Canalith repositioning (CRP) is a simple, effective treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
BPPV occurs when some small, but heavy particles called otoconia come loose and settle in one of the semi-circular canals in your inner ear.
When you change position (tilting your head back, rolling over in bed or lying down), the debris moves through the canal causing a temporary fluid imbalance (much like the wake from a speeding boat).
Before beginning canalith repositioning your doctor will use a test to determine whether or not you have BPPV and where in the inner ear the otoconia debris is located.
If the test is positive, your doctor will begin CRP, which involves a series of timed head movements to move the otoconia debris out of the affected ear canal and into the vestibule. During CRP, your doctor will help you:
- Roll your head to the side, lying down
- Roll onto your side (opposite the affected ear) with your nose pointed to the floor
- Rise to a sitting position
The specific movements will depend on the location of the otoconia debris in your ear. You may feel nauseous for a short time afterward and are encouraged to avoid lying on your back for a few hours.
CRP can resolve symptoms quickly, with over 90 percent effectiveness. BPPV is known to recur in up to 50 percent of patients, and while there is no way to predict or prevent recurrences, treatment can provide fast relief.