Why use a 15-35⁰ angle for the head tilt?
This range of angles has been found to be the effective for the SimBalance approach. The smallest angle of the range is least likely to cause excessive stress or strain to the neck, shoulders and spine. This can be achieved by placing the very top of the Velcro (R) hooks of the main pillow on the front face of the base pillow. However, on days when one feels vulnerable to the symptoms of BPPV, e.g., excessive drowsiness, then it is recommended to increase the angle, at least till the drowsiness has passed.
How did the SimBalance pillow system come about?
Sau Lan Staats, PhD, the founder of SimBalance, Inc. has suffered from positional vertigo for over 30 years. She is a trained research scientist with a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is an inventor in the fields of nanotechnology and device and instrumentation for biomedical research and has authored a total of 12 issued US and international patents. During a period of particularly frequent and long lasting dizziness episodes (averaging two weeks out of every month), she found herself frustrated by her continued dizziness even after dutifully performing the self-administered head maneuver BPPV exercises. She hypothesized that hours of head movement on an inclined pillow at night might simulate the shorter but much more laborious head maneuver BPPV exercises. Fortunately for her and other users that have tried the SimBalance approach, the hypothesis appears to bear some correlation to the canalith relocation process. Using the prototype of the SimBalance pillow system, Dr. Staats has not had any debilitating dizziness episodes for more than seven years.
What is the success rate of the SimBalance pillow system for treating positional vertigo?
The SimBalance pillow system is meant to be an exercise aid to help users do the self-administered exercises more easily and comfortably. There is no intrinsic success rate involved in using the system. Even so, the initial users have all been living a symptom-free life since using the system. One hundred percent of the respondents in our recent survey who had used the SimBalance pillows for more than one month were satisfied or very satisfied with the benefits that the SimBalance pillow system provided to them.
Are there clinical data for using the system?
Again, the SimBalance pillow system is not a medical device, and therefore no clinical data have been collected.
When the vertigo symptoms are not the whirling kind but more a heavy-headed nausea kind, would using the SimBalance pillow system as intended bring releif?
Vertigo may have many different causes. It is difficult to determine whether the “heavy-headed nausea” is related to BPPV, and if so, in what way. However, from experience, using the SimBalance pillow system as intended for a person with BPPV may prevent the heavy-headed nausea from worsening into the whirling kind of incapacitating dizziness. If one is already using the SimBalance pillow system nightly, then increasing the angle of incline is recommended during these times. The other important thing to remember is to keep very well hydrated all the time. Drinking around 8 cups of water a day is often recommended, and avoiding coffee, even the decaffeinated version, may also fend off dehydration.
Can the SimBalance pillow system be used for other ailments and conditions such as syncope, sleep apnea, snoring, post-nasal drip, etc., which may benefit from the elevated head position?
If there is evidence that elevating the head during head can benefit a particular ailment and condition, the SimBalance pillow system should provide the exceptional comfort needed for elevating or tilting the head during sleep in these cases.
Can the SimBalance pillow system be used by someone who is broad-shouldered and cannot get comfortable sleeping on stacked pillows?
Absolutely. The SimBalance pillow system has been tried by focus groups of differing heights and physical builds and has received glowing endorsements for comfort.
Can you recommend some resources for further reading?
Inner Ear ‘Rock Slides’ Lead To Vertigo (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103463398)
Benign Paroxysmal Position Vertigo (http://american-hearing.org/disorders/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigobppv/)
Head Maneuvers Most Effective Treatment for Vertigo (http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/head-maneuvers-most-effective-treatment-for-vertigo)
Epley and Semont Maneuvers for Vertigo
Lateral Canal BPPV (http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/disorders/bppv/lcanalbppv.htm)
Head-up sleeping for syncope patients (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/190515909)