What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The canalith repositioning procedure involves holding four positions for 30 seconds each after your symptoms have stopped while you hold that position. Depending on your health provider's preferences, you may wear an infrared imaging device over your eyes. This device helps your health provider examine your eyes during each maneuver. The device can help but it isn't necessary for successful treatment.

Here are the steps involved in the canalith repositioning procedure.

Step 1. First you move from a sitting to a reclining position with your head turned to the affected side by 45 degrees. Your health provider will help extend your head over the edge of the table at a slight angle.

Step 2. With your head still extended over the edge of the table, you'll be prompted to turn your head slowly away from the affected side by about 90 degrees.

Step 3. Roll onto your side. Your head should be slightly angled while you look down at the floor.

Step 4. Finally, you return carefully to a sitting position with your head tilted down and returned to the center position.

After the procedure

After the procedure, you'll need to keep the treated ear above the level of your shoulder for the rest of that day, so don't lie flat the rest of the day of treatment. At night, sleep on a slight incline with your head above your shoulders, using a few pillows. This lets the particles floating in your vestibular labyrinth settle into your utricle or be reabsorbed by your body fluids.

The next morning, following your doctor's instructions, you'll perform similar maneuvers — but without hanging your head over the edge of the bed — by yourself to check whether the procedure in the office was effective. You'll then continue those maneuvers until you can go three days without symptoms. If your vertigo continues, tell your doctor. You'll likely need to perform a version of the canalith repositioning procedure for several days before your symptoms subside.

Jul. 10, 2012