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Have you ever experienced vertigo? That spinning and dizziness sensation can certainly limit your activities and can even make you sick. It sometimes makes it difficult to walk without losing your balance and you feel like things are spinning around the room. Some simple maneuvers can be done at home for relief, but you have to know the cause first.
BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is the most common type and also the easiest to treat. This condition happens when small crystals of calcium get loose in your inner ear. This particular kind of vertigo might occur when you are getting in or out of bed or tilting your head up. This is more likely to be experienced by those people over 60.
Do not attempt any at home treatment until you have seen your doctor for a true diagnosis. If you do actually have vertigo, you will need to know what type you have and which ear has the problem. With BPPV there are some actions that can move the calcium crystals that cause the problem, out of your ear canal. Some easy maneuvers when vertigo comes from your left ear and side are:
- Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45-degrees to the left. Put a pillow under you when you lie down so it rests between your shoulders rather than under your head.
- Quickly lie down, face up, with your head on the bed at the same 45-degree angle. Pillow should be under the shoulders. Wait 30 seconds for vertigo to stop.
- Turn your head half-way (90 degrees) to the right without raising it. Wait 30 seconds.
- Turn your head and body on its side to the right so you’re looking at the floor and wait 30 seconds
- Slowly sit up, but remain on the bed for a few minutes
Reverse these instructions if the vertigo is coming from your right ear. Sit on your bed, turn your head 45-degrees to the right, and so on. Do these movements 3 times before going to bed each night until you’ve been 24 hours without dizziness. The Semont Maneuver is similar to the Epley maneuver as follows:
- Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45-degrees to the right.
- Quickly lie down on your left side and stay there for 30 seconds.
- Quickly move to lie down on the opposite end of your bed without changing the direction of your head. Keep it at a 45-degree angle and lie for 30 seconds. Look at the floor.
- Return slowly to sitting and wait a few minutes.
Reverse moves for the right ear and again, do the moves 3 times a day until your are 24 hours free of vertigo. Then there is the Half Somersault or Foster Maneuver which some find easier to do:
- Kneel down and look up at the ceiling for a few seconds.
- Touch the floor with your head, tucking your chin so your head goes toward your knees and wait about 30 seconds for the vertigo to stop.
- Turn your head in the direction of your affected ear and wait 30 seconds.
- Quickly raise your head so it’s level with your back while you’re on all fours and keep your head at the 45-degree angle for 30 seconds.
- Quickly raise your head so it’s fully upright but keep your head turned to the shoulder of the side you are working on, and then slowly stand up.
After doing these exercises try not to tilt your head too far up or down for the rest of the day. After a week of trying these moves, talk to your doctor again if you don’t feel better. Maybe your aren’t doing the exercises correctly or something else might be the cause of your dizziness.
Dr Fredda Branyon