Before going in to see a vestibular physiotherapist, there may be a few exercises you can try at home. The only thing that makes these at home treatments for vertigo difficult is that, as mentioned earlier, the exercise has to fit the cause of vertigo you’re dealing with. Without a diagnosis, it’s kind of hard to know what that is.
However, these exercises are painless and have a very low risk of any side effects, so the worst that can happen is probably that it won’t make any difference. It is a good idea to have someone else in the room when you do these, just in case you experience vertigo and lose your balance.
Let’s look at five exercises for vertigo you can try at home.
1. Crystal Repositioning – Epley
This is very similar to the Epley Maneuver.
Begin by sitting on at the end of your bed with your head turned at 45 degrees to the dominant side of your symptoms.
You are going to lie back quickly on the surface, keeping your head turned the whole time. Wait until vertigo stops. Then, turn your head 90 degrees to the opposite direction and wait until it stops again.
Then, roll over a quarter turn to the side opposite of the side of symptoms, and wait until vertigo stops again. Lastly, sit up slowly, keeping your head turned. Your symptoms should decrease after this maneuver.
2. Brandt-Daroff Treatment
If the Epley Maneuver doesn’t seem to help your vertigo, the Brandt-Daroff procedure may help with suspected BPPV. Use this process to complete it:
Sit on the side of a bed, turn your head 45 degrees left, and lay quickly on your right side until the vertigo stops, and then an additional half minute.
Then, sit up quickly and stay there, following the same timing procedure.
Lastly, turn your head 45 degrees to the right and quickly lay on your left side. Again, wait until vertigo symptoms ceases, and then an extra half minute.
You want to repeat these steps 5 times, two times a day until you go two straight days with no vertigo dizziness or other symptoms.
3. Barbecue Roll
If the cause of your vertigo is something other than BPPV, which the head roll test (explained above) will confirm, this is probably your best exercise to try. Here’s how you can complete it:
Complete the following instructions if you have symptoms on the left side. Reverse the directions in you have symptoms stronger on the right side.
Start by lying on your back with a pillow under your head. Roll to your left side and wait for vertigo symptoms to cease. Then return to your back, and wait again for vertigo to stop.
Next turn your whole body to the right side and wait until the vertigo symptoms subside. Then roll onto your stomach, using your fists to hold up your chin and tip your head downward. Wait again for vertigo symptoms to cease.
Now roll back to your left side again. After the vertigo symptoms stops, sit up from this position.
4. Eye-Ear Reflex Exercise
Now, if the cause of your vertigo is related to something else entirely, you could be dealing with a breakdown in communication between your eyes and ears. Inflammation and ear infections are possible causes for this. If you have blurry vision when you turn your head or move it up and down, this next exercise might be a good one to try.
- Sit in a chair facing a wall, and put a picture or a word on the wall that you can see clearly
- Focus both your eyes on the picture, and keep them there throughout the entire exercise
- Turn your head slowly left, never taking your gaze off the picture
- Turn your head slowly to the right, again without shifting your gaze
- Keep doing this, left and right, back and forth, for 30 seconds without stopping, never taking your eyes off the picture
- If you feel dizzy when doing this, that’s a good sign. It means you are probably addressing the cause of your vertigo and are rebuilding the proper communication between your eyes and your ears.
- Once you have evidence this exercise is working (eg. it is inducing some dizziness), do it for five minutes straight, two times per day. Allow symptoms to come on only slightly. This will help your brain re-establish the connection between your ears and your eyes.
5. Movement Re-creation
Now, if you had an illness like the flu and have felt dizzy or unbalanced ever since, your inner ear may have become inflamed.
Another way to correct these symptoms is to figure out which movement causes your vertigo, and have a physiotherapist help you recreate that movement in a symptom-free or low-symptom way. This is called a habituation exercise and it helps your brain re-process the movement and allow you to complete it without issue.
Be careful with this one though, as it can be easy to re-create your symptoms. Your physiotherapist will help you avoid this.