Vertigo is the sensation of spinning—even when you’re perfectly still. You might feel like you’re moving or that the room is moving around you.
Most causes of vertigo involve the inner ear (“vestibular system”). One of the most common forms of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), an inner-ear problem that causes short periods of a spinning sensation when your head is moved in certain positions.
BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear break off and move to another part. When you move your head a certain way, the crystals move inside the canal and stimulate the nerve endings, causing you to become dizzy. The cause of BPPV is usually not known; however, the crystals may become loose due to trauma to the head, infection, conditions, such as Meniere’s disease, or aging. BPPV is more common among females, and it may be hereditary.