5 Simple Exercises for Vertigo

Many people experience vertigo during their lives. If you have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or Ménière's disease you will likely be familiar with the symptoms of vertigo. It causes a spinning sensation that can put you at risk of falling while affecting your quality of life.

There are two types of vertigo:

  1. Peripheral vertigo occurs when there is an issue in the inner ear and is the most common type of vertigo.
  2. Central vertigo is caused by an issue in the brain such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis.

Certain exercises can help improve your balance and vertigo symptoms and you may notice a difference in just a few days or weeks. However, before starting an exercise program for vertigo, it’s a good idea to first speak to your doctor or schedule a consultation with a hearing care professional.

With any type of exercise for vertigo, you should start slowly. You can then build up gradually to do the exercise for longer or do more repetitions. It’s a good idea to have someone with you in case you fall or at least have a wall or chair close by to provide support if you lose your balance.

Five simple exercises for vertigo

Brandt-Daroff exercises

You should ideally try to do one set of five repetitions of this exercise on each side.

 

  • Sit in the middle of a bed and rest your feet on the floor
  • Turn your head to the right 45 degrees
  • With your head remaining still, lie down so you are on your left side
  • Wait for around 30 seconds
  • Return to a sitting position with your feet touching the floor
  • Turn your head to the left 45 degrees
  • Keeping your head still again, lie down on your right side
  • Wait for around 30 seconds

Semont manoeuvre

If you experience BPPV in your left ear, try the following exercise to help relieve your symptoms:

  • Sit down on the corner of a bed and turn your head 45 degrees
  • Quickly, drop down to the left until your head is on the bed.
    Stay in this position for around 30 seconds
  • Then, in one quick movement, move your body to the right while keeping your head in the same angle
  • Stay in this position for another 30 seconds and then gradually return to your starting position

If BPPV is in your right ear, them move your head towards the right and drop onto your left side first.

Epley manoeuvre

If you experience BPPV in your left ear, then the exercises below may help. If you have it in your right ear, then you will need to do the exercises in the opposite direction.

  • Sit in an upright position on your bed. Stretch out your legs in front of you and position a pillow behind you
  • Move your head to the left 45 degrees
  • In a quick motion, lie back so your head is on the pillow
  • Stay in this position for around 30 seconds
  • Move your head to the right 90 degrees
  • Wait for 30 seconds
  • Move your head and body to the right another 90 degrees
  • Stay in this position for around 30 seconds
  • Return to sitting upright on the bed

Foster manoeuvre

This exercise is a bit like a half-somersault and is one of the easiest exercises to do for vertigo. Follow the steps below if it’s your left ear that has BPPV. If it’s your right ear that’s affected, then do them instead on your right side.

  • Get into a kneeling position and put both your hands on the floor
  • Gently move your head up and back
  • If you suddenly feel dizzy, wait a few moments for the feeling to pass
  • Put your forehead on the floor and tuck your chin in towards your knees
  • Move your head 45 degrees so you are facing your left elbow
  • Stay like this for around 30 seconds
  • With your head in a 45-degree position, raise your head until it is level with your back and shoulders
  • Stay like this for another 30 seconds
  • Lift your head so it’s in a fully upright position

Walking exercises

Aim to do this exercise twice a day:

 

  • Begin by walking five steps forward. Then turn around and walk back to where you started from
  • Pause for a few seconds – if you feel dizzy then wait for it to stop
  • Repeat this five times
  • Again, walk forward for five steps, but stop quickly
  • Pause for ten seconds or until any dizzy sensation stops
  • Repeat this exercise until you’ve walked approximately 50 feet

Vertigo can be much more than the occasional dizzy spell. It can have a significant impact on your quality of life. These exercises for vertigo could help improve your balance and have the potential to reduce or even prevent feelings of nausea and dizziness.

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