Previously, I have covered the topic of BPPV in two previous blog posts, BPPV Overview Part 1 and Part 2. In this blog post we will talk about BPPV Symptoms.

I will cover common complaints associated with BPPV symptoms, common positions and activities that trigger BPPV symptoms, and other conditions that BPPV is associated with. People with BPPV do not necessarily have all the complaints, or experience symptoms in all the positions or activities listed below. This is a list of the most common reports that I hear from patients with BPPV.

What common complaints are associated with BPPV?

  • Bed spins
  • Vertigo when lying down or rolling in bed, triggered by change in head position
  • Symptoms worse in the middle of the night or in the morning
  • Complaints of intermittent dizziness (can be constant dizziness for a new case)
  • Loss of balance, blurry vision, or falls with head turns
  • Dizziness looking up or down causes loss of balance
  • Feelings of unsteadiness or imbalance, especially in the dark
  • Dysequilibrium
  • Bumping into walls
  • Difficulty walking
  • Foggy Brain
  • Unexplained repeated falls without feelings of vertigo
  • Difficulty with short term memory and concentration
  • Difficulty reading
  • Problems with word finding while talking
  • Feel spacey all the time, less in the afternoon
  • Fear of falling
  • Blurred vision, wavy patterns, or illusion of movement of objects otherwise known to be stationary during high speed or unpredictable head motions. This is called “oscillopsia.”
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Car sickness
  • Motion sickness
  • Unable to ride roller coasters

Common Positions that Trigger BPPV Symptoms

  • Lying down flat on your back
  • Rolling over in bed
  • Getting up from bed
  • Looking up (Ex. putting in eye drops)
  • Looking down
  • Quick head turns in any direction
  • Repetitive head shakes or head nods

Common Activities that Trigger BPPV symptoms

  • Reaching into the dryer
  • Emptying the lower rack of the dishwasher
  • Putting dishes onto an upper cabinet shelf
  • Leaning back to look up into a cabinet
  • Picking up toys off the floor
  • Looking under the bed
  • Leaning forward and reaching to make a bed
  • Reaching into the back of the closet
  • Opening the lower drawer of a dresser and leaning down to get out clothes
  • Turning right and left repeatedly, while looking down to vacuum, mop, or clean the floor
  • Putting cat food or dog food on the floor
  • Picking up after your dog while on a walk
  • Gardening
  • Working on the computer
  • Tipping your head down to check text messages
  • Leaning back in the shower to rinse out hair shampoo, especially with your eyes closed
  • Painting overhead ceilings
  • Hanging curtains
  • Hanging up clothes on the clothesline
  • Bird watching while hiking
  • Twirling and head-banging while dancing
  • Star gazing
  • Picking fruit from a tree above eye level

What are BPPV Symptoms Commonly Associated with?

  • Normal aging!
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Osteoporosis and osteopenia
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Head trauma (ex. jarring sports activity, car accident, whiplash injury, sports concussion, falls with hitting head, blast injuries from road side bombs in war veterans, etc.)
  • Sinus infections
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Seasonal allergies (in this author’s opinion)
  • Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, and menopause)
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular risk factors (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, tobacco smoker due to poor circulation)
  • Occupations that have a repeated vibration or impact with the head at an angle (jackhammering, plumber, construction worker, mechanic, bike repair)
  • Vestibular Migraines
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Hearing loss
  • Childhood ear infections
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Vestibular Hypofunction
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Clenching jaw and TMJ
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety issues (due to holding the breath or hyperventilating with panic attack)
  • Genetic Predisposition (runs in the family)
  • Stroke (CVA)
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Ototoxicity from certain medications (oral antibiotics and IV antibiotics)

For more information about BPPV and BPPV symptoms, check out the blog on called “What is the most common vestibular disorder? BPPV.”


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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