope you find this particular blog helpful in identifying current or future episodes of BPPV.
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.
So what does BPPV stand for, is it dangerous and what could be done to cure it. I need more information please.
You are in luck because I have published a lot of free helpful information about BPPV on VertigoDetective.com.
You can visit that website and type BPPV into the search feature.
This blog contains links to many other blogs on the topic of BPPV and BPPV treatment.
This blog discusses the consequences of untreated BPPV.
This page describes what BPPV stands for.
I hope that information is helpful!
Kim Bell, DPT
I live 4 hrs. from you or I would come visit you. I have had vertigo for about 3 months now. I am not as dizzy but my brain is foggy, it is hard to focus and remember things. I have been seeing a Physical therapist and she is having me do different balance exercises. My balance is alot better. I do not like my head feeling foggy, etc. When will that go away? Thank you.
I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I am so glad to hear that your balance is getting a lot better!
You can check out my blog on Vertigo Memory Problems for more information.
A key point is that many things beyond vestibular problems can cause brain fog.
It is possible your head feeling foggy is from the vertigo and it is possible it is unrelated.
Without knowing the root cause of your brain fog, I really cannot speculate on when you can expect to feel relief.
Hi Dr. Bell,
My name is Hilary. I recently returned from the USA.
My brain is foggy and I am experiencing a lot of dizziness.
I had trouble popping my ear when the plane landed. It has been a week and I still feel dizzy if I am upright for too long particularly on mornings.
I did suffer from ear infections and sinus as a child.
Are my childhood illnesses coming back to haunt me?
(I am from the Caribbean)
Your case sounds a bit complex.
There could be many different factors involved here.
I suggest you notify your primary doctor and follow his or her recommendations for next steps.
You can also use this article to search for doctors or physical therapists who specialize in dizziness.
Hi Dr. Bell,
Just today in the middle of my sleep when I rolled over I felt dizzy. I did not gave much attention and get back to sleep.
When I woke up I felt it again. It occurred more when going to lay down than about to stand.
The whole day I am just resting.
And I felt my hearing is like airy. I can sense a little rumbling air like feeling, especially when using single ear piece. Felt in on my left ear.
This article may help.
I hope you feel better soon!
I was told by my dr to sit up straight for 48 hours and not bend my head after I had a treatment ..
What if I accidentally bend my head what will happen?
Those instructions can help the vertigo treatment to set in place better.
If you accidentally bend your head, you may just need more treatments.
But you may have needed more treatments anyways, even if you didn’t bend your head.
Do the best you can to follow the instructions, but don’t let it stress you out or cause you to obsess or worry too much because that will slow down your healing.
I suggest going back to the same doctor for follow up if you’re still having symptoms.
I hope you feel better soon!