June 17, 2012
The Magic Maneuver
Last night I gave in. I did an Epley maneuver on myself. I hate doing it. It makes me feel so dizzy and ill during the process, and then nauseated for a time afterwards. But, I’m much better for it today. Whew!
For many years I’ve dealt with a vestibular disorder, which causes bouts of dizziness and problems with my balance. Often, an Epley maneuver can help dissipate the dizziness when it occurs, depending on what is causing it. Since the Epley is non-invasive and can’t hurt, it is worth a try, but I tend to stall because, in my case, it temporarily feels so awful. I’m a coward. I keep hoping the spinning will pass on its own. It usually doesn’t and I usually end up giving in. This week, it didn’t go away, so……
I didn’t do the Epley until I went to bed, so I wouldn’t have to do anything afterwards except concentrate on feeling miserable and sorry for myself. When I awoke this morning, however, and turned over to get out of bed, the room didn’t twirl. It worked! I’m so glad, because my son, his wife, and their little one are coming to visit and I don’t want to be feeling unwell while they are here.
The Epley maneuver, named for the doctor who discovered it, is believed to move particles in the semicircular canal of the inner ear out of the area where they are creating havoc. The condition it works so well for is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, (BPPV) and is the most common cause of dizziness. It is more likely to happen to people like me, who already have another vestibular condition.
One of the ways you can identify BPPV is if the dizziness occurs mostly when you move your head, like up or down, or roll over in bed. Physiotherapists who deal with vestibular disorders know how to perform the Epley, and most physicians today are familiar with the maneuver. I DON’T RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO IT YOURSELF. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN. I was carefully coached by my own wonderful physiotherapist, who did it on me so many times, she thought I could finally manage it by myself.
For more information about vestibular disorders, go to the B.C. Balance and Dizziness Disorders Society’s website: www.balanceanddizziness.org