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The Epley maneuver or repositioning maneuver is a maneuver used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)[1] of the posterior or anterior canals.[2] It works by allowing free floating particles from the affected semicircular canal to be relocated, using gravity, back into the utricle, where they can no longer stimulate the cupula, therefore relieving the patient of bothersome vertigo.[2][3] It is often performed by a medical doctor, occupational therapist, audiologist,chiropractor, or physical therapist, after confirmation of a diagnosis of BPPV using the Dix-Hallpike test and has a reported success rate of between 90–95%.[4][5][6] This maneuver was developed by Dr. John Epley and first described in 1980.[7] Physiotherapists and some chiropractors now use a version of the maneuver called the "modified" Epley that does not include vibrations of the mastoid process originally indicated by Epley, as they have since been shown not to improve the efficacy of the treatment.[8]

Sequence of positions[edit]

The following sequence of positions describes the Epley maneuver:

  1. The patient begins in an upright sitting posture, with the legs fully extended and the head rotated 45 degrees towards the affected side.
  2. The patient is then quickly and passively forced down backwards by the clinician performing the treatment into a supine position with the head held approximately in a 30 degree neck extension (Dix-Hallpike position) where the affected ear faces the ground.
  3. The clinician observes the patient's eyes for “primary stage” nystagmus.
  4. The patient remains in this position for approximately 1–2 minutes.
  5. The patient's head is then turned 90 degrees to the opposite direction so that the unaffected ear faces the ground, all while maintaining the 30 degree neck extension.
  6. The patient remains in this position for approximately 1–2 minutes.
  7. Keeping the head and neck in a fixed position relative to the body, the individual rolls onto their shoulder, rotating the head another 90 degrees in the direction that they are facing. The patient is now looking downwards at a 45 degree angle.
  8. The eyes should be immediately observed by the clinician for “secondary stage” nystagmus and this secondary stage nystagmus should beat in the same direction as the primary stage nystagmus. The patient remains in this position for approximately 1–2 minutes.
  9. Finally, the patient is slowly brought up to an upright sitting posture, while maintaining the 45 degree rotation of the head.
  10. The patient holds sitting position for up to 30 seconds.

The entire procedure may be repeated two more times, for a total of three times.

During every step of this procedure the patient may experience some dizziness.


Following the treatment, the clinician may provide the patient with a soft collar, often worn for the remainder of the day, as a cue to avoid any head positions that may once again displace the otoconia. The patient may be instructed to be cautious of bending over, lying backwards, moving the head up and down, or tilting the head to either side. The soft collar is removed prior to bed. When doing so, the patient should be encouraged to perform horizontal movements of the head to maintain normal neck range of motion.[9]

It is important to instruct the patient that horizontal movement of the head should be performed to prevent stiff neck muscles.

It is still uncertain in the research literature whether activity restrictions following the treatment improves the effectiveness of the canalith repositioning maneuver. However, patients who were not provided with any activity restrictions needed one or two additional treatment sessions in order to attain a successful outcome.[10] The Epley maneuver appears to be a long-term effective conservative treatment for BPPV that has a limited number of complications (nausea, vomiting, and residual vertigo)[2] and is well tolerated by patients.[11]

Background Information[edit]

The goal of the Epley or Modified Epley maneuver is to restore equilibrium of the vestibular system, more specifically to the semicircular canals to treat the symptoms associated with BPPV. There is compelling evidence that free floating otoconia, probably displaced from the otolithic membrane in the utricle are the main cause of this disequilibrium.[8] Recent pathological findings also suggest that the displaced otoconia typically settle in the posterior semicircular canal in the cupula of the ampulla and render it sensitive to gravity.[8] The cupula move in relation to acceleration of the head during rotary movements and signal to the brain via action potentials which way the head is moving in relation to its surroundings. However, once a crystal becomes lodged in the cupula, it only takes slight head movements in combination with gravity to create an action potential, which signals to the brain that the head is moving through space where in reality it is not, thus creating the feeling of vertigo associated with BPPV.[12]

When a therapist is performing the Epley or Modified Epley maneuver, the patient's head is rotated to 45 degrees in the direction of the affected side, in order to target the posterior semicircular canal of the affected side.[8] When the patient is passively positioned from an upright seated posture down to a lying (supine) position, this momentum helps to dislodge the otoconia (crystal) embedded in the cupula. Steps 3–10 in the above mentioned procedure are causing the newly dislodged crystal to be brought back to the utricle through the posterior semi circular canal so that it can be re-absorbed by the utricle.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hilton, Malcolm P; Pinder, Darren K (2004). Hilton, Malcolm P, ed. "The Epley (canalith repositioning) manoeuvre for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD003162. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003162.pub2. PMID 15106194. 
  2. ^ a b c Prokopakis, Emmanuel P.; Chimona, Theognosia; Tsagournisakis, Minas; Christodoulou, Panagiotis; Hirsch, Barry E.; Lachanas, Vassilios A.; Helidonis, Emmanuel S.; Plaitakis, Andreas; Velegrakis, George A. (2005). "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: 10-Year Experience in Treating 592 Patients with Canalith Repositioning Procedure". The Laryngoscope 115 (9): 1667–71. doi:10.1097/01.mlg.0000175062.36144.b9. PMID 16148714. 
  3. ^ Wolf, Jeffrey S.; Boyev, Kestutis P.; Manokey, Brenda J.; Mattox, Douglas E. (1999). "Success of the modified epley maneuver in treating benign paroxysmal positional vertigo". The Laryngoscope 109 (6): 900–3. doi:10.1097/00005537-199906000-00011. PMID 10369279. 
  4. ^ Ruckenstein, Michael J. (2001). "Therapeutic Efficacy of the Epley Canalith Repositioning Maneuver". The Laryngoscope 111 (6): 940–5. doi:10.1097/00005537-200106000-00003. PMID 11404601. 
  5. ^ Simhadri, Sridhar; Panda, Naresh; Raghunathan, Meena (2003). "Efficacy of particle repositioning maneuver in BPPV: A prospective study". American Journal of Otolaryngology 24 (6): 355–60. doi:10.1016/S0196-0709(03)00069-3. PMID 14608565. 
  6. ^ Richard, W; Bruintjes, TD; Oostenbrink, P; Van Leeuwen, RB (2005). "Efficacy of the Epley maneuver for posterior canal BPPV: A long-term, controlled study of 81 patients". Ear, nose, & throat journal 84 (1): 22–5. PMID 15742768. 
  7. ^ Epley, JM (1980). "New dimensions of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo". Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 88 (5): 599–605. PMID 7443266. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Parnes, LS; Agrawal, SK; Atlas, J (2003). "Diagnosis and management of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)". CMAJ 169 (7): 681–93. PMC 202288. PMID 14517129. 
  9. ^ Schubert, Michael C. (2007). "Vestibular Disorders". In O'Sullivan, Susan B.; Schmitz, Thomas J. Physical Rehabilitation (5th ed.). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis. pp. 999–1029. ISBN 978-0-8036-1247-1. 
  10. ^ Herdman, S. (2000). "Vestibular rehabilitation". Physical therapy diagnosis for vestibular disorders (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company. pp. 228–308. 
  11. ^ Smouha, Eric E. (1997). "Time Course of Recovery After Epley Maneuvers for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo". The Laryngoscope 107 (2): 187–91. doi:10.1097/00005537-199702000-00009. PMID 9023241. 
  12. ^ Otsuka, Koji; Suzuki, Mamoru; Shimizu, Shigetaka; Konomi, Ujimoto; Inagaki, Taro; Iimura, Yoichi; Hayashi, Mami; Ogawa, Yasuo (2010). "Model experiments of otoconia stability after canalith repositioning procedure of BPPV". Acta Oto-laryngologica 130 (7): 804–9. doi:10.3109/00016480903456318. PMID 20095871. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epley_maneuver — Please support Wikipedia.
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How to do the Epley Maneuver

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Epley Maneuver: Performed on a Real Patient suffering from Vertigo

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182 news items


Fri, 03 Apr 2015 07:03:45 -0700

Epley's maneuver – This therapy is specifically designed to treat positional vertigo. It is a maneuver that repositions the displaced crystals in the inner ear that are causing the vertigo. It can be done in a series of a just few, short treatment ...

Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:05:23 -0800

Physical therapist Cindy Nolan demonstrates the Epley maneuver, a treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, with Teresa Johnson at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. Johnson suffered from the condition last summer. Nolan says it's important ...

Clinical Advisor

Clinical Advisor
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 07:49:57 -0700

Far too often, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is low on my list of differential diagnoses, and it isn't until all of their other tests come back negative that I try the Epley maneuver or give them a dose of meclizine to see how they ...

Grand Forks Herald

Grand Forks Herald
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:22:30 -0700

If the condition is confirmed, a simple procedure known as the Epley maneuver, or canalith repositioning, can be done. It's similar to the test for BPPV, but involves an additional rolling of the body to one side, while the patient's head is held in ...

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 19:21:50 -0700

There's the Epley maneuver where you position the patient's head to put the crystals back in place. The way I explain that to people, I compare it with a level, and you've got an air bubble in there and when you've got it between the lines, you're level.
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:47:36 -0700

The spinning sensation and dizziness you get from vertigo can limit your activities and make you feel sick. Depending on the cause, though, some simple maneuvers you can do at home might bring relief. The most common type is BPPV (benign paroxysmal ...


Mon, 23 Mar 2015 04:06:12 -0700

If the condition is confirmed, a simple procedure known as the Epley maneuver, or canalith repositioning, can be done. It's similar to the test for BPPV, but involves an additional rolling of the body to one side, while the patient's head is held in ...
Tulsa World
Wed, 30 Oct 2013 00:23:23 -0700

One treatment for BPPV is the Epley maneuver. In this maneuver, a doctor or physical therapist moves your head and body through a series of positions. You can also learn to do it yourself. You begin by lying on an examination table. The therapist ...

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