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Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is an inner ear condition. BPPV is also called positional vertigo or benign (not life-threatening) paroxysmal nystagmus. With BPPV you have paroxysmal (sudden) attacks of vertigo when you change your head position. Vertigo is the sudden feeling that you or the room is moving or spinning. With each attack of vertigo, you may have nystagmus. Nystagmus is a quick, shaky eye movement that you cannot control. The attacks of vertigo and nystagmus last from a few seconds up to 1 minute. BPPV attacks may cause an upset stomach and vomiting and may increase your risk for falls.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Help reduce your symptoms:

  • Avoid sudden head movements.

  • Limit how often you bend over at the waist.

  • Keep your head raised up on pillows when you lie down. Try not to stay in bed for long periods of time. Change your position often if you are on bed rest.

Do vestibular and balance rehabilitation exercises:

You may need to go to vestibular and balance rehabilitation therapy (VBRT). During VBRT, you learn exercises to improve your balance and strength. VBRT may help decrease your dizziness and prevent injuries if you are at risk for falls. Ask for more information about VBRT and exercises to decrease your symptoms.

For more information:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
    11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
    Leawood , KS 66211-2680
    Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
    Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
    Web Address:
  • American Hearing Research Foundation
    8 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 814
    Chicago , IL 60603-4539
    Phone: 1- 312 - 726-9670
    Web Address:

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms, such as vertigo or nystagmus, get worse.

  • You feel anxious or depressed and do not want to leave your home.

  • You have problems with your balance, or you fall often.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a severe headache that does not go away.

  • You have new changes in your vision and feel weak or confused.

  • You have problems hearing, or you have ringing or buzzing in your ears.

  • Your BPPV symptoms return and last longer than 1 minute.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.