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BRUCE ROSEMAN, M.D.
Use the Epley maneuver to resolve benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. The chief symptom of BPPV is severe dizziness upon changing positions. Otoconia, or crystallized debris inside of the ear, becomes displaced. This interrupts the balance of the inner ear and creates a sense of motion. The Merck Manual Online states that BPPV can resolve itself in a matter of days, or linger for years. The Epley maneuver helps guide the Otoconia out of the inner ear to temporarily restore balance and eliminate vertigo.
1. To perform the Epley maneuver, start by positioning a pillow on the bed with the ends of the pillow pointing toward the head and foot of the bed. Sit on the end of the pillow with your legs extended straight in front of you. Slowly turn your head to each side and pause when you feel dizzy; the affected side corresponds to the vertigo sensation. Lay down so that the top end of the pillow is at the nape of your neck. Your head should be tilted slightly back with your chin higher than your forehead. Have someone help you get into position to prevent a fall. Lay in this position for at least three minutes.
2. Roll your head to the opposite side. Some people find it easier to roll their head straightforward and hold the position for 20 seconds, then continue to roll it to the non affected side. Once you are laying with the nonaffected side on the bed, hold the position for another three minutes. The goal is to allow gravity to guide the Otoconia out of the inner ear. Next, roll your entire body onto the non affected side. Keep your head still while you roll over, and your arms down. Hold this position for an additional three minutes.Turn your face so that your nose touches the mattress, and hold for two to three minutes.
3. Bend your neck so that your chin almost touches your chest. Keep your head in this position as you slowly sit up. Face forward as slowly as possible so the Otoconia does not become dislodged. Keep your chin down, and sit for a few minutes. Have your helper nearby to assist you when you are ready to stand up. The vertigo should be gone at this point.