Vertigo header image: What is BPPV?
Headshot - Rhonda Zonoozi - Sun Health Center For Health & Wellness

Rhonda Zonoozi
Exercise Physiologist & Health Coach

BPPV is the most common type of vestibular disorders. It occurs when tiny crystals of calcium carbonate float into inner-ear canals, sending mixed messages to the brain. That results in brief bouts of vertigo, sometimes accompanied by nausea.

BPPV stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The name sounds scary, so let’s break it down.

Benign designates a noncancerous condition that does not spread. Benign conditions do not threaten health, even though their symptoms might be serious. Paroxysmal refers to a sudden outburst of symptoms, usually for a relatively short period. Positional, as it relates to BPPV, means certain head movements initiate the condition. Vertigo is a spinning sensation — either you or the room you’re in seems to be spinning.

BPPV is fairly common with most of the cases occurring for no known reason.  However, other conditions and diseases may be contributing factors so it’s important to receive a medical assessment of vertigo symptoms. Unfortunately, some may pass it off as something older adults must contend with. Not so. Most of the time BPPV cases can be treated with conservative measures including therapy.

Numerous websites present self-care instructions for BPPV therapy, but doing the treatment incorrectly can backfire. That’s why it’s important to get assistance from a doctor or a trained therapist.

Rhonda Zonoozi is an exercise physiologist/certified health coach at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing. Call 623-832-WELL (9355) for information.


(Originally published July 8, 2017; last updated Jan. 6, 2019.)

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