It comes as if out of the blue. Usually when you get up, in the middle of the night or in the morning, the world suddenly seems to want to collapse. Everything is spinning! Walking is out of the question. Nausea and vomiting may accompany it. But after 10, 20 or 30 seconds, sometimes a long minute, everything is over. Only the wobbly knees remain.
This is the beginning of benign positional vertigo, also called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or "BPLS" for short. The mysterious and seemingly threatening attack triggers great fear or even panic. "What was that?" and "will it happen again?" sufferers ask themselves anxiously.
Vertigo is described as "benign" because the symptoms are generally only short-lived, in many cases subside on their own without therapy, and there is no serious illness behind them. In quite a few people, however, the vertigo attacks occur repeatedly in certain postures, such as when lying on one side or looking up at an angle (e.g., putting away a kitchen cabinet).