What is vertigo?

Do you feel your head spinning around? If the feeling of dizziness or uncontrolled imbalance in the body is troubling you, you may be suffering from vertigo. Vertigo is a sensation of your head spinning, often triggered by moving too quickly. It makes one feel like your surroundings are moving when they are, in fact, not. It is common amongst adults, more so amongst older women. It is not uncommon for everyone to experience vertigo at least once in their lifetime.

An individual with vertigo may experience balance issues and lightheadedness. Vertigo is a feeling of spinning dizziness, like the area or surrounding environment is spinning in circles around the individual. Many people inaccurately describe vertigo as a fear of heights. Vertigo can happen when someone looks down from a great height, but it usually refers to any temporary or continuing spells of dizziness which occur because of problems in the inner ear or brain.

It's not an illness but a symptom. Many different conditions can lead to vertigo. An individual with vertigo will feel like their head or the space around them is turning or moving. Vertigo is a symptom, but it might lead to or occur along with other symptoms, too.

Common symptoms of vertigo include:

• Dizziness

• Blurry eyesight

• Hearing loss in one ear

• Balance problem

• Ringing sound in ears

• Sweating

• Nausea/vomiting

Vertigo symptoms may last from a few minutes to hours, depending upon the cause. Treatment of vertigo depends on the symptoms and causes. Certain medications can help treat the symptoms. 

See: Anxiety, Vertigo, Bloating, and Edema with Acupuncture and Asian Herbs.

Vertigo exercises & treatments at home

What are the Home Remedies for Vertigo? 

There are some vertigo home remedies which can reduce the effect of vertigo on an individual, such as:

1. The major treatment includes repositioning exercises. These are safe to do at home. However, it is better to consult your physician before doing these, especially if you have other medical conditions.

a.       Epley Maneuver: Epley maneuver is a safe and effective procedure that can help treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in the majority of patients as a bedside maneuver. Vertigo results due to altered canal dynamics. Epley Maneuver technique helps move the canaliths out of the canal to the utricle where they no longer affect the canal dynamics.1. The steps to do it are as follows –

Step 1 – Sit upright on a flat surface with a pillow behind you to keep your legs outstretched.

Step 2 – Turn your head 45 degrees to the right.

Step 3 – Keep your head still tilted, quickly recline yourself towards the pillow. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Step 4 – Slowly turn your head to the left, 90 degrees. Do not lift your neck.

Step 5 – Shift your whole body towards the left side.

Step 6 – Slowly return to your original position by looking forward and sitting straight up.

b.       The Semont Maneuver: This therapy requires less neck flexibility than the Epley Maneuver, and is usually less known but just as effective.

Step 1 – Sit upright on a surface with a pillow behind you and your legs outstretched.

Step 2 – Lie down and turn to your right, then look upwards towards your left side.

Step 3 – Quickly sit up and turn to your left side. Keep your head facing your left. You should be looking down towards the ground now.

Step 4 – Slowly return to your original position, looking forward and sitting straight up.

c. The Brandt-Daroff technique: This is the simplest to do, but you must do it in a safe place and ensure that you will not be driving for a while since it induces some dizziness.

Step 1 – Sit on a flat surface, with your legs dangling as if on a chair.

Step 2 – Turn your head to your extreme left and then lay your head and torso to the right side. Your legs should not move. Hold the position for 30 seconds.

Step 3 – Sit up and turn your head back to the center position.

Step 4 – Repeat the exercise on the opposite side by turning your head to the far right and then laying down on your left side.

You can repeat this exercise in 5 sets and do it as often as three times a day, twice a week.  

2. Gingko Biloba: This has been found to be an effective medication for treating vertigo. The extracts of this herb helps decrease blood viscosity and enhance cerebral and vestibular blood flow. It's powerful antioxidant properties help protect the neurons from oxidative damage and improve mitochondrial function and metabolism. Gingko Biloba extract is available for purchase in liquid or capsule form. Daily intake can lessen vertigo symptoms and restore balance.

3. Ginger tea: A study in the Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science finds ginger origin can lessen the vertigo effects better than manual repositioning, like the Epley maneuver, independently.Steep ginger root in boiling water for 5 minutes, and pour a cup. Honey and lemon can assist with the bitter flavor. Drinking ginger tea twice a day might help dizziness, nausea, and other vertigo symptoms.

4. Almonds: Almonds are rich sources of vitamins B, A, and E. Eating a daily handful of almonds can assist with vertigo symptoms. How almonds help is unknown, but it's possible the vitamin content may fight the causes of vertigo.

5. Dietary modifications: If you are experiencing vertigo symptoms due to an ear infection called Ménière's Disease, then some alterations in your diet can help promote the balance of fluids in your ear. You should avoid consuming salty, sugary foods, alcohol, and caffeine as these foods can worsen your symptoms and trigger migraine attacks.

6. If your vertigo is associated with migraine, then avoid foods like smoked meats, chicken liver, yogurt, ripened cheeses, chocolate, citrus fruits, bananas, nuts, and red wine help keep you away from vertigo and migraine symptoms.

5. Lower mental stress: Mental stress can trigger migraine and vertigo attacks. Managing your stress levels is good for improving your condition of vertigo. There are various ways you can manage your stress levels like meditation, deep breathing, or exercises.4.

6. Yoga is another good way to improve balance in your ear canal. When practiced regularly, certain yoga poses can help boost the blood circulation towards the cerebral and vestibular region. Thus, yoga eases the symptoms of vertigo. A few easy yoga exercises like the Child's Pose or Corpse Pose can help stay fit and reduce vertigo symptoms. Tai Chi also helps in reducing stress and increase flexibility and balance.5.

7. Sleep deprivation often accelerates vertigo. A short nap during the day or during an attack and a regular 6-8 hours of sleep at night can resolve the vertigo symptoms.

8. Vitamin D supplements:  Studies show that Vitamin D deficiency can cause vertigo. Researchers have also been found that vitamin D receptors are predominantly present inside the ear canal. Vitamin D supplements can help regulate proper calcium balance on calcium channel transport systems. A glass of orange juice or fortified milk, egg yolks, or canned tuna can help boost your vitamin D.3.

9.  Avoid alcohol. Alcohol has an adverse effect on many health issues as it does for vertigo. Consuming alcohol dehydrates you and changes the fluid composition in your inner ears, causing vertigo.6.

10. Stay hydrated. Water intake is another basic wellness tip. Well, limiting sodium may help to some extent. But it is necessary to monitor your water intake in all seasons and keep yourself hydrated to maintain the balance of fluid in your inner ears. Dehydration can cause symptoms of vertigo. Even mild dehydration can cause a problem. Staying hydrated can help alleviate dizziness and balance difficulties.

The body needs a minimum of 8 to 10 cups of liquid daily. When this includes all fluids, water is the best choice since it's calorie-free and caffeine-free rather than a diuretic. Diuretics increase the salt and water expelled by the body as pee.

11. Essential oils: Various essential oils may help to alleviate the symptoms of vertigo.

Essential oils are organic and economical alternatives for managing vertigo symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, and nausea. Options available for managing vertigo symptoms include lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oils. Essential oils should be applied topically after diluting in a carrier oil or inhaled using an infuser. Someone may need to experiment with a number of oils to obtain the best one to deal with their vertigo symptoms.

12. Apple cider vinegar and honey: Both apple cider vinegar and honey are thought to have curative properties to alleviate blood circulation to the brain. Two components, honey, and one part apple cider vinegar, may prevent and treat vertigo symptoms. Low blood sugar may be to blame as a common cause of dizziness, and apple cider vinegar might help with this, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Researchers fed two groups of individuals with a carb-rich meal. Half were given an apple cider vinegar drink following the meal and half a placebo beverage. The study participants included people with diabetes and non-diabetics that were insulin-sensitive or insulin-resistant. People who obtained the vinegar drink had improved post-meal blood sugar levels and had fewer peaks and valleys. However, experts caution that people with diabetes shouldn't attempt this hint without talking to their physicians. But if you are healthy, it is safe to have one tablespoon of ACV daily.

13. Acupressure: Acupressure applies the very same concepts as acupuncture, but it's without the needles. Acupressure can promote health and comfort. It helps manage vertigo by stimulating pressure points across the body. One common method, known as the P6 acupressure method, involves a powerful pressure point situated in both joints involving the inner forearm and the wrist.

14, Simple Home exercises:

Head Movement

- Sit in a straight position and stretch out your arm. Focus your eyes on your thumb 

- Move the thumb from one side to the other and follow along with the head motion.

- Repeat this exercise by moving the thumb down and up and after it with head motion. Do 20 repetitions.

- Do this exercise for 5 minutes each day.

Sitting and Standing exercise

- Sit on a chair in a straight posture and slowly stand up.

- Repeat this for 20 times. You have to do this exercise with your eyes open initially. As soon as you feel your balancing is advancing, you can perform this exercise with eyes closed.

Throwing & Catching Ball

- Sit straight and toss the ball from one hand to another above your eye level ten times each day.

Twist the Toes

- Sit on a mat or mattress.

- Bend down and touch your toes, with a fixed gaze.

- Do this ten times per day.

Exercise While Walking

- Make certain your path is clear of any dangerous corners or things while performing this exercise.

- Try to walk in a straight line

- Rotate your head gently from one side to the other while walking.

- Do this exercise for 5 minutes daily.

15. Eat whole grains: According to the Harvard Heart Letter, a heavy meal of foods that your body digests fast, like white rice, potatoes, and foods packed with refined sugar and flour, can cause your blood glucose to drop and cause you to feel fuller. To avoid dizziness caused by blood sugar spikes and drops, eat slow-digesting, high-fiber foods such as beans and whole grains. Lean protein in chicken and fish are good choices.

16. Lifestyle home remedies: Consider these tips if you tend to experience repeated episodes of nausea:

- Avoid sudden movement and walk with a cane for stability, if necessary.

- Be alert to the potential for losing your balance, which may cause the falling and serious injury.

- For your safety, fall-proof your house by removing tripping hazards like area rugs and exposed electrical cords. Use nonslip mats onto your tub and shower floors. Use good lighting.

- Sit or lie down immediately once you feel dizzy. Lie still with your eyes shut in a darkened room in case you are experiencing a serious episode of vertigo.

See: Case of Vertigo and Success with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Summary

Some simple wellness measures can help you avoid vertigo and stay healthy like being hydrated, a proper sleep routine, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Yoga, relaxation, and meditation can help minimize some causes of vertigo with the support of these ancient methods. Patients with Meniere's disease and Vestibular migraine are advised to have low salt and high potassium diet. Occasionally low blood glucose may cause dizziness in patients of diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to dizziness sometimes. Consult your physician to suggest vitamin D supplements and supplements. Avoid alcohol and decrease caffeine consumption. It may be easier said than done, but try to keep a normal lifestyle with sleeping and eating on time.

See: Chinese Herbal Medicine for Vertigo and Cough

References

1. Gaur S, Awasthi SK, Bhadouriya SK, Saxena R, Pathak VK, Bisht M. Efficacy of Epley's Maneuver in Treating BPPV Patients: A Prospective Observational Study. Int J Otolaryngol. 2015;2015:487160. DOI:10.1155/2015/487160

2. Sokolova L, Hoerr R, Mishchenko T. Treatment of Vertigo: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial Comparing Efficacy & Safety of Ginkgo biloba Extract EGb 761 and Betahistine. Int J Otolaryngol. 2014;2014:682439. DOI:10.1155/2014/682439

3. Sheikhzadeh M, Lotfi Y, Mousavi A, Heidari B, Monadi M, Bakhshi E. Influence of supplemental vitamin D on the intensity of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: A longitudinal clinical study. Caspian J Intern Med. 2016;7(2):93-98.

4. Filippopulos FM, Albers L, Straube A, et al. Vertigo and dizziness in adolescents: Risk factors and their population attributable risk. PLoS One. 2017;12(11):e0187819. Published 2017 Nov 13. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0187819

5. Biswas A, Barui B. Specific Organ Targeted Vestibular Physiotherapy: The Pivot in the Contemporary Management of Vertigo and Imbalance. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;69(4):431-442. DOI:10.1007/s12070-017-1236-9

6. Richardson BD, Rossi DJ. Recreational concentrations of alcohol enhance synaptic inhibition of cerebellar unipolar brush cells via pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms. J Neurophysiol. 2017;118(1):267-279. DOI:10.1152/jn.00963.2016

7. Vertigo. (2017). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vertigo/

8. Vestibular neuronitis. (2016).  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vestibular-neuronitis/

9. Iwasaki, S., & Yamasoba, T. (2015). Dizziness and imbalance in the elderly: Age-related decline in the vestibular system.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4306472/

10. Kerber, K. A. (2006). The genetics of vertigo. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2006-951620

11. Kotlykov, P. (2019). Natural and homemade remedies for vertigo. https://www.vertigotreatment.org/post/home-remedies-for-vertigo

12. Chiu, C.-W., et al. (2015). Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for dizziness and vertigo in emergency department: A pilot cohort study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4459064/

13. Cholesteatoma. (n.d.). http://vestibular.org/cholesteatoma

14. Baumgartner, B., & Taylor, R. S. (2019). Peripheral vertigo.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430797/

15. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. (2017). https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigo/

16. Brandt-Daroff exercises. (2014). http://www.swbh.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Brandt-Daroff-Exercises-ML3094.pdf

17. Causes of dizziness. (n.d.). https://vestibular.org/about-vestibular-disorders/causes-dizziness

18. Clinical Nutrition: Postprandial hypotension in older adults: Can it be prevented by drinking water before the meal?

19. American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology: "Effects of Ginger on Motion Sickness and Gastric Slow-Wave Dysrhythmias Induced by Circular Vection"

20. Mayo Clinic: "Orthostatic Hypotension"

21. American Academy of Family Physicians: "Motion Sickness"

22. Tania Elliott, MD, clinical instructor in medicine at NYU Langone

23. Mayo Clinic.og: "Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet."

24. Diabetes Care: "Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes"

25. Mayo Clinic: Dizziness

26. International Journal of Otolaryngology: "A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial Comparing Efficacy and Safety of Ginko Biloba Extract EGb 761 and Betahistine"

See: Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Health Benefits

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