How To Fix Vertigo: Physiotherapy Treatment For Vertigo
Does rolling over in bed make the room spin? Does looking up or down send you spinning? It might be vertigo – and the good news is physiotherapy can help! Just as vertigo can have many different causes, the treatment can also vary depending on the cause. Your physiotherapist can help you navigate the process and guide on you the best way to rid yourself of vertigoPhyllis’s story
Because of her vertigo, Phyllis had already seen many doctors and a neurosurgeon. Fortunately, nothing serious was found but this did not help her. She had trouble walking and with her balance. She was always worried about falling. She felt like her body was always swaying and unsteady.
After physiotherapy care, Phyllis no longer had any vertigo. She was able to again go up and down stairs without hesitation. She was finally confident moving around on her own.
What Is Vertigo?
By definition, vertigo is the feeling of uncontrolled spinning. Other symptoms you may experience with vertigo include nausea, vomiting, problems with balance, tinnitus or ringing in your ears, headache and motion sickness. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is different from spinning vertigo.
Most often, vertigo is coming from your inner ear and is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Frequently, small crystals become dislodged in your inner ear, causing the inner ear to send incorrect information to your brain, creating vertigo.
What does BPPV mean? Well, “benign” means not life threatening. “Paroxysmal” means something that comes and goes and lasts only for a short time. “Positional” refers to how it can be triggered by certain head movements or positions.
The Top Treatments For Vertigo
1. Epley’s Maneuver
If a patient tried the Dix-Hallpike and felt spinning on one side, the Epley’s maneuver is likely the right exercise to treat vertigo they are looking for. If their right Dix-Hallpike was positive, they are going to do the Epley’s maneuver with their neck starting to the right.
This is how Epley’s would be done:
- Start sitting on the bed with your head turned 45° to the right. Place a pillow behind you so that it is behind your shoulders when you lay down
- Lie back quickly with your head still turned to the side and your head tipped back about 30° from the pillow. Wait until all vertigo stops, then another minute
- Turn your head slowly 90° to the left. Wait until all vertigo stops, plus another minute
- Roll your head another 90° to the left so that you are lying on your left, looking down at the floor. Wait for all vertigo to stop, plus another minute
- Sit up slowly from lying on your left while looking over your shoulder
2. BBQ Roll</h4
If a patient tried the Head Roll Test and felt spinning, the BBQ Roll is probably their treatment for vertigo. When their left Head Roll test was positive, they are going to turn to their right during the BBQ Roll.
This is how the BBQ Roll is usually dones:
- Start lying on your back with a pillow behind your head
- Roll to your left, making a 90° turn. Wait for any vertigo to stop
- Roll back onto your back, now looking up to the ceiling. Wait for any vertigo to stop
- Roll to your left, making another 90° turn. Wait for any vertigo to stop
- Roll on your stomach, propping your fists under your chin to tip your head down. Wait for any vertigo to stop
- Still turning to your right, roll onto your left side. Once any vertigo has stopped, sit up from lying on your left
3. Other treatments for vertigo
Some other things options to help with a patient’s vertigo includes:
- Surgery, though this is becoming less common
- Try sleeping on your good side
- Sleep with 2 or more pillow under your head
- When you wake up in the morning, get up slowly and sit on the side of your bed for a moment before getting up
- Try to avoid bending over too much to pick things up
- If the cause of your vertigo is because of an infection or inflammation, certain medications such antibiotics or those dealing with nausea or motion sickness may be helpful
What If These Treatments For Vertigo Did Not Correct The Problem?
Did a few of the assessment positions make the room spin? Having a hard time figuring out which exercise to treat vertigo is right for them? Here is where some 1-on-1 time with a qualified physiotherapist is key. Treatment techniques for vertigo are usually very successful, only needing 1 or 2 sessions. The trick is figuring out which vertigo exercise is right for the patient.
If you need help with your vertigo, reach out and schedule your appointment with one of your local physiotherapists. They can help you navigate the best course to ridding yourself of vertigo:
Vertigo Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can trigger vertigo?
A: Vertigo often has an unknown cause. Some of the known causes can include things such as:
- Around 15% are due to head trauma, especially in younger patients. For example, a concussion, sports injury or motor vehicle collision
- Meniere’s disease
- Vestibular neuritis
- Ear surgeries
Some other causes of vertigo can include diabetes, low blood pressure, medications, migraine headaches, MS, muscle weakness, shingles or staying in bed for too long
Q: Will vertigo go away on its own?
A: Sometimes vertigo will go away by itself over time. It can however return again. If your BPPV is not going away or you find it keeps coming back, visit your physiotherapist who will work with you to figure out how best to help
Your physiotherapist will look to find what is triggering your bouts of vertigo. Once this is determined, they will recommend the best care plan to help resolve your vertigo as quickly as possible. Your treatment plan can include specific exercises, postural recommendations as well as manual or hands-on therapy.
Q: How long can vertigo last?
A: Vertigo usually lasts only a few seconds to a few hours. When severe, it can last a few days or even months. Acute problems are generally those that have been present for less than 3 weeks. If your symptoms has been lingering for between 3 weeks to 3 months, then it can be labelled as being subacute. Anything longer than 3 months is considered to be chronic.
Treatment of vertigo can vary, depending on what is causing your vertigo. Generally, problems that you have been experiencing for longer tend to take more time to get better, compared to newer problems. In addition, your mental and physical health can have a role in how quickly you recover. Lastly, how involved you are in your care can have a major affect on how well and quickly you respond to your physiotherapy treatments.