Benign positional vertigo

Benign positional vertigo

The sense of motion comes from the inner ear, a series of fluid-filled chambers. Within each of three semicircular canals, a jelly-like mass known as the cupula contains hair cells connected to nerve fibers. As the head moves, fluid flows past the cupula triggering the sensation of motion. The canals are at right angles to one another, so movement in any direction causes fluid to move around at least one of the canals.

Sense of orientation (up, down, side to side) occurs in the utricle and saccule. Sensitive hair cells penetrate in a jelly-like mass containing chunks of calcium carbonate called otoliths. As gravity pulls on the otoliths, the hair cells are stimulated, creating the sense of position.

If otoliths break free and enter the semicircular canals, they can interfere with the cupulae and cause the sensation of vertigo. Treatments, called the Epley and Semont maneuvers have been developed to dislodge the otoliths, a series of movements and pauses that varies depending on the cause. After treatment, the patient may need to keep their head upright for up to 48 hours to allow debris to settle out of harm’s way. How-to videos about these maneuvers can be found online.

Text and illustrations by Kevin T. Boyd

Inner ear
Ear lobe
Ear drum
Inner ear
Hair cells
Nerve fibers
Semicircular canals
Hair cells
Head upright

Acupressure for vertigo
Here is a list of acupressure points for Vertigo or Dizziness on You may also want to try finding points for the specific body part that hurts, using the friendly body browser or the A-Z list of symptoms and body areas.
If this is your first time, please read the instructions. Don’t use acupressure to replace standard emergency procedures or licensed medical treatment. If you are seriously injured or have acute┬ásymptoms seek urgent medical treatment.