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What are the common causes of positional vertigo?

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Quick Answer

When small calcium crystals come loose from their normal location inside the inner ear and enter the fluid in that canal, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a common result, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Head trauma, intense aerobics, trail bike riding and aging can cause the condition.

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What are the common causes of positional vertigo?
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Full Answer

The crystals sometimes simply fall off their normal position or are more easily knocked off as people age, states JHM. Most people likely have some of these crystals already in the inner fluid of the ear, but not enough to cause the symptoms of vertigo. In most cases, it takes a sizable clump of the crystals to start the symptoms.

Meniere's disease and vestibular migraine headaches are two conditions that make dislodging of the crystals more likely, notes JHM. Sitting with one's head in the same position for extended amounts of time can also cause problems, such as when a person is on bed rest, sitting at the beauty parlor or undergoing treatment in a dentist's chair.

Positional vertigo can hit as the head changes its orientation in relation to the force of gravity, such as when turning over in bed, looking upward or leaning the head back while in the shower, explains JHM. Nausea, vomiting and other signs of motion sickness also occur at times. Treatment most commonly involves physical therapy movements to get the stones out of the canals inside the ear.

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