A new guideline was published in the May 27 issue of Neurology, stating that the “Best Treatment for Vertigo Is Easiest One”. The Guideline urges immediate therapy with a simple series of head, body movements to clear the inner ear of otoconial debris on the affected side. The guideline published by the American Academy of Neurology, goes on to describe several maneuvers which can be performed efficaciously to treat the alleged benign, Paroxismal Positional Vertigo, aka BPPV, an extremely common cause of vertigo.
“The good news is that this type of vertigo is easily treated. Instead of telling patients to ‘wait it out’ or having them take drugs, we can perform a safe and quick treatment that is immediate and effective,” guideline author Dr. Terry D. Fife, of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Barrow Neurological Institute, said in a prepared statement. This is a statement which I happen to agree with as too many people suffering with vertigo are simply told to “learn to live with it”. In light of the simplicity of this diagnosis and treatment, being told to learn to live with it is not only a ridiculous thing to say, but also a clue as to the competency of the individual making the assessment.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is caused by loose calcium carbonate crystals, (otoconia), that become dislodged in the vestibular labyrinthine canals. The maneuvers recommended in the guideline move the crystals out of the canals and into another part of the labyrinth, where they can be destroyed by your bodies natural immune system.
My office has been successfully treating this disorder probably longer than anyone in the area, and with great success. It remains unfortunate however that the general population goes to their PCP, (primary care provider), first, and is typically treated with inappropriate drug therapies, which often times cause profound dizziness as a side affect. Additionally, referrals for a myriad of completely unnecessary and expensive diagnostic testing are also typical. This is unfortunate in light of the fact that better than 97% of these tests will not yield any useful information at all, and most will cost around $1000. It just seems to make a lot more sense to treat the disorder quickly and appropriately and be done with it, at a fraction of the cost.