About 80% of people experience dizziness at some point in their life, with greater frequency among adults over 40. In this article we present 6 maneuvers and exercises for vertigo.
There are different causes and types of vertigo, but in most cases they are due to an inner ear problem and are called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It usually appears after changing posture or moving the head.
A series of tiny calcium crystals present in the inner ear, which allow you to maintain balance, are misaligned and enter the semicircular canal of the ear. This creates the perception that everything revolves around.
What are the exercises for vertigo for?
The exercises recommended for vertigo allow the crystals that have dislocated to return to the area of the inner ear where they should be. Before doing them, however, it is important to understand which ear is causing the discomfort.
Just turn your head left and right towards your shoulder. Once this movement has been made, it is necessary to detect in which direction the dizziness is most felt. For example, if it increases when the head is tilted to the left side, it is most likely the affected side.
The Epley maneuver consists of a series of head movements usually guided by a doctor or physiotherapist. It is done as follows:
- The patient is sitting on the couch, the specialist turns the patient’s head 45 degrees towards the affected ear.
- Then he tilts it back. The patient is likely to be dizzy at this point. Then the position will be maintained until the symptom passes.
- Then, the specialist turns the patient’s head 90 degrees towards the unaffected ear to rearrange the crystals.
Version of the maneuver to be done at home
This maneuver must be supervised by an expert, but we explain a variant that can be done safely at home :
- Sit upright on the bed with your legs stretched out in front of you and lean on the mattress.
- Put a pillow on the mattress at shoulder height.
- Turn the head 45 degrees towards the affected ear.
- Lie down quickly with your shoulders on the pillow and wait 30 seconds.
- Turn your head 90 degrees to the opposite side and wait 30 seconds.
- Sit back upright.
Like the Epley maneuver, the Semont maneuver must be guided by a doctor or physiotherapist. It is done as follows:
- The patient sitting on the couch, the specialist turns the patient’s head at 45 degrees to the side opposite the affected ear.
- Keeping the head turned, the specialist makes the patient lie on his side, towards the side of the affected ear, for 30 seconds.
- Then he can sit in the starting position.
The Foster maneuver is one of the easiest to perform because it does not require lying down or the help of another person. It will be necessary to proceed as follows:
- Kneel on a comfortable surface and place your hands on the floor moving your head up and down until you feel the dizziness has subsided.
- Then, bring your head to the ground, trying to touch your knees. Without lifting the head off the ground, rotate it 45 degrees towards the side of the affected ear, looking towards the shoulder. Maintain this position for 30 seconds.
- With your head turned 45 degrees, bring it to shoulder height.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds.
- Raise your head to the normal position.
It is necessary to repeat the maneuver three to five times with a 15 minute break between each repetition.
Brandt-Daroff exercises are very easy to do at home. You have to sit on the bed and follow the following steps:
- Lie on your side with your head up, in a position of 45 degrees to the mattress.
- Remain in this position for 30 seconds or until the dizziness subsides.
- Return to a sitting position.
- Lie on the opposite side and repeat the same exercise.
According to research published in a physiotherapy journal, Brandt-Daroff exercises are very effective as long as you perform 5 sets, at least 3 times a day, for two consecutive weeks.
Other exercises for dizziness
There are other exercises recommended for dizziness. Nonetheless, it is important to perform them with caution to prevent falls and fainting injuries that sometimes accompany dizziness.
Exercises of balance and postural control
These exercises aim to give an adequate motor response to certain sensory stimuli to improve balance. We share the simplest:
- Go up and down 10 steps with your eyes open, multiple times. Then, repeat the exercise with your eyes closed.
- With your feet apart and your ankles on a mat, shift your weight back and forth, without bending your hips, simulating the movement of a pendulum. Then repeat the exercise sideways, several times. When you feel comfortable, repeat with your eyes closed.
- Tiptoe walk forward and backward in a straight line. Do it first with your eyes open and then repeat it with your eyes closed.
- Remain balanced on one leg for 30 seconds. Do it first with your eyes open and then with your eyes closed. Repeat 5 times per leg.
- Stand near a surface you can lean on and lift one foot as if to draw the letters of the alphabet with your leg. When you are done with the first leg, repeat with the other.
Exercise to improve eye reflexes and stabilize the gaze
This exercise aims to improve visual interaction when performing head movements and to achieve greater gaze stability. On a wall stick a sheet of paper with a written text and put about 25 centimeters apart.
Then, slowly move your head, from left to right, trying to keep the letters on the paper in focus. Do this exercise for one minute, pause and repeat by moving your head up and down.
Exercises for vertigo should be agreed with the doctor
Although these exercises have no contraindications, you should consult a specialist before performing them. They will be able to offer personalized recommendations on the cause of dizziness and the most suitable exercises for the case. Especially if you have a neck or back injury.
Remember that it is normal to feel dizzy when doing exercises. It is therefore advisable to perform them calmly, rest between one series and another and wait a few minutes before getting up.