7 Vertigo Exercises to Find Quick Relief at Home

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vertigo exercises
Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Monday February 20, 2023

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Visualize yourself standing still — but the world appears to move around you, as if you’re on a speeding train traveling 80 miles per hour. You’re afraid to move, as a single misstep could lead to untold disaster and injury. Welcome to your first exercise in vertigo attacks.

Now, imagine having several such episodes nearly every day. How much would your daily functioning be impaired? 

Vertigo is rarely a stand-alone symptom, but it can be one of the most frustrating and disabling to manage. Accompanying issues often include nausea and vomiting, which aren’t the most compatible with a productive work day. Wouldn’t it be glorious if you could find rapid relief? 

Such a miracle may be possible, depending on the underlying cause of your symptoms. Best of all, you won’t need any tools other than simple objects you already have. Are you ready to learn more? Here are seven vertigo exercises to help you find quick relief at home. 

Why Do I Need Vertigo Exercises? What Is Vertigo? 

Many people think vertigo is dizziness, but the full definition is a bit more complex. The experience involves more than mere lightheadedness. Rather, it’s the sensation that you are in motion or spinning or that the world is doing so around you.

Vertigo is a symptom, not a condition. It results from multiple causes. While some people experience only occasional, mild episodes, others have frequent, severe attacks that interfere with their daily life and ability to perform basic tasks or earn a living. 

Common Causes of Vertigo 

If vertigo is a symptom and not a condition, what causes it? Vertigo attacks come in two distinct types, and knowing which one you are dealing with helps you identify the underlying disorder. 

The Two Types of Vertigo

Vertigo either results from a problem in your inner ear or your brain. If it occurs in your inner ear, physicians might refer to it as peripheral vertigo, benign positional vertigo or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This symptom occurs when calcium carbonate crystals become impacted in your ear’s semicircular canal. Causes of this type of vertigo may include:

  • Meneire’s disease
  • Certain medications 
  • Certain head injuries that affect the inner ear
  • Inflammation of the inner ear or vestibular nerve
  • Pressure on the vestibular nerve from a benign tumor

The other type of vertigo originates from a problem in your brainstem or cerebellum. People with this type of vertigo often have secondary symptoms like difficulty swallowing, double vision, weak limbs, facial paralysis and slurred speech. It’s often referred to as central vertigo, which may be caused by:

  • Blood vessel disease
  • Certain drugs
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Vestibular migraines, a type of migraine disease
  • Seizures
  • Strokes 
  • Tumors, either cancerous or noncancerous

Vertigo attacks can severely impact your ability to live your daily life. For example, you shouldn’t drive a car when symptoms strike, making it difficult to commute to and from work if you suffer frequent episodes. Some people get a warning, a sense that something is “wrong” or “off,” which allows them to pull over safely, but others may surrender their licenses. 

Those with symptoms typical of central vertigo have an additional worry. Symptoms like slurred speech could prompt law enforcement to suspect you of substance abuse, even if you pull over before your driving becomes erratic. These individuals are likely to suffer the biggest impact on their overall quality of life. 

However, take heart. Sometimes, vertigo attacks from lesser-known but temporary culprits that are easily addressed, like dehydration. When your body’s fluid levels drop by as little as 1%, you can experience this symptom, but it should abate as soon as you sip some water. 

Other people develop vertigo because of a fear of heights. This type of vertigo attack works both ways. You might begin fearing heights after you experience symptoms when on a ladder, creating a psychological link that makes you avoid similar situations in the future. 

Testing for Vertigo

If you have access to health care, your doctor may perform one of the following tests to determine the underlying cause:

  • The Dix-Hallpike Maneuver: This test determines whether your vertigo stems from your inner ear or brain and involves your physician maneuvering your head into various positions in an attempt to trigger symptoms. 
  • The Head-Impulse Test: This tests how well your brain and eyes work together and involves your physician observing your rapid eye movements as your head changes position. 
  • The Romberg Test: In this exam, your physician has you stand up straight with your eyes closed to measure how much you sway without visual input. 
  • The Fukuda-Unterberger Test: This is similar to the Romberg test, although you’ll march in place as your physician observes how far you move from the midline. 

Fortunately, even people who don’t have access to a doctor can still get rid of vertigo fast. Try some of the best at-home exercises for vertigo and observe which ones bring you the desired results. 

How Do You Get Rid of Vertigo Fast at Home?

What can you do when a vertigo attack strikes? How can you get rid of vertigo fast and get back to the rich and meaningful life you love? 

You may be able to find relief through the following exercises. Bear in mind that they don’t work for everyone — it all depends on the underlying cause of your symptoms. However, many people discover that one or more of these six best at-home exercises for vertigo do the trick. 

6 Best At-Home Exercises for Vertigo 

You’ll probably notice that some of these exercises resemble the tests physicians use to determine the cause of your vertigo. Therefore, attempting them provides valuable insight you can share with your doctor if you don’t find relief from vertigo fast. 

1. The Brandt-Daroff Exercise

  • Sit on the edge of your bed.
  • Lie down on your left side and turn your head 45 degrees to the right, so your nose faces the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds or until dizziness fades.
  • Sit up and wait for 30 seconds. Mindfully explore how you feel. 
  • Repeat on the other side.

You should repeat this exercise five times, performing it twice a day. It works best if you have peripheral vertigo resulting from a problem in your inner ear. 

2. The Semont Liberatory Maneuver 

  • Sit at the end of your bed, turning your head 45 degrees to the right so your nose faces parallel to your mattress. 
  • Lie down on your left as you maintain your head position, landing with your nose pointing up. Hold this position for 60 seconds. 
  • Quickly rise to a seated position and rapidly lie down on your right side with your nose facing the bed. Remain still for 60 seconds. 
  • Return to a seated position and remain stationary for at least five minutes. 

The directions above will work if your issue is in your left ear. If you have right ear issues, reverse the sides. 

3. The Foster or Half-Somersault Maneuver

  • Kneel on a low bench or yoga mat with your palms flat on it in front of you, gazing down. 
  • Tilt your head and look up at the ceiling. Hold for 15 seconds. 
  • Put your head on the mat or bench in a half-somersault position, gazing toward your knees and tucking in your chin. Hold for 15 seconds. 
  • Turn your head 45 degrees, gazing to the side. Hold for 15 seconds. 
  • Keep your gaze in the same position and raise your arms, holding this pose for 15 seconds. 
  • Keep your head in the same position as you gently return to kneeling, raising your hands off the mat or bench. Hold for 15 seconds. 
  • Repeat these steps in the other direction. 

4. Gaze Stabilization Exercise

  • Sit on a yoga mat or your bed. 
  • Extend one arm straight in front of you and gaze at your raised index finger. Hold your gaze for 15 seconds. 
  • Slowly turn your head to the left and the right, keeping your eyes fixed on your index finger. Continue this shift for 10 seconds. 
  • Move your head up and down, keeping your eyes fixed on your index finger and continue for 10 seconds. 
  • Move your head on a diagonal as you keep your eyes fixed on your index finger. Repeat for 10 seconds. 
  • Repeat this sequence on the other side. 

5. Romberg Stance 

  • Stand with your feet touching one another. You may hold onto a chair or wall for balance if you feel extremely dizzy or worry about falling. 
  • Close your eyes, keep your head straight and hold for 15 seconds. 
  • Open your eyes and turn your head from side to side, letting your gaze follow for 10 to 15 seconds. 
  • Keeping your eyes open, move your head up and down for 15 seconds. 
  • Repeat this sequence, keeping your eyes closed for the entire exercise. 

Please note: people often perform these exercises with the help of a trained physical therapist. You may or may not have access to one, but if possible, perform standing exercises with a partner present to steady you if you grow wobbly. 

6. Single-Leg Balance

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. You may hold onto a chair or a wall for balance. 
  • Raise your left foot off the floor, bending the knee and hold for 10 seconds. 
  • Repeat this process with your right foot. 
  • If you feel confident, you can try moving your head from side to side or up and down as you hold your balance. 

The above exercises can get rid of peripheral vertigo fast. If none of these work, the problem may lie in your brainstem or cerebellum. There is one more technique you can attempt to get relief. 

What Is the Epley Maneuver?

The Epley Maneuver is perhaps the best at-home exercise for vertigo. Physical therapists and physiotherapists swear by it to get rid of vertigo fast. It’s also for the treatment of peripheral vertigo or BPPV.

The original version of this maneuver involves the assistance of a physical therapist. You lie on the bed or treatment table with your head extended off it — your professional provides the necessary neck support.

Can I Do the Epley Maneuver Myself? 

Yes, you can do the Epley Maneuver yourself. If you want to try this best at-home exercise for vertigo, you’ll substitute a pillow for your therapist and use the bed to keep your head from dropping back too far.

How? You do so by placing a firm, supportive pillow beneath your shoulders. This allows your head to recline slightly without dropping back or hyperextending your neck — it remains on the bed. 

Does the Epley Maneuver Work Immediately?

The Epley Maneuver is the quickest way to relieve peripheral vertigo or BPPV. It only takes a few minutes for most people to experience relief, although you may need to repeat the process several times before your symptoms completely abate. 

To perform this exercise, do the following if the problem is with your right ear: 

  • Start by sitting on a bed with a pillow at hand and adequate room to lie back. Position the pillow so that your shoulders rest on it when you lie back, leaving space for your head to recline slightly.
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the right. 
  • Quickly lie back, keeping your head turned, supporting your shoulders on the pillow and your head reclined. Your gaze should remain fixed 45 degrees to the right. Hold this position for 30 seconds. 
  • Turn your head 90 degrees to the left without lifting it. Your gaze will now be 45 degrees to the left. Hold for 30 seconds. 
  • Turn your head another 90 degrees to the left so that your face is pushing into the bed. Wait another 30 seconds. The slight recline helps you breathe. 
  • Sit up on your left side. 

If your problem is in the left ear, begin by fixing your gaze 45 degrees to the left and follow the above directions, reversing your head pivot. 

How to Tell Which Ear Is Causing Vertigo

If there’s anything nice to say about peripheral vertigo, it’s that it’s relatively simple to tell which ear is causing the problem. This issue typically occurs when your head shifts position and the calcium carbonate crystals become trapped in your semicircular canals. 

Therefore, if your vertigo attacks strike when you turn your head to the left or lie on your left side, congratulations — your left ear is the culprit. If your symptoms occur when you shift or tilt your head to the right, that’s your bugbear. 

How to Cure Vertigo Permanently 

Can you cure vertigo permanently? The answer is yes and no. Regular therapy can help you manage the symptoms of peripheral vertigo so effectively that attacks rarely, if ever, impact your daily life. For example, performing the seven exercises above once or twice a day strengthens your balance while helping to keep the calcium carbonate crystals from becoming stuck in your semicircular canals. 

Treating central vertigo entails addressing the underlying issue. While there’s currently no cure for multiple sclerosis, certain medications can remedy blood diseases and prevent many migraine attacks. 

If a tumor is the cause of either peripheral or central vertigo, removing it should solve the problem permanently. Likewise, quitting medications that induce vertigo will result in lasting relief. Talk to your doctor about additional treatment options that may not produce the same side effects. 

Furthermore, some medications can treat vertigo if your symptoms are severe. They can also relieve associated signs like nausea and vomiting that likewise interfere with your lifestyle. 

Vertigo Exercises to Find Quick Relief at Home

Now you know what vertigo is. More importantly, you understand how to get rid of vertigo attacks fast and get back to your life. 

Try these best at-home exercises for vertigo to relieve your symptoms and evaluate if you need to see a doctor. Determining the underlying cause may lead to lasting relief.

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