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Remedies for Vertigo

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 20, 2020

Vertigo is the sudden sensation of losing balance, associated particularly with the feeling of looking down from a great height. It can also feel like you are spinning or the room around you is spinning. Vertigo attacks can last for a few seconds or persist for a couple of hours and even days.

Vertigo is considered a symptom, not a condition, and has been associated with ear infections like Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, and vestibular neuritis. While these diseases are different, they affect the ear in a similar way by throwing off the brain’s sense of balance.

Around 30% of people will suffer vertigo at least once in their lives, and it's a very frequent symptom in emergency patients. Thankfully, most vertigo symptoms can be treated successfully.

Remedies and Treatments for Vertigo

If you're experiencing a vertigo attack, the best thing to do is lie down in a quiet, dark room, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. This may help ease any nausea symptoms and reduce the sensation of spinning. It is also important to avoid stressful situations because anxiety and anger can make vertigo symptoms worse. 

Vertigo is most commonly treated with simple exercises or procedures. It is recommended that you perform these exercises with a trained physician or after consulting with a doctor. Exercises for vertigo include:

Epley Maneuver

This maneuver, also known as the Canalith Repositioning Maneuver, is the most common exercise to address vertigo, specifically BPPV. This easy procedure can be done by yourself at home.

  1. Lie on a flat surface like the floor or a bed with a pillow behind your head, and your legs outstretched.
  2. Sit up with your back straight.
  3. Turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  4. With your head still tilted, quickly recline back down to the pillow and stay in this position for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn your head 90 degrees to the left without lifting your neck.
  6. Turn your entire body so you end up completely on your left side.
  7. Return to the starting position and slowly sit back up.

Gufoni Maneuver 

This maneuver provides a quick and effective counter to the effects of vertigo.

If the vertigo is more intense when your head is turned toward the unaffected ear:

  1. Start in a sitting position.
  2. Rapidly lie down toward the affected side and hold for one to two minutes.
  3. Turn your head quickly 45 degrees toward the ceiling and hold for two minutes.
  4. Sit back upright.

If the vertigo is more intense when your head is turned toward the affected ear:

  1. Start in a sitting position.
  2. Rapidly lie down toward the unaffected side and hold for one to two minutes.
  3. Turn your head quickly 45 degrees toward the floor and hold for two minutes.
  4. Sit back upright.

Semont Maneuver
The Semont-Toupet maneuver is similar to the Epley maneuver, but it requires less neck flexibility.

  1. Sit upright on a flat surface like the floor or a bed, with a pillow behind you, and your legs outstretched.
  2. Lie down and turn to your right side.
  3. Tilt your head 90 degrees to look upward.
  4. Quickly sit up and turn to your left side, keeping your head facing to your left. You should now be looking down to the ground.
  5. Slowly return to the original sitting position and look forward.

Zuma Maneuver 

The Zuma maneuver is a recently developed exercise that has also been shown to be effective against vertigo.

  1. Start in a sitting position.
  2. Quickly lie down on the affected side and hold for three minutes.
  3. Rotate your head 90 degrees toward the ceiling and hold for another three minutes.
  4. Move your body to lie facing the ceiling. Rotate your head 90 degrees, now looking over the shoulder of the affected side, and hold for three minutes.
  5. Rotate your head back up to face the ceiling and slowly rise to a sitting position.

While the above maneuvers address vertigo and related symptoms while they are happening, the following activities and considerations may help you prevent vertigo attacks:

Yoga

Yoga can help you regain balance, focus, coordination, and movement—and can help train the brain to counteract the effects of vertigo. Simple positions like Child’s Pose or Corpse Pose combined with deep, regular breaths can calm the body and mind. By reducing anxiety, yoga and deep breathing could prevent vertigo attacks in some people.

Hydration

Dehydration is detrimental to the body, and it can cause vertigo symptoms to flare. Make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Be aware of situations where you are losing more water than normal, like at the gym or outside on a hot summer day.

Vitamin D Deficiency

One study suggested that people who suffer from vertigo could have a deficiency of v itamin D. While more research needs to be done to confirm the correlation, this study did show that patients who were given vitamin D supplements stopped having vertigo attacks. 

When to See a Doctor

You should seek medical advice if vertigo symptoms persist for a couple of hours or keep reoccurring for more than a couple of days. A doctor may prescribe medication, such as prochlorperazine and antihistamines, or recommend vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT).

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Audiology Research: “New Treatment Strategy for Apogeotropic Horizontal Canal Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.” 

Chicago Dizziness and Hearing: “Lateral Canal BPPV.”

Deutsches Arzteblatt International: “The Treatment and Natural Course of Peripheral and Central Vertigo.”

Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery: “The Clinical Response Time of Epley Maneuvers for Treatment of BPPV: A Hospital Based Study.”

Journal of Medical Science and Clinical Research: “Impact of Yoga Therapy on Anxiety and Depression.”

Journal of Neurology: “Treatment of apogeotropic benign positional vertigo: comparison of therapeutic head-shaking and modified Semont maneuver.” 

Mayo Clinic: “Dizziness.”

Medical Hypotheses: “Vitamin D Deficiency and Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo.”

National Health Service of Scotland: “Vertigo.”

Otology and Neurotology: “Repositioning maneuver for the treatment of the apogeotropic variant of horizontal canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.”

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