Stop Spinning -- Vertigo Relief Without Drugs

FRESNO, Calif.

For avid gardener Shelby Bearden, it came from out of the blue.

"It came on like that," Bearden told Ivanhoe.

It's called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and it can be triggered just by moving your head.

It all starts in your ears. Normally, crystals called otoliths move around in the semicircular canals in your inner ear, touching tiny hair cells, which send information about your head's position to your brain. However, when one of those crystals becomes stuck in a canal, it makes the hair cells respond to changes in position that aren't really happening. That leads to the dizziness and nausea.

Kristy Olthoff is a physical therapist certified in vestibular rehab. She uses a special set of maneuvers, called a canalith repositioning procedure, to get people with BPPV back on their feet.

"I turn her head to the right, lay back with her head extended and that caused the crystal in the right posterior canal to move into this position down here. Then, the next position moved in here, until finally it ducked into that central part. Typically, with one session, with one treatment, people have no symptoms," Olthoff told Ivanhoe.

These exercises might seem simple, but Olthoff warns: don't try this at home.

Thanks to Olthoff, Bearden is no longer feeling dizzy.

"She cured me in one session. One session after six months of my life being on hold," Bearden said.

About 20 percent of people with vertigo actually have BPPV. In about half of all cases, there is no clear cause, but when one can be pinpointed, it's usually due to a blow to the head.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marsha Hitchcock at

Kristi Olthoff, PT
Certified in Vestibular Rehab
(623) 876- 5349

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