Home Remedy for Vertigo

Home remedy for vertigo is to stop your world spinning on the wrong axis.

Simply one of the very worst of conditions can sometimes be well managed with Brandt Daroff exercises.

So, what causes vertigo? It's a disturbance of the flow of fluid in two small organs in the inner ear. When calcium crystals block one canal, say in the right ear, then one organ gives divergent information to the brain, compared to the left; the result is nausea and sometimes vomiting, not unlike sea sickness and a world that spins.

The standard treatment is known as the Epley manoeuvres; a series of exercises done by a skilled practitioner. There are six canals and determining which is the offending beast is vital to the success of the treatment. But once the acute phase is over a simple exercise may help prevent it returning.

Don't take stugeron; it doesn't help and in fact one of its side effects is nausea in ten percent of cases. It may actually won't make things worse.

Eighty percent of the time, vertigo is caused by this inner ear condition known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo; the treatment of choice is the Epley manoeuvres.

The other twenty percent is caused by an inner ear infection, multiple sclerosis, Meniere's disease or a stroke; serious diseases so a diagnosis is paramount.

So a careful history and examination is vital before starting the treatment. Your chiropractor will take your blood pressure, examine the cranial nerves and reflexes, ask about progressive deafness and look for signs of an upper respiratory infection. 

Two features give the diagnosis; it's paroxysmal. There is sudden onset for no obvious reason and a strange flicking of the eyes known as nystagmus begins. It's this uncontrolled movements of the eyes that make the world appear to spin.

A very clever neurologist called Dr Epley worked out a complex treatment procedure to displace the naughty crystals from where they are blocking one canal, and shifting them to a sort of rubbish bin called the utricle.

Don't lie in bed despite the awfulness of getting up and moving about; just lying down worsens the problem. Do be careful because you may fall; you'll look like a drunken sailor as you make your way to the bathroom. A recent patient came in with umpteen thorns in her body; walking in the garden she'd fallen into a rose bush. Use a stick and balance with your hands against the wall and on furniture.

Vertigo usually affects the older person; someone who also may be suffering from brittle bone disease. A fall can mean a broken hip.

Keep a bucket near you; nausea is common, and you may vomit too.

This home remedy for vertigo that I will describe shortly is not for you when you're in the acute phase, throwing up and falling about. Then it's time for a consultation with a skilled practitioner who has learnt the Epley manoeuvres; often doctors and chiropractors may not have a clue unless they have been on a specialised course on the management of vertigo.

Medical doctors will want to prescribe  Stugeron which doesn't help and may worsen the condition; nausea is one of the side effect in ten percent of people.

And your chiropractor may want to adjust your neck; in my book it's absolutely contraindicated until the acute phase is completely over; even if you have a sore neck. Investigations by two esteemed chiropractic researchers found that dizziness is one of the conditions where chiropractors need to tread very carefully.

Confusingly, in a small group of people, the vertigo may actually be caused by a subluxation in the neck affecting the blood flow to the brain. In this group, a very careful adjustment of the neck may be the only treatment that will fix your vertigo; however I personally would only do that once all other avenues have been exhausted.

I do occasionally adjust the cervical spine of the patient with vertigo, but never in conjunction with the Epleys; an acute episode of vomiting may occur. Stroke chiropractic is a very rare phenomenon, but the dizzy patient is one of those considered at risk.

So, the Brandt Daroff habituation exercises.

Best home remedy for vertigo

  1. The exercises start from the sitting position; in the middle of a bed, with no pillow at either end, with your legs dangling over the side.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Turn your head to the left; if you start to feel bilious, wait for it pass.
  4. Slowly lie down on your right side, allowing your head to dangle down to the bed, still with your head rotated to the left. You may well begin to feel the vertigo start; just wait for it to pass, or at least thirty seconds.
  5. Once the world stops its crazy dance, keeping your head turned to the left, sit upright again. Wait for the spinning to stop, if it starts. In fact, in principle, with each change of position, if you begin to feel dizzy, just wait for it to pass before starting the next move.
  6. Now slowly turn your head to the centre, stop a moment, eyes still closed, and then turn your head to the right. In fact what you are doing is turning the two horizontal semicircular canals in the inner ears. If one is blocked, you'll start to feel giddy and you may be aware that your eyes are starting to dart about in an uncontrolled manner. 
  7. Now, with your head turned right, slowly lie down on your left side, allowing your head to dangle, keeping your head turned to the right. Lift your legs onto the bed. Stop, wait at least 30 s or until the vertigo stops. One side is almost always worse than the other.
  8. Now slowly sit upright again, keeping your head to the right.
  9. Repeat the routine five times in total. Do it at least twice a day.
  10. Don't lie down again for at least a couple hours.

Start these home remedy for vertigo exercises slowly in the beginning. In the acute phase they may cause a real upset; don't be concerned.

  • If it's really bad, then use a pillow at each end in the beginning.
  • To be effective this routine must produce some effect. If there's no nausea or giddy feeling then, instead of going down slowly, do it suddenly and fast.
  • Once you can do the routine easily and with little effect, do it with your eyes open.

Another home remedy for vertigo

Routinely, when you stand up, wait a moment and then slowly turn around in a circle.

Then take a step to the side, and back to the other side.

You can also do this with your head slightly tilted to the side.

A caution when doing this home remedy for vertigo

During the Brandt Daroff exercises your head tends to flop around as you drop to the side and your neck goes into lateral flexion. If you suffer from neck problems, and particularly a cervical facet syndrome, then this routine can increase your neck pain.

Ask your chiropractor for advice.

Likewise if you have a lower back problem; ask someone to raise your legs as you flop on your side, trying to keep your body straight. Otherwise, next thing you may be needing chiropractic help for sciatica pain!

Chiropractic help

Chiropractic help might be for you, but manipulation is to be used last after the other exercises like Brandt Daroff and Epleys have been exhausted unsuccessfully.

Small doses of vertigo are not uncommon as we get older; a sudden spinning of the world as we turn our heads in odd positions, or turning in bed. It usually passes in a few seconds.

But if it turns into vertigo, it's a horrible, nasty condition. Don't panic, this too will pass. If it's bad, don't start these home remedy for vertigo exercises, but get professional help. My advice is not to take pills, and not let your chiropractor adjust your neck initially. Find someone who can do the Epley exercises with you. They are safer and more effective.

How long does vertigo last ?

For years sometimes, if you don't follow the right treatment and these home remedy for vertigo exercises.

I'm in the midst of treating a 60 year old lady with a particularly nasty episode of vertigo dizziness. You can get a lot more detailed information about the disease at this page. She's the inspiration for this blog. Yesterday I gave her this home remedy for vertigo; in a week's time I'll give an update on how she's progressing.

But, back to the question you may be asking; how long does vertigo last? Her vertigo started two weeks ago. For a day she did nothing, not liking doctors of any ilk, but when she fell into a rosebush in the garden and started vomiting, her husband insisted.

They went to a medical doctor who examined her and ruled out a stroke, diagnosing, correctly I believe, Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo, commonly called BPPV. But obviously not familiar with the research about vertigo, she prescribed Stugeron; it didn't help in the slightest. So, that's one week with no improvement; in fact if anything slightly worse.

Then, desperate, she consulted her local chiropractor since she also had a sore neck and had heard the problem might be in her neck. Me! Fortunately this chiropractor has been around the block, and I didn't adjust her neck. I once had colleague, now long deceased who adjusted a dizzy patient who then had a stroke. Once bitten, twice shy!

Stroke chiropractic is rare, about one in six million manipulations of the neck, but it's the dizzy patient who is at risk. It's always safer to start with the Epley exercises and this home remedy for vertigo until there is no longer any nystagmus; then if the neck is still painful, one might consider adjusting the cervical spine. Cautiously, and not in the direction of the positive Hallpike Dix test. That's the test your chiropractor will use for diagnosing BPPV.

Having given probably several hundred thousand cervical manipulations with any serious incident, I'll never forget the dizzy patient who I adjusted and gave the Epley exercises at the same consultation. She vomited continuously for three hours; it wasn't pleasant and fortunately the episode passed when I was about to call in the help of a neurologist. She recovered completely but never consulted me again for obvious reasons. In her book I screwed up, and she's right. I never do the Epleys and adjust the neck on the same consultation. Never.

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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Interesting questions from visitors

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Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

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Interesting questions from readers