How to Perform The Epley Maneuver

By Contributor

Do you experience repeated but brief episodes of sudden dizziness or vertigo? So called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) may seem harmless but for the many individuals troubled by it BPPV is both frightening and inconvenient. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo occurs when sand-like particles called canaliths in the inner ear space become dislodged and move into more sensitive inner ear locations. Fortunately there is a simple and inexpensive technique called the Epley maneuver which has been shown to be effective in repositioning these canaliths and treating benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. How do you properly perform the Epley maneuver?

Begin by sitting upright in the middle of your bed. Rotate your head horizontally towards the ear causing your symptoms approximately 45 degrees. Maintain this position for one minute.

Keep your head and neck at this 45 degree angle and gently lie down. Maintain this position for one minute. This position will likely provoke either transient dizziness or vertigo.

While still lying flat on your back slowly rotate your head towards your good ear as far as possible or approximately 90 degrees. Maintain this position for one minute. This position may again provoke either transient dizziness or vertigo.

With your head still rotated maximally towards your good ear slowly roll your entire body on to your "good side". Keep your head and neck fixed as much as possible. If done properly you should be able to stare down at the floor. Maintain this position for one minute.

Finally to complete the Epley maneuver return to a sitting position with your head up but flexed forward approximately 45 degrees. Maintain this position for one minute.

Most reference sources state that the Epley maneuver should take five minutes to complete. Three complete cycles should be performed prior to going to bed.

Tips

The Epley maneuver should initially be performed by a trained therapist or medical physician; after that, it can be modified and performed at home. Avoid rapid changes in head position that might provoke benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It's best to perform the Epley maneuver before going to bed at night. Prop your head up with a couple of pillows when sleeping until your symptoms have resolved. Avoid extending your head back on a repeated basis until your symptoms have resolved.

Warnings

If you experience weakness, headache, numbness or changes in vision immediately discontinue the Epley maneuver and seek medical attention. The Epley maneuver works for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo only. Therefore the Epley maneuver should be performed at home only after BPPV has been confirmed. The Epley maneuver is safe and relatively effective when properly performed. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can nevertheless recur.

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