If you’ve ever been sitting still yet felt like you were moving, it’s possible that you have vertigo. The same can be said if the objects around you feel like they are in motion when they’re not. Vertigo exercises offer one form of treatment to dispel these disorienting symptoms.
Often likened to a feeling of dizziness or motion sickness, vertigo can be a frustrating and recurring condition. These ongoing spells of dizziness can be the result of a number of conditions, usually occurring in the inner ear.
The most common types of vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, and acute onset vertigo.
Treatment for vertigo will generally depend on what is causing it. And although it is sometimes treated with medicine, movements and exercises for vertigo can also help. The following exercises can be used in attempt to treat BPPV.
Practice These Exercises for Vertigo
The exercises for vertigo can be prescribed for people suffering from BPPV. They will not cure the condition or necessarily prevent recurrences, but they may reduce symptom length and severity during periods of vertigo.
As you use these methods over a period of weeks or months, they should start to work more efficiently.
To perform this exercise:
- Start in an upright, seated position on your bed or sofa.
- Move into a lying position on one side, with your nose pointed about 45 degrees to the side where vertigo is originating.
- Remain in the position for 30 seconds, or until the vertigo subsides (whichever takes longer).
- Move back to the seated position.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Perform multiple repetitions twice per day.
In some cases, the movement may make symptoms of vertigo worse and lead to nausea. To limit this risk, perform the movements slowly.
The Epley Maneuver
If symptoms have appeared on either the right or left side of your body, you can use the Epley maneuver for vertigo. The following directions apply to left-sided vertigo. If it originates from the right side, swap sides.
- Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head about 45 degrees to the left. (About the midway point between staring straight ahead and at your shoulder.)
- Lie down quickly on your back with your head on the bed, still maintaining the 45-degree angle. Have a pillow under your shoulders and hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Turn your head 90 degrees to the right (your head should be in the same 45-degree position, just on the right side). Do not raise your head. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Turn your head and body to the right side, so you’re looking towards the floor, and wait for 30 seconds.
- Slowly sit up and remain on the bed for a few minutes.
- Perform these movements three times before bed each night until you’ve gone 24 hours without dizziness.
The Semont Maneuver
The semont maneuver is another technique you can try to end a bout of vertigo.
Below are the instructions from the left side. Reverse the moves if the vertigo begins on your right side.
- Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
- Quickly lie down on your left side and hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Quickly move to lie down on the opposite end of the bed. Maintain the 45-degree angle to your head and lie down for 30 seconds. You should be looking at the floor.
- Slowly return to the sitting position and wait a few minutes.
This move is a little easier to perform than those listed above; therefore, it may be more appealing.
- Kneel down and look up at the ceiling for a few seconds.
- Touch the floor with your head, tucking your chin so that your head goes towards your knees.
- Wait for vertigo symptoms to stop. This should take about 30 seconds.
- Turn your head to the direction of the affected ear. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Quickly raise your head so it’s once again level with your back. You should remain on all fours and your head should remain tilted towards your ear (about 45 degrees). Hold for 30 seconds.
- Quickly raise your head so that it’s fully upright, but still turned. Slowly stand up.
Other Vertigo Exercises to Practice at Home
Sometimes vertigo can be the result of stress. Stress can manifest in a number of physical ways that can produce symptoms either slowly or instantaneously.
This is true in cases of acute stress, as well as in chronic cases. Therefore, treating stress, or at least finding techniques to manage stress, can help limit the onset of vertigo.
Meditation and deep breathing can help during periods of acute stress and perhaps prevent vertigo from developing, while a more long-term and regular approach to stress management may include mind-body exercises.
Performing practices like qi gong, yoga, and tai chi for vertigo may not always treat specific symptoms, but it could reduce the likelihood of stress-induced vertigo.
If stress is contributing to your condition, qi gong or yoga for vertigo may be worth incorporating into a preventative routine. These modalities can mimic movements that are used to treat vertigo while also contributing to flexibility, balance, and calmer nerves.
All of these benefits can aid in easing vertigo symptoms. Move slowly between movements when you’re feeling dizzy, sticking to relatively simple yoga poses like Child’s Pose and Corpse Pose, for example.
Of course, not everyone knows how to perform yoga or tai chi. Some basic exercises you can try for vertigo include:
Rapid Eye Movement
- Sit up straight.
- Look up and down rapidly 20 times.
- Look rapidly from side to side 20 times.
- Keep your head straight, moving only your eyes.
- Sit up straight on a chair with an arm outstretched in front of you.
- Stick your thumb in the air.
- Move the thumb from side to side and follow it with your head.
- Repeat the motion by moving the thumb up and down and following it with your head.
- Do 20 thumb moves for each direction.
- Perform for five minutes.
- Sit up straight.
- Shrug your shoulders 20 times.
- Turn your shoulders from side to side, 20 times per side.
Tips to Follow When Exercising for Vertigo
- Practice exercises regularly throughout the day. Do five- or six-minute segments focusing on different movements.
- Keep track of your progress and what you accomplished each session. It will help show improvement and keep you motivated.
- Make the exercise segments routine. Try setting an alarm and sticking to specific times of the day.
- Perform in a safe, quiet space.
- Do not attempt these exercises while under the influence of mind-altering substances like drugs or alcohol (that includes some pharmaceutical medicines).
- Work within your physical limitations and capabilities. Get guidance from a physician if needed.
Exercises for Vertigo Can Help You Keep a Level Head
Resetting your equilibrium carefully and naturally is a key component of managing vertigo. Practicing these exercises for vertigo might lead to fewer symptoms and greater control over them so you can quickly get back to your life.
Perform the movements carefully and seek a doctor or therapist for help if required. Additionally, if your vertigo is not a result of BPPV, you may need to seek further treatment.
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