5 Simple Exercises for Vertigo

Millions of people live with the effects of vertigo, and if you are one of them, you will know the sensation of feeling like you are spinning, despite not moving. It can make you feel like you’ve just come off a rollercoaster ride or that the room is moving when in fact, nothing is. Vertigo can vary from person to person, but even if you only get very occasional symptoms it can still interfere with your quality of life.

What is vertigo?

Vertigo happens because of a problem with the way balance works in the inner ear. However, it can also be caused by issues in certain areas of the brain. Central vertigo can happen as a result of a stroke or multiple sclerosis. You can also have vertigo if you have had a head injury, an inner ear infection such as labyrinthitis, migraines or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo which is when particular head movements can trigger vertigo. This is called Peripheral vertigo.

An attack of vertigo can come on very suddenly and last for just a few seconds or go on for longer. In some cases of severe vertigo, symptoms can be continuous and last for several days. Some of the symptoms of vertigo are dizziness, loss of balance making it difficult to walk or stand and feeling sick or actually being sick.

Exercises for vertigo

There are things you can do to help relieve symptoms of vertigo and one of the most effective is exercise. But before you try any type of exercise, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with a hearing care professional or your doctor. They will be able determine which type of vertigo you have and which of your ears are affected.

It’s important to keep in mind that exercises for vertigo could make you feel dizzy while you are doing them. You should aim to have someone with you when you try out these exercises. Alternatively, make sure you have the support of a wall behind you and a chair in front of you in case you lose your balance.

Brandt-Daroff exercises

If you can try to do one set of five repetitions of this exercise on each side:

  • Sit on the middle of your bed with your feet on the floor
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the right
  • Go back to sitting on the middle of the bed with your feet touching the floor
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the left
  • While your head remains still, lie down on the bed on your left side
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds
  • Return to the position you started in
  • Pause for 30 seconds

Semont manoeuvre

Once your doctor has confirmed you have vertigo and which of your ears is affected, you can try this exercise. If BPPV is in your left year, follow these steps:

  • While you are sitting upright on the corner of your bed, move your head 45 degrees
  • In a quick movement, drop to the left so your head is now resting on the bed
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Then in another quick movement, move your body to the right side while your head is at the same angle
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Slowly go back to the original position you started in

If BPPV is in your right ear, then you will need to start by moving your head to the right and drop onto your left side.

Epley manoeuvre

These steps will help if you have BPPV in your left ear. However, if you have it on your right side, you can do the exercise in the opposite direction to the steps below:

  • Sit on the bed in an upright position with your legs straight out in front of you
  • Put a pillow behind your back
  • Move your head 45 degrees to the left
  • In a quick movement, lie back onto the bed so that your shoulders rest on the pillow
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Move your head 90 degrees to the right
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Move your body and head a further 90 degrees to the right
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Sit upright again on the corner of the bed

Foster manoeuvre

This is also called the half-somersault and is one of the simplest exercises for vertigo you can try. Follow these steps if BPPV is in your left ear. If you have it in your right, then focus on doing them on your right side.

  • In a kneeling down position, but both of your hands on the floor
  • Tilt your head up and back
  • If you suddenly feel dizzy, pause for a moment until the feeling passes
  • Put your forehead on the floor, tucking your chin into your knees
  • Move your head 45 degrees so you are facing your left elbow
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • While your head is at a 45-degree angle, raise your head until it is level with your back and shoulders
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Raise your head so it’s now in a fully upright position

Walking exercises

As vertigo can cause you to have imbalance issues and fall, it’s a good idea to have someone with you while you do these exercises.

Aim to do both of these exercises twice a day:

  • Walk forward for five steps. Turn around and walk back
  • Pause for a few seconds. If you start to feel dizzy while until it stops before continuing
  • Do this again five times
  • Walk forward five steps and stop quickly
  • Pause for 10 seconds or until any dizziness passes
  • Repeat these steps until you have walked close to 50 feet
  • Walk forward 50 feet as you continuously move your head up and down
  • Walk forward 50 feet while you move your head side to side towards the direction of your shoulders

If your vertigo symptoms persist or it is starting to affect your quality of life, speak to your doctor.

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