Ever feel like the room is spinning, after getting up too quickly in the morning?
Typically, dizziness only occurs after intense movement or during motion sickness. But for some people, dizzy spells can come out of nowhere. This, combined with feeling off balance, is referred to as vertigo.
It’s different from other types of dizziness because you don’t have to be moving to experience it (1). Many wonder how to get rid of vertigo, but it isn’t exactly straightforward.
While vertigo spells can come and go, some things can trigger it. For one, getting up too quickly, being nauseous, excess exercise, stress, and lack of sleep can exasperate the condition. Debilitating as it may be, vertigo is a symptom, not a condition in itself.
Oddly enough, some types of vertigo can disappear without conventional treatment (2).
How To Know It’s Vertigo
The most common cause of vertigo is an inner ear problem. Specifically, it’s usually caused by a problem in the balance organs of the inner ear. This is referred to as peripheral vertigo.
Alternately, it can be caused by a dysfunction in the central nervous system. This is called central vertigo.
Vertigo may feel like regular dizziness at first, but it’s usually accompanied by hearing loss, tinnitus, nausea, vomiting or a feeling of fullness in the ear.
Peripheral vertigo occurs when the labyrinth of the inner ear is offset by inflammation, infection, injury or drug toxicity. This can also occur from fluid build up or crystals of calcium carbonate within inner ear fluid.
On the other hand, central vertigo occurs when there’s a disturbance in brainstem and cerebellum. It can also occur when messages going to and from the thalamus aren’t properly transmitted. This may or may not be accompanied by headaches and migraines.
While these are the most common causes, vertigo can occur due to other reasons. These include stroke and transient ischemic attack, cerebellar brain tumor, acoustic neuroma and multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms of vertigo include:
- Being unbalanced
- Being pulled to one direction
- Feeling nauseated
- Abnormal or jerking eye movements (nystagmus)
- Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away and consider asking for a formal diagnosis.
How To Get Rid Of Vertigo
While your doctor may recommend antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, or even surgery, try these remedies first. If you don’t know what’s causing your condition, try a few and see what works!
1. Half Somersault
This exercise for vertigo treatment at home gained popularity in 2012 after CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh reported on it. It should give you instant relief and it can be done anywhere!
- Sitting on your knees, straighten your back and tilt your head to look at the ceiling.
- Bring your ear upside down between your palms and your arms to your elbows to the side as if you were doing a somersault.
- Turn your head to face your left elbow.
- Once you’re no longer dizzy, raise your head to back level.
- Wait until you are no longer dizzy and sit back quickly.
2. Shanmukhi Mudra
Yoga is a great way to find your balance, overcome your limitations and readjust your body. This pose work wonders for your sinuses too!
- To do it, sit comfortably on a meditation cushion and sit with your legs crossed and your spine straight.
- Bring your right foot on top of your left thigh and vice-versa.
- Close your eyes and place your hands on your knees.
- Hold for a few breaths.
- Raise your arms in front of your face with your elbows out to the side.
- Close your ears using your thumbs, close your eyelids using your index fingers, and your nostrils with your middle fingers. Use your last two fingers from each hand to close your mouth.
- Release your middle fingers and breathe in deeply. Close your nostrils with your fingers and hold the breath as long as comfortable. Release your middle fingers and breathe out.
- Repeat the cycle for a full 5-10 minutes.
- Finish off my going back to the original position with your hands on your knees.
3. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
This pose relaxes your mind through breathing one nostril at a time. It can also help you calm down during a dizzy spell.
- Sit comfortably with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed. Keep a gentle smile on your face.
- Place your left hand on the left knee, palms open to the sky or in Chin Mudra (thumb and index finger gently touching at the tips).
- Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. We will use the ring finger and little finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for the right nostril.
- Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
- Now breathe in from the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
- Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of
- Nadi Shodhan pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
- Complete 9 such rounds by alternately breathing through both the nostrils. After every exhalation, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled. Keep your eyes closed throughout and continue taking long, deep, smooth breaths without any force or effort.
4. Salamba Sirsasana
Standing on your head is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re experiencing vertigo, but it can help move along fluids in your ears. Think of it as an extension to the half somersault.
- Use a folded blanket or sticky mat to pad your head and forearms and kneel on the floor. Lace your fingers together and set the forearms on the floor, elbows at shoulder width. Roll the upper arms slightly outward, but press the inner wrists firmly into the floor.
- Set the crown of your head on the floor. If you are just beginning to practice this pose, press the bases of your palms together and snuggle the back of your head against the clasped hands.
- Inhale and lift your knees off the floor. Carefully walk your feet closer to your elbows, heels elevated. Actively lift through the top thighs, forming an inverted “V.” Firm the shoulder blades against your back and lift them toward the tailbone so the front torso stays as long as possible. This should help prevent the weight of the shoulders collapsing onto your neck and head.
- Exhale and lift your feet away from the floor. Take both feet up at the same time, even if it means bending your knees and hopping lightly off the floor. As the legs rise to perpendicular to the floor, firm the tailbone against the back of the pelvis. Turn the upper thighs in slightly, and actively press the heels toward the ceiling (straightening the knees if you bent them to come up). The center of the arches should align over the center of the pelvis, which in turn should align over the crown of the head.
- Firm the outer arms inward, and soften the fingers. Continue to press the shoulder blades against the back, widen them, and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the weight evenly balanced on the two forearms. It’s also essential that your tailbone continues to lift upward toward the heels.
- Once the backs of the legs are fully lengthened through the heels, maintain that length and press up through the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer.
- As a beginner, stay in this position for 10 seconds. Gradually add 5 to 10 seconds onto your stay every day or so until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes. Come down with an exhalation, without losing the lift of the shoulder blades, with both feet touching the floor at the same time.
This pose opens up the neck, shoulders, abs and back muscles. It also helps balance you the nervous system, which is great if you suffer from central vertigo.
- From Salamba Sarvangasana, exhale and bend from the hip joints to slowly lower your toes to the floor above and beyond your head. As much as possible, keep your torso perpendicular to the floor and your legs fully extended.
- With your toes on the floor, lift your top thighs and tailbone toward the ceiling and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis. Imagine that your torso is hanging from the height of your groins. Continue to draw your chin away from your sternum and soften your throat.
- You can continue to press your hands against the back torso, pushing the back up toward the ceiling as you press the backs of the upper arms down, onto your support. Or you can release your hands away from your back and stretch the arms out behind you on the floor, opposite the legs. Clasp the hands and press the arms actively down on the support as you lift the thighs toward the ceiling.
- Hold for up to 5 minutes, breathing deeply throughout.
This seated forward bend relieves stress and anxiety. It can also help you regain stability when you’re feeling off-balance.
- Sit on the floor with your buttocks supported on a folded blanket and your legs straight in front of you. Press actively through your heels. Rock slightly onto your left buttock, and pull your right sitting bone away from the heel with your right hand. Repeat on the other side.
- Turn the top thighs in slightly and press them down into the floor. Press through your palms or fingertips on the floor beside your hips and lift the top of the sternum toward the ceiling as the top thighs descend.
- Draw the inner groins deep into the pelvis. Inhale, and keeping the front torso long, lean forward from the hip joints, not the waist. Lengthen the tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. If possible take the sides of the feet with your hands, thumbs on the soles, elbows fully extended; if this isn’t possible, loop a strap around the foot soles, and hold the strap firmly. Be sure your elbows are straight, not bent.
- When you are ready to go further, don’t forcefully pull yourself into the forward bend, whether your hands are on the feet or holding the strap. Always lengthen the front torso into the pose, keeping your head raised.
- If you are holding the feet, bend the elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor; if holding the strap, lighten your grip and walk the hands forward, keeping the arms long. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, then the upper belly, then the ribs, and the head last.
- With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way, the torso oscillates and lengthens almost imperceptibly with the breath. Eventually, you may be able to stretch the arms out beyond the feet on the floor.
- Stay in the pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. To come up, first lift the torso away from the thighs and straighten the elbows again if they are bent. Then inhale and lift the torso up by pulling the tailbone down and into the pelvis.
This pose is great to practice before bed to relieve stress and promote better sleep. If your vertigo is making you feel distressed or frustrated, this pose will help you relax. If you’re trying the other poses on this list, do this one last.
- Lie flat on your back, preferably without any props or cushions. Use small pillow below your neck if absolutely required. Close your eyes.
- Keep your legs comfortable apart and let your feet and knees relax completely, toes facing to the sides.
- Place your arms alongside, yet a little spread apart from your body. Leave your palms open, facing upward.
- Taking your attention to different body parts one by one, slowly relax your entire body.
Begin with bringing your awareness to the right foot, move on to the right knee (as you complete one leg, move your attention on to the other leg), and so on, and slowly move upwards to your head, relaxing each part of the body.
- Keep breathing slowly, gently, deeply and allow your breath to relax you more and more. The incoming breath energizes the body while the outgoing breath brings relaxation. Drop all sense of hurry or urgency or any need to attend to anything else. Just be with the body and the breath.
- Surrender the whole body to the floor and let go. Make sure you don’t fall asleep!
- After some time, about 10-20minutes when you feel fully relaxed, keeping your eyes closed, slowly roll onto your right side. Lie in that position for a minute or so. Then, taking the support of your right hand, gently sit up into a seated pose such as Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
- Keep your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths in and out as you gradually become aware of your environment and the body. When you feel complete, slowly and gently open your eyes.
8. Brandt-Daroff Exercise
This exercise is great if you suffer from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo(BPPV) or labyrinthitis.
It works by helping your body get used to the confusing signals that are causing your vertigo. It’s actually used in clinics worldwide (3).
- Start in an upright, seated position.
- Move into the lying position on one side with your nose pointed up at about a 45-degree angle.
- Remain in this position for about 30 seconds (or until the vertigo subsides, whichever is longer).
- Then move back to the seated position.
- Repeat on the other side.
9. Epley Maneuver
This is one of the most common exercises conducted by doctors and therapists to help move calcium crystals out of your ear canal.
- Sit on the edge of your bed. Turn your head 45 degrees to the left. Place a pillow under you so when you lie down, it rests between your shoulders rather than under your head.
- Quickly lie down, face up, with your head on the bed (still at the 45-degree angle). The pillow should be under your shoulders. Wait 30 seconds (for any 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. Wait 30 seconds.
- Slowly sit up, but remain on the bed a few minutes.
- Do on the right side if your right ear bothers you.
- Repeat three times before going to bed each night,
until you’ve gone 24 hours without dizziness.