If you have ever experienced real vertigo, then you’ll know it’s no laughing matter. Not only can this make you feel very unsettled on your feet and potentially put you at risk of falling, but it can also make you feel sick and nauseous. In some cases, it might even trigger actual bouts of vomiting.
The reason for this is that vertigo can confuse the body. When the alignment of the input coming from the ears doesn’t line up with the input coming from the eyes this tells the body: something is wrong. It then suspects poison and thus you can find yourself feeling sick.
You know when the room spins because you’ve had too much alcohol? That’s what your body thinks is happening and thus you feel unwell as well as unsteady.
So where does this come from, to begin with? There are actually a number of different causes for vertigo but generally, it’s to do with that ‘mixed input’. Normally, the body relies on data from multiple senses in order to suggest its orientation, etc. This includes information from the eyes which might help you to find the horizon, for instance, information from your body which can sense gravity and which gives you a connection with the ground and it means the ears which are what provides us with our sense of ‘equilibrioception’. Equilibrioception is handled specifically by the fluids that move inside the ear.
When the fluid sits at the bottom of the canal and doesn’t move, the brain can infer that we are the right way up and still. Thus, thin hair cells are used to detect the movement of fluid and this helps us to know which way up we are.
So, vertigo is caused when an incorrect signal is coming from somewhere. These remedies to treat vertigo can help you to find the cause and address it.
1. The Epley Manoeuver
The Epley Maneuver involves moving the head in a very specific way to treat a specific type of vertigo called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (AKA BPPV). This form of vertigo is the result of small calcium crystals that may have become loose in the middle ear. As this move, they then send incorrect information through their interaction with the hairs inside the ears.
The Epley Maneuver aims to fix this and involves sitting on the edge of the bed, turning your head 45 degrees toward the problem ear, and then quickly lying down onto a pillow turning the head to face upward. You wait thirty seconds as vertigo subsides, turn your head 90 degrees and wait 30 more seconds. Finally, turn to look at the floor and then slowly sit up.
2. Head Rotations
Another way to address any incorrect signals coming from the ear is just to try and ‘reset’ that information. You can do this simply by rotating the head around slowly in each direction.
Everything should shift back into place and your brain should be able to reset what it is reading as ‘zero’. This is really the equivalent of ‘have you tried turning it on and off again’… but it works!
3. Find the Horizon
It might not be the ears that are confused however but rather the eyes. This is what can happen when we get seasick or car sick. Here, the ears detect movement but when we look at our friends and fellow travelers, they appear to be static in relation to us – as does any furniture.
Hence: vertigo. Focus on the horizon outside the vehicle then and this can help. Likewise, it can help when no vehicle was ever involved!
4. Hold Onto Something
Another way to remind your brain which way is down and to help it settle is just to grab onto something solid.
This can really be grounding and is comforting even before it begins to work. If nothing else, this option can also help you to avoid falling.
5. Neck Massage
Another specific type of vertigo is known as cervical vertigo. Here, you might be experiencing an injury and/or swelling around the neck.
This can then cause pressure on one side of the neck and specifically, it can place pressure on the nerves that run up that side into the brain. This causes the false signal, telling you that the head is tilted more to one side.
A neck massage can help to alleviate some of this pressure and reduce the swelling. A warm compress may also work.
6. Head Massage
You have a free license to go around demanding massages now. That includes head massages which can also help thanks to the fact that it can help to deliver more blood to the brain. That can then improve symptoms of vertigo and help you to feel a lot better.
And if that’s not enough, consider that a massage is also able to fight stress – which we’ll see in a moment could be one of the key causes.
7. Breathe Correctly
Another tip is to try closing your eyes for a moment and breathing carefully. Specifically, try breathing using the technique known as ‘belly breathing’. This is the proper way to breathe and involves first relaxing the abdominal muscles to allow the stomach to protrude and the diaphragm to drop into the abdominal cavity.
At the same time, you try breathing more slowly and counting to 3 on each inhalation and exhalation.
This can help to fix two potential issues leading to vertigo: hypoxia and hyperoxia. In other words, you may be getting too much or too little blood to the brain!
8. Blood Pressure
Another issue is blood pressure. Many people who have low blood pressure will find that they struggle to deliver enough blood to the brain and as such, they feel dizzy when they stand up suddenly. Those with high blood pressure can experience the same problem for the opposite reason: the heart now needs to work very hard to move the blood.
Speak with your doctor and they can recommend lifestyle changes to fix your blood pressure. Meanwhile, build heart health and stay away from blood-thinning analgesics like Aspirin if your pressure is low.
9. Fall Prevention Exercises
This won’t cure your vertigo but it can help to manage one complication: that is to prevent you from falling and hurting yourself.
A physiotherapist will teach you to develop the muscles in your legs, ankles, and feet and will help you to build reflexive strength so that you can catch yourself when you start to fall.
10. Balancing Exercises
Likewise, it is actually possible to train the balance.
We’ve already seen how developing reflexive strength can do this and so can a number of other exercises designed to increase the connection between the body and the mind.