Vertigo or dizziness?

Sinus Headache

Many times, dizziness and vertigo are used interchangeably. However, the two are quite distinct with vertigo relating to a sensation of the environment moving or spinning. On the other hand, dizziness is a sensation of light-headedness, feeling faint and woozy, and unsteady with loss of balance.


Vertigo is a symptom of a range of conditions, so it is important to share your detailed health history.

Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common type. Although not fully understood, BPPV is thought to arise due to the displacement of otoconia (small crystals of calcium carbonate) from the inner ear into the fluid-filled semicircular canals. These semicircular canals are sensitive to gravity and changes in head position can be a trigger for BPPV.

Benign= not harmful 

Paroxysmal= sudden onset 

Positional= positionally triggered 

Vertigo= sense of the world moving.


The vertigo may be triggered by tilting the head, rolling over in bed, looking up/under and sudden head motions.

How is BPPV assessed?

The inner ear is responsible for keeping your eyes steady during head movement. The tests use will assess (Nystagmus) involuntary repetitive eye movement in response to head movements as well as the vertigo. Nystagmus can present with different eye movement directions in different clinical tests. This leads to the diagnosis and correct identification of the canal affected in BPPV

Management of BPPV

There are some techniques that can be used to reposition the crystals, dependent on the canal in which they are. The most commonly used   technique is the called the Epley manoeuvre, however, there are other effective methods that can be used depending on individual findings during the assessment. You will be given advice on
life-style changes such as avoiding lying on the side that tends to trigger the vertigo.

If you need a further support, please contact Proactive Physiotherapy 07 4053 6222