Do you suffer from vertigo? You may be surprised to learn that exercise and physical activity helps to ease the symptoms and prevention of vertigo. Choosing a regular exercise program can help with reducing stress and anxiety, which will improve your physical health in general.
Table of Contents
Vertigo is a condition in which the body spins or becomes unsteady, producing the illusion of movement when no movement has occurred. The symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears. Generally, there are two types of vertigo:
- Benign paroxysmal (episodic) vertigo (BPPV) that occurs sporadically and unpredictably; the effects may last from a few seconds to several hours. BPPV is often triggered by certain movements of the head, especially rolling over in bed or tilting your head backward to look up at the sky. These movements can quickly make you feel dizzy
- Paroxysmal vertigo (PV) is the most common type of vertigo that happens suddenly and unexpectedly at any time. Symptoms include shaking or an uneven heartbeat that can last anywhere from one to several minutes. If the symptoms are mild, you will have trouble at first standing up straight because your equilibrium system is either not working properly or has been thrown out of whack.
Causes of Vertigo
The cause of vertigo is not known but there are several theories. One theory is that weak blood circulation may lead to poor blood drainage to the brain, causing an imbalance in chemicals that normalize the inner ear (hearing) function. Vertigo is most often brought on by certain triggers—such as stress, fatigue, dehydration, sudden movements, and changes in elevation—but may also occur without explanation.
Damage to the ear or brain is not a common cause of vertigo. Vertigo caused by ear damage (otosclerosis) comes on gradually over time. The patient may have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds for several weeks to months before experiencing vertigo or other symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Vertigo
Many people associate vertigo with spinning. This is not always the case. Vertigo usually occurs gradually or sporadically, with episodes lasting from a few seconds to several hours. The duration of the episode will depend on how much your brain is being taxed. Examples of “normal” vertigo include:
- Standing up straight after lying down for a while feels very strange.
- You may feel lightheaded when standing up after lying down for a long time.
- When you move your head from side to side, your vision will quickly become blurred.
- A ringing in your ears may suddenly occur.
- You may vomit or have difficulty swallowing.
- If you hold your head up quickly, you may experience blurred vision.
- You may even feel as though you are hallucinating as your body turns in circles or as though you are being pulled backward or forwards by a thread.
- If the vertigo is accompanied by other symptoms such as unsteadiness, weakness, or tingling sensations throughout the body or even sudden flashes of light before your eyes, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting then it is more likely to be caused by a medical condition.
8 Simple Exercises to Combat Vertigo
Exercise helps to maintain circulation in your body, making your blood more effective and helping to clear away toxins and waste products. This will relieve pressure from your inner ear and help you to be less dizzy.
The first exercise to combat vertigo is actually one that you can do without any equipment, simply by moving your eyes around the room. Try to follow an object with them, or make large circles. This will be a good way to see that the vertigo is not caused by an actual tilt in the room.
If the vertigo is worse as you move your head closer to the ground, it may be caused by a diseased eye muscle. This is difficult to diagnose as an actual physical condition since there are no symptoms for this anomaly. The best way to combat this is to tilt your head back slightly so that you are looking up at the ceiling. This will activate the muscles of the eyes and reduce the sensation of vertigo.
If your eyes can tolerate it, you can increase eye movement by performing a series of small backbends. These will help to stretch out any affected eye muscles and hopefully improve their range of motion.
If your vertigo is due to head trauma, it is important to start this exercise by lying on the back. Then, tilt your head backward until you feel the weight of it pressing against your shoulders. Next, move both of your arms out in front of you with your palms facing up towards the ceiling. Slowly begin to lower both hands until they are on either side of your body. When you feel comfortable with this movement, try lowering one hand at a time. Repeat the exercise several times.
As the head and eyes become more accustomed to this exercise, increase its intensity by placing one hand on each side of your body like you did when lowering your hands. Try to keep the movement smooth and controlled and avoid jerking or bouncing while doing it.
Next, you can try breathing deeply. You can also breathe in through your nose, or breathe out through your mouth. Breathing exercises will slow your heart rate and bring oxygen to your brain, which will help you to feel better.
If you have a partner, you can have them stand by your side. They should hold your hand or have their arm around your waist to help support you as you begin to breathe deeply. This will help you to focus on the exercises and allow you to feel more secure.
Sit to Stand
Another exercise to try is to simply sit in a chair, and then stand up. This can make your brain feel better by reducing pressure on the cerebellum. Simultaneously, it can also help with relief from dizziness. Sit with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. When you stand up, you can place a hand against the wall for support.
You should be able to stand without holding onto anything, and then walk around for 10 minutes. Then, sit back down in the chair. Repeat this once or twice a day. You can also do this exercise by standing up with your back against a wall or on a chair so that you can sit on it as you rise up from a chair or the ground.
Throwing and Catching Ball
Try standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, throw a ball to the floor (make sure you aren’t too close to it when you throw it). Pick up the ball and repeat. This helps your brain get used to filtering out confusing signals. Make sure to stand straight up when throwing the ball, otherwise, you could make your symptoms worse. It’s also helpful to look at where you’re grounding through your feet while you do this exercise.
Doing this simple exercise can help relieve vertigo by allowing your brain to function normally. It can even manage to eliminate vertigo if you’re not used to it. Try doing it at home, but also do it when you go outside.
This exercise helps keep your balance steady, which can help reduce symptoms of vertigo. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (or closer). Then, turn yourself around slowly ten times. Make sure you’re not turning too quickly. Repeat this exercise slowly until you feel better. It’s helpful to look at how your feet are planted on the ground while doing this drill. This can help with your sense of balance as you turn.
This exercise can be done both indoors and outdoors. It helps because it stimulates the vestibular system, which is your inner ears are situated inside your head. This can have positive effects on vertigo. You should start slowly walking down the stairs, making sure to walk with confidence. You should also use handrails if there are no railings. As you go down the staircase, you should regain your balance as you go. Make sure to take deep breaths as you descend.
Touch the Toes
If you usually suffer from vertigo attacks when you stand still, try standing on one leg and touching your toes. It can be helpful to do this standing against a wall so that you don’t fall over. This exercise can help stimulate balance in your brain without overstimulating it which can cause dizziness.
If you are able to touch your toes, then slowly lower yourself back down. However, if you can’t reach your toes, don’t worry about it. Just try to stand on one leg as long as you can. Right before you fall over, switch to the other leg and repeat the exercise on that side of your body.
This simple exercise is another one for relieving pressure on the cerebellum. Start by standing straight up, making sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Then, walk around the room. If you have trouble walking, try placing your hand on a wall or furniture to help you stay steady as you walk. You can also try lying down on the floor with your head lifted off the ground with a pillow placed beneath it. This helps relieve pressure on your head and neck which helps reduce vertigo symptoms.
The best way to do this might be to place your hands on the floor and walk with your arms close to your body. This helps keep blood flowing to your head, improving vision and the ability of your brain to register movement.
These are some of the easiest exercises you can do to increase your balance and vision and also relieve vertigo symptoms. What you need to remember when doing any exercise is that you should pay attention when something feels off so that you can quickly fix it.
Remember to take breaks when your head gets dizzy, and try drinking water throughout the day. This makes sure that your blood flow is good.
Lifestyle Changes to Alleviate Vertigo
Those with vertigo may need to make certain lifestyle changes in order to avoid feeling nauseous. These include:
- Avoiding large crowds and open spaces.
- If driving, avoid driving in big cities or dense traffic areas.
- Avoid looking down when you walk downstairs or at the horizon while riding in a vehicle for extended periods of time.
- If a person experiences a sudden loss of balance before vertigo, the condition is probably pre-existing, meaning it was there even before the onset of vertigo.
- The most effective way to combat nausea produced by vertigo is going on a diet that eliminates large quantities of fruit and vegetables from the diet.
- A diet high in caffeine should be avoided to prevent nausea related to vertigo because caffeine can mask symptoms of other disorders that can cause dizziness.
- Avoid depressants as they can worsen dizziness or worsen the severity of episodes during episodes of dizziness. Alcohol should also be avoided.
- Use salt as a method to prevent vomiting during an episode of vertigo by putting a pinch of salt on the tongue, and swishing it around to coat the back of the mouth.
- Take magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that helps maintain the proper balance of fluids in the body.
- Avoid sugar and foods with sugar in them, except for fruit juice.
- If you develop vertigo while driving, pull over and park off to the side of the road or pullover so you can stop your vehicle before it gets into an accident if that happens to occur.
If you suffer from vertigo, then the above lifestyle changes may help you to live a healthier lifestyle. Doing so may decrease the number of times you experience dizziness in your life. However, if these changes fail to produce desired results in your condition, the best solution is to see an ENT doctor or neurologist. Your doctor can order tests that can help them determine what conditions are leading to your episodes of vertigo.
Can anyone do these exercises to help with Vertigo?
Many of the exercises are easily adapted to a range of ages and levels of physical ability. The exercises that require a specific level of difficulty can be done by most people.
Is it dangerous to do these exercises if I have Vertigo?
There is no evidence that performing these exercises will risk making your vertigo worse. In fact, some research indicates that some people with vertigo actually feel more comfortable doing them, as they provide more support for balance, which may help increase comfort and satisfaction with their condition.
How many times a day should I do exercises?
Exercises can be done at any time of day, such as while you’re cooking dinner or while watching television. However, it’s best to do exercises in an environment that is free of noise. It can be difficult to hear what you’re doing when there are other noises in the room. So, if possible, find a quiet space to do exercise in your home.
You should also consider adding exercises into your daily routine so that you’re not just doing them at specific times. Doing them throughout the day can help increase their effectiveness and make it easier for you to remember all of the benefits they provide.
What can happen if I don’t do exercise?
If you don’t perform exercises regularly, your brain may not be able to stay healthy and strong. This can have a variety of effects which include making it difficult to move around and process information effectively. If you neglect the exercises, they won’t work as well or as fast as they should. So, it’s best to start doing them without delay. You can also try finding some exercises that you enjoy so that continuing with them is more likely to be enjoyable.
Will these exercises make my Vertigo worse?
Vertigo is often accompanied by nausea. These exercises are easy to do and may help with any nausea associated with your Vertigo. However, if you have severe nausea that is accompanied by vomiting or dizziness then please seek medical attention. If you have any dizziness, headaches, or other symptoms, discontinue doing the exercises and contact your physician/health care provider immediately.
Is it okay to do these exercises if I am pregnant?
Most of the exercises are safe to do if you are pregnant, however, it is important to always discuss any new exercise or activity with your health care provider.
What if exercise doesn’t make my Vertigo go away?
If you’ve tried exercise and it hasn’t worked for you, there’s a chance that your symptoms may be caused by more serious conditions or that they’re not the result of Vertigo. If this is the case, then you should seek medical care from a doctor. It’s best to get checked out before your symptoms get worse.