5 Simple Exercises for Vertigo

Ever felt that you are spinning, even though you are standing perfectly still, or that the room is moving, even though it isn’t? If the answer is yes, then it could be that like millions of people around the world, you have vertigo.

What is vertigo?

There are two key types of vertigo:

  1. Central vertigo occurs when there is an issue in the brain caused by something like a stroke or multiple sclerosis.
  2. The most common type of vertigo is peripheral vertigo which occurs when there is an issue in the inner ear. While the inner ear is responsible for controlling balance, however, it can become damaged if you have a head injury, ear infection or if you have BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) which is when a small calcium crystal gets dislodged.

If you have experienced vertigo, you’ll know all too well that it can be a very frustrating and upsetting experience that can have a significant impact on your everyday life. But there are some exercises that you can do to relieve symptoms of vertigo and help to improve your balance.

Before you start vertigo exercises

Before you start any exercise plan for vertigo, it’s sensible to schedule a consultation with a hearing care professional or your doctor. They will be able to review your symptoms and determine what type of vertigo you have and which of your ears is affected.

These types of exercises could cause you to feel dizzy for a short while either during the exercise or afterwards. It’s a good idea to have someone with you while you are doing it or at least have a wall and chair nearby to support you if you feel dizzy or lose your balance.

5 simple exercises for vertigo

Brandt-Daroff exercises

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

  • Get into a sitting position on the middle of a bed, making sure both your feet are touching the floor
  • Move your head to the right 45 degrees
  • With your head kept still, lie down on the bed on your left side
  • Stay like that for 30 seconds
  • Go back to your starting position
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Move your head to the left 45 degrees
  • Continue to repeat these steps for your right side
  • Go back to your starting position
  • Rest for 30 seconds

Semont maneuver

If your doctor has told you that you have BPPV in your left ear, try the exercise below:

  • Sit in an upright position on the edge or corner of the bed
  • Turn your head to the right 45 degrees
  • Drop to the left quickly, until your head is resting on the bed
  • Stay like this for 30 seconds
  • Then in one single quick movement, move your body to the right while keeping your head in the same angle
  • Keep in this position for 30 seconds
  • Slowly go back to your starting position

If you have BPPV in your right ear, then you’ll have to move your head to the right and then drop on your left side first.

Epley maneuver

If your left ear is affected by BPPV then follow these exercise steps below. However, if it’s your right ear that’s affected, then you’ll need to do them in the opposite direction.

  • While sitting upright on a bed, put your legs straight out ahead in front of you and put a pillow behind your back
  • Turn your head to the left 45 degrees
  • Quickly, like back on the bed until your shoulders are on the pillow
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Turn your head to the right 90 degrees
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds
  • Turn your body and head to the right another 90 degrees
  • Stay like this for another 30 seconds
  • Sit back upright again on the bed

Foster maneuver

This exercise is sometimes called the half-somersault and is one of the simplest exercises for vertigo you can do. If you have BPPV in your left ear, then follow the steps below. However, if it’s in your right ear, then you’ll need to do them on your right side.

  • Kneel down on the floor and put both hands flat on the floor
  • Raise your head up and back
  • If you start to feel dizzy, pause for a few moments until it passes
  • Put your forehead on the floor and tuck in your chin so it’s towards your knees
  • Turn your head so you face your left elbow
  • Stay like this for 30 seconds
  • Keep your head in this 45-degree position and raise it until it is level with your back and shoulders
  • Stay like this for 30 seconds
  • Lift your head so it’s fully upright

Walking exercises

A simple walking exercise you can do twice a day:

  • Take five steps forward, turn around and walk back
  • Wait a few seconds, especially if you feel dizzy
  • Do this again five times
  • Take five steps forward and then stop quickly
  • Wait ten seconds or until any dizzy feeling stops
  • Repeat this exercise until you have walked around 50 feet

You can also do this exercise while moving your head side to side towards your shoulders.

Vertigo is far more serious than just the occasional dizzy spell. It can interfere with a person’s life and wellbeing. If you think you may have vertigo, arrange to see your doctor for an assessment. These exercises may also provide you with some relief and help to restore your balance.

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