Vertigo makes you feel off-balanced and affects your life in ways you wouldn’t expect. Sometimes you won’t want to move or feel too unwell to do anything because of the dizziness.
The symptoms often come suddenly, leaving you unprepared for dealing with them. They might stop for a while and then return, disrupting your life after you think you’re feeling better.
Exercises to reduce vertigo sensations can help reduce symptoms and minimize interference in your life. The exercises strengthen your balance and reduce symptoms naturally.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a common sensation that causes you to feel like the world around you is spinning. It isn’t a disease but a symptom indicating other conditions. There are two kinds of vertigo, peripheral and central. Peripheral occurs when there’s an issue with your inner ear and contributes to about 93% of vertigo cases.
Central happens if there’s a problem with your brain. Brain issues might stem from infection, brain tumors, stroke, or traumatic brain injury. The feeling can last for several seconds or minutes but, in severe cases, can continue for much longer. It isn’t a serious condition but can indicate an underlying health issue that requires medical attention.
Symptoms of Vertigo
Symptoms of vertigo can improve after a few days or last for a few weeks. They can be overwhelming as they interfere with your life. The symptoms vary, but they can involve:
- feeling like the world is spinning
- nausea or vomiting
- difficulty walking
- shortness of breath
- unexpected and sudden weakness
- feeling like you’re rocking or tilting
- the sensation worsens when you stand, walk, change positions, or move your head
Causes of Vertigo
Vertigo can have many causes, often involving problems with your inner ear. However, it could also stem from issues with your circulatory or nervous system. Some of the specific causes include the following:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This cause is the most common and is typically triggered when you change the position of your head. You might get the sudden feeling that you’re spinning when standing still, lying down, or turning over in bed.
- Vestibular neuritis: Inflammation of your vestibular nerve can trigger vertigo, nausea, and blurred vision. It doesn’t interfere with your hearing but can make you uncomfortable.
- Meniere’s disease: This disease causes fluid to build up inside of your ear, triggering the spinning sensation. It also involves tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, hearing loss, or a feeling of fullness in your ears.
- Cholesteatoma: Cholesteatoma occurs when repeated ear infections lead to skin growth in the middle ear. The skin growth is noncancerous but can cause vertigo and hearing loss.
- Labyrinthitis: Inflammation of the inner ear is called labyrinthitis. It puts pressure on the vestibulocochlear nerve. When this happens, it can trigger vertigo and the symptoms that accompany it.
- Perilymphatic fistula: This condition occurs when fluid from the inner ear leaks into the middle ear. It can trigger dizziness and other symptoms.
- Orthostatic hypotension: You will experience a decrease in blood pressure when you stand up if you have this condition. Low blood pressure can cause vertigo sensations upon standing.
Other Causes of Dizziness May Include the Following:
- being on a moving ship for an extended time
- spinning around
- brain disease
- irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- head injury
- multiple sclerosis
- ear surgery
- extended bed rest
- muscle weakness (ataxia)
- bone growth that affects the middle ear (otosclerosis)
Exercises to Reduce Vertigo
The repetitive movements of these exercises can help you overcome the symptoms of vertigo. They allow you to manage the issues with dizziness and brain fog and continue your life normally.
Start slowly when you first begin the exercises. Your initial reactions might worsen your symptoms, but don’t give up because they can improve. Take breaks between each exercise, and go at a comfortable pace to reap the benefits.
1 – Semont Maneuver
The Semont maneuver can help reduce dizziness and other related issues. It’s a quick exercise and relatively easy to finish.
To do this exercise, you’ll do the following steps:
- Sit upright on the edge of your bed.
- Turn your head 45 degrees in the opposite direction from where your symptoms
- Lie down on the side of your body with the affected ear. Stay in that position until symptoms ease or for at least thirty seconds.
- Keeping your head turned at a 45-degree angle, quickly sit up and lie back down on the opposite side. Stay on this side, the unaffected side, for at least another thirty seconds.
- Slowly sit back upright and stay seated until you feel like you can comfortably move.
- You can repeat this exercise once a day until your symptoms are gone.
2 – Gaze Stabilization
This exercise doesn’t require much effort. You only must sit, turn your head, and move your hands. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it is one of the easiest exercises.
The steps of the gaze stabilization exercise include the following:
- Sit comfortably on a bed or mat
- Extend one arm out in from of you with your index finger out
- Gaze at your index finger for at least fifteen seconds
- Slowly look from right to left, keeping your eyes on the tip of your finger
- Continue doing this for at least ten seconds
- Slowly move your head up and down, continuing to keep your eyes on your finger
- Repeat this movement for another ten seconds
- Begin moving your head diagonally up and down with your gaze on your index finger
- Continue for another ten seconds and then switch sides
3 – Epley Maneuver
Follow these steps:
- Place a pillow on your bed so it will be under your shoulder but not under your head when you lie down.
- Sit on the edge of your bed and place your legs straight in front of you.
- Turn your head 45 degrees in the direction of the ear you think causes the sensation.
- Lie down quickly, keeping your head at a 45-degree angle for thirty seconds or until symptoms ease.
- Turn your head in the other direction and hold it for another thirty seconds.
- Quickly turn onto your side so you’re looking down, and maintain the position for thirty more seconds.
- Sit up slowly and stay still until you feel your symptoms ease.
4 – Turning in Place
When doing this exercise, consider having a chair or other sturdy item nearby for safety in case you lose your balance. When you’re ready, do the following steps:
- Stand up straight with your arms at your sides.
- Turn to the left in a half circle, or 180 degrees.
- Stand still in this position for around fifteen seconds.
- Turn your body to the right and hold the position for another fifteen seconds.
- Repeat the exercise five times, focusing on moving in the direction that makes you feel dizziest.
5 – Marching in Place
This exercise can help improve your balance when you stand. It can also promote more advanced movements. To do this one, you’ll want to do the following:
- Stand near a wall for support or use another sturdy object.
- Keep your arms at your sides.
- Begin marching in place, lifting your right knee and then your left knee.
- Continue marching until you’ve reached twenty times with each knee.
- March in place at least twice daily, pushing yourself to do it thirty times each when you get more comfortable.
6 – Brandt-Daroff Exercise
The Brandt-Daroff exercise uses gravity to help you feel better. It dislodges crystals from the semicircular canal, alleviating your vertigo symptoms. Follow these steps to do this exercise:
- Sit upright on the floor or on your bed with your feet on the floor.
- Turn your head to a 45-degree angle and lie down.
- Stay in the position for thirty seconds or longer until your symptoms ease.
- Return to the original position and do the same on the other side.
- Do this exercise five times on each side.
- Slowly return to the original position, and stay seated until you feel okay to stand.
- Try to do the exercise twice daily. Consider once in the morning and another time at night.
7 – Foster Maneuver
The foster maneuver is sometimes called a half-somersault. It’s an easy exercise for vertigo sensations and doesn’t require being in bed. To do the exercise, follow these steps:
- Kneel on the floor with your hands and look up at the ceiling.
- Slowly lower your forehead to the floor, tucking your chin.
- Hold this position for thirty seconds or until the vertigo sensation eases.
- Then, turn your head 45 degrees toward your affected ear. Hold the position for about thirty additional seconds.
- Keeping your head turned, lift it until it’s level with your back and shoulders.
- Hold this position for another thirty seconds.
- Lift your head, returning to the original position, but keep it turned for thirty more seconds.
- Repeat the movements up to five times until you feel relief, waiting fifteen minutes between each repetition.
- Slowly stand up when you feel like you’ve regained balance.
Final Thoughts on Exercises to Reduce Vertigo and Dizziness
Vertigo can be inconvenient and frustrating, but some exercises can help reduce the feeling. The causes vary, so if you continue getting the sensation for more than a few weeks, talk to your doctor. Additionally, tell your doctor if your vertigo symptoms worsen or you experience new signs.
While vertigo can be debilitating, you don’t have to let it control your life. These exercises can help you overcome the sensation of dizziness and continue living your life.