Vertigo is a symptomatic disorder due to problems of the inner ear or the brain. When the inner ear gets affected due to an injury, infection or any other cause, the person experiences vertigo.
Inner ear problems that cause Vertigo
Meniere’s disease: This is caused by the excess fluid build up in the inner ear that may cause hearing loss and blocked ear feeling along with vertigo.
BPPV: Stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. In this medical condition calcium crystals called otoconia are irritating the sensory nerve fibers in the semi-circular canals of the inner ear causing vertigo. Older people are more prone to this disease.
Vestibular neuritis: An ear infection (often caused by a viral infection) that inflames the nerves in the inner ear. These nerves in the inner ear send signals to the brain to help the body balance itself by sensing gravity.
Other Causes of Vertigo
- Vestibular migraine
- Perilymph fistula
- Mal de debarquement syndrome
- Vestibular paroxysmia
- Superior semicircular canal dehiscence
- Tumors – of the balance nerve or brain
- Head injury – leading to injury to the inner ear
- Multiple sclerosis
- Side-effects of some medications
- Phobic postural vertigo
- Systemic disorders
Vertigo can cause imbalance and lightheadedness or a spinning sensation of the head. Vertigo can last for seconds to minutes to hours to days depending on the underlying cause. If you have vertigo, you may feel dizzy any time of the day; getting into the bed, while waking up, walking, tilting your head sideways or up and down etc. Vertigo by itself is not life-threatening but it causes so much discomfort that it can affect your daily life adversely. The person may risk a fall and hurt herself during a vertigo episode.
Vertigo or dizziness need to be evaluated to find out the cause and then can be treated with medication, exercises and by employing some home remedies and exercises for relief.
Before trying any of these, it is advised that you consult our specialist doctors, who, after doing the diagnostic tests, can suggest suitable exercises and treatments for more effective and long-lasting solution to control your vertigo.
These are also called Vestibular Rehabilitation Exercises and are recommended by doctors to help relieve vertigo. These exercises help to rectify body’s loss of balance caused by inner ear problems by stimulating the central nervous system.
Vestibular Rehab therapies work by improving gaze stabilization, desensitize the sensory system by repetitive movement and help the body develop compensatory and substitution strategies to make the balance better.
Vestibular exercises have to be done based on the underlying disease causing vertigo, and after taking into consideration patient factors including age, weight, knee, back or neck problems, other associated diseases etc . provide customized vestibular rehabilitation therapy.
Some of the exercises that are prescribed include
Rapid Eye Movement
- Sit straight.
- Look up and down rapidly for 20 times
- Look sideways – left to right, for 20 times.
- Don’t move your head while doing eye movements.
- You need to sit straight with your eyes focused on your thumb with arm stretched out.
- Move the thumb side to sid and follow it with head movement.
- Repeat this exercise by moving the thumb up and down and following it with head movement. Do 20 repetitions.
- Do this exercise for 5 minutes daily.
Eye Exercise While Walking
- Make sure your path is clear of any dangerous corners or things while doing this exercise.
- Start walking.
- Shut your eyes for a couple of seconds and open.
- Do this exercise for 5 minutes a day.
- Sit up straight.
- Shrug your shoulders 20 times.
- Then turn your shoulder left to right and right to left for 20 times.
Sitting and Standing
- Sit straight on a bed or chair and slowly stand up.
- Do this for 20 times. You must do this exercise with eyes open initially. Once you feel your balancing is improving, you can do this exercise with eyes closed.
Passing the Ball
- Sit straight and pass the ball from one hand to another above your eye level for 10 times daily.
Touch the toes
- Bend down to touch your toes, with fixed gaze and focus on your head movement.
- Do this for 5-10 times a day.
Do not try to do Epley maneuver, Semont Maneuver or Brandt-Daroff Exercise etc on your own without consulting a vertigo specialist:
Specialised therapists at NeuroEquilibrium will guide and supervise your exercise routines. This helps in keeping track of your improvement and having a constant guide by your side.
After knowing the various exercises for vertigo, let’s explore some home remedies that are effective in keeping vertigo spells in check.
Home Remedies for Vertigo
Yoga, meditation and relaxation: Vertigo can reduce substantially with the help of these ancient techniques.
- Low salt diet – Patients with Meniere’s disease and Vestibular migraine are advised to have a low salt and high potassium diet.
- Sometimes low blood sugar may trigger dizziness. Quickly grab a chocolate bar or a quick snack full of sugars and carbs to feel stable
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency may cause dizziness sometimes. Consult your doctor to suggest Vitamin D supplements and foods
- Avoid alcohol and reduce caffeine consumption
Try to maintain a regular lifestyle – eating and sleeping on time.
Reduce screen time –long hours on TV, computers, laptops, cell phones and other electronics can irritate the balance nerve.
NeuroEquilibrium houses finest of the doctors to treat vertigo patients. You will be advised on how to take care of yourselves when you get vertigo attacks at home or in your workplace. read more
Author: Dr. Anita Bhandari
Dr.Anita Bhandari is MS(ENT) and a consultant Neurotologist practicing in Jaipur, India. She has done a fellowship in Otology and Neurotology from Singapore. She has set up a state-of-art Vertigo and Ear Clinic in Jaipur (www.vertigoandearclinic.com) which is amongst the most advanced vertigo clinics in India.
Dr. Bhandari is actively involved in development of diagnostic equipment in the field of diagnosis and rehabilitation of vertigo and balance disorders. She has contributed to the development of Computerized Dynamic Visual Acuity , Cranio-Coprpography , Subjective Visual Vertical , Video Nystagmography and
Posturography diagnostic equipment and has two patents in this field . She has also been involved in development of Virtual reality for vestibular rehabilitation . She is Scientific advisor to NeuroEquilibrium, a unique project to set up 500 super-specialized vertigo and dizziness clinics in India , Asia & Africa leveraging cloud technology.
She has authored chapters on ‘Vestibular Physiology’, ‘Dynamic Visual Acuity’, ‘Surgical treatment of vertigo’, ‘Difficult cases in vertigo’ in various Neurotology textbooks. She is an invited speaker in various Vertigo & Neurotology conferences across the world.