5 Simple Exercises for Vertigo

Have you ever had the feeling that you are spinning while actually standing still? Perhaps you have felt like your surroundings are moving, although in reality they aren’t. This is vertigo, which affects millions of people around the world.

What is vertigo?

There are two types of vertigo:

  • Central vertigo is caused by an issue in the brain such as multiple sclerosis or stroke.
  • Peripheral vertigo is caused by an issue in the inner ear and accounts for most cases of vertigo. The inner ear controls your balance, but it can become damaged by an ear infection, head injury, or if a small calcium crystal gets knocked out of place. This is called BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo).

If you have experienced vertigo, you’ll know that it can become very frustrating and interfere with your everyday life. But there are some exercises that you can do at home that offer an effective vertigo treatment.

Before you start

Before you try any exercises for vertigo, it’s essential that you book a consultation with a licensed hearing care professional to get a formal evaluation and diagnosis. Sometimes these types of exercises can cause temporary dizziness. So, if you don’t have anyone with you when you exercise, make sure you have a chair in front of you and a wall behind you – this will support you if you lose balance.

Five simple exercise for vertigo

1. Brandt-Daroff exercises

Aim to do one set of five repetitions on each side, following these steps:

  • Sit down on the centre of a bed with your feet touching the floor.
  • Move your head 45 degrees to the right.
  • Keeping your head still, lie down on your left side. Wait 30 seconds.
  • Return to your starting position. Wait 30 seconds.
  • Move your head 45 degrees to the left.
  • Repeat these steps on your right side.
  • Return to your starting position. Wait 30 seconds.

2. Semont maneuver

Once you have visited a medical professional to discuss your vertigo symptoms, and you have confirmation which ear is affected, you can do the following exercise. If you have BPPV in your left ear, try the following steps:

  • Sit upright on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  • Quickly drop to the left until your head is resting on the bed. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • In one quick movement, move your body to the right side. Keep your head in the same angle.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds then slowly return to the position you started in.
  • If you have BPPV in your right-ear, move your head to the right and drop on your left side first.

3. Epley maneuver

This is another helpful exercise for vertigo. If you have BPPV in your left ear, follow the steps below. If you have BPPV in your right ear, do the exercise in the opposite direction.

  • Sit upright on the bed bed. Position your legs straight ahead and place a pillow behind you.
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the left.
  • Lie back quickly until your shoulders are resting on the pillow. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Turn your head 90 degrees to the right. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Turn your body and head another 90 degrees to the right. Hold this for 30 seconds.
  • Sit upright on the right edge of the bed.

4. Foster maneuver

Sometimes referred to as the half-somersault, this is one of the easiest exercises for vertigo. You don’t need to be on a bed or help from anyone. As before, follow these steps if you have BPPV in your left ear. If you have BPPV in your right ear, do them on your right side.

  • Kneel down and put both your hands on the floor. Tilt your head up and back. If you feel dizzy, wait for it to pass.
  • Put your forehead on the floor and tuck your chin towards your knees.
  • Turn your head 45 degrees so you face your left elbow. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Keeping your head in a 45-degree position, lift your head until it becomes level with your back and shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Lift your head to the fully upright position.

5. Walking exercises

Note: given that vertigo sufferers will have imbalance issues, it's important to be aware that a fall may occur, so please take extra care and have someone supervise you while you carry out these exercises.

  1. Walk forward five steps, then turn around and walk back. Wait a few seconds or until any dizziness you feel stops. Repeat this exercise five times.
  2. Walk forward five steps and then stop quickly. Wait ten seconds or until any dizziness stops. Repeat this exercise until you’ve walked roughly 50 feet. Try to do this exercise twice a day.
  3. Walk forward 50 feet while you move your head up and down. Then walk 50 feet while moving your head side to side towards your shoulders. Aim to do this twice a day.

If you have experienced vertigo then you know it can be much more than just feeling occasionally dizzy. It can have a considerable impact on your quality of life. It's important to speak to a trained medical professional, and once you have discussed a course of action, these exercises for vertigo treatment can help improve your balance and reduce or even stop your feelings of dizziness and nausea.

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