Ever feel like the world around you was suddenly spinning, that you couldn’t manage to balance yourself or that you had unexplained ringing in your ears along with changes in your eyesight? If so, you might have experienced vertigo, a symptom that results from various types of “balance disorders,” usually caused by abnormal changes in the inner ears.
Vertigo is not actually a disorder or medical condition — rather it’s the cluster of symptoms caused by other disorders, and chances are you or someone you know has experienced it. In fact, research shows that nearly 40 percent of all people over the age of 40 will experience vertigo at least once in their lifetimes.
If all of this sounds familiar to you, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of vertigo. Treating vertigo involves repairing the inner ear by identifying the damage’s underlying cause, plus preventing it from occurring again by making certain lifestyle changes.
Common Vertigo Symptoms
Some common vertigo symptoms include:
- feeling dizzy, such as having a spinning sensation
- feeling like you’re tilting or going to tumble over (as if you’re being pulled in one direction)
- swaying and being off-balance when moving or walking
- feeling nauseous, occasionally vomiting
- losing your hearing or having ringing in the ears
- increased perspiration
- having abnormal eye movements, including jerking or the eye moving toward the effected ear (called nystagmus)
- occasionally feeling like you’re going to faint or actually fainting
How long does vertigo last? Vertigo symptoms can come and go, lasting anywhere between several minutes to several days. Some people experience much more drastic symptoms than others, since it all depends on factors like how damaged the inner ear has become or how much fluid has accumulated in the ear where it shouldn’t have.
In some cases, vertigo will go away all on its own, since the body and senses have ways of adapting to changes in the ear. However, it might also return without any warning, reappearing from time to time, which can cause you a lot of hassle. That’s why it’s important to remember these tips on how to get rid of vertigo.
How to Ged Rid of Vertigo
1. Physical Therapy
For people who experience recurring vertigo, one type of helpful treatment is vestibular rehabilitation, a form of physical therapy that addresses the vestibular organs. The vestibular system constantly sends information to the brain in the form of nerve impulses from special nerve endings called sensory receptors, so therapy can retrain these organs to work with our other senses to re-establish a sense of balance. Vestibular rehab can help promote central nervous system compensation for inner-ear problems causing loss of balance.
Inactivity has also been linked to worsened vertigo, so additionally, physical therapy treatments work on increasing strength, range of motion, flexibility and movement, while preventing muscle fatigue and soreness. A vestibular rehab program might include various exercises for: building better hand-eye coordination, improving balance, strengthening joints and muscles, and improving fitness and endurance. These exercises can also help ease pain and allow you to rest better if you usually find you can’t sleep comfortably.
2. Head Maneuvers (“Canalith Repositioning Procedure,” or CRP)
Certain types of exercises and head adjustments can help move ear rocks (calcium deposits) out of the area in the ears where they cause problems. This technique is recommended by the American Academy of Neurology, which offers a series of specific head and body movements for clearing the canals of the inner ear chambers. CRP is very effective with an approximate cure rate of 80 percent for people who suffer from BPPV-type vertigo. It’s also usually helpful for preventing vertigo from reoccuring.
How does it work exactly? When the head moves a certain way, the canaliths within the canals travel back to their correct location in the utricle, where they usually dissolve, break up and stop causing dizziness. The canalith repositioning procedures usually involve holding four positions for about 30 to 45 seconds each or as long as symptoms remain. Then you hold your head in a fixed position for about 20 seconds after symptoms go away.
The procedures can be done in a doctor’s office quickly and painlessly. If it’s your first time dealing with vertigo and trying head maneuvers to resolve your symptoms, it’s a good idea to meet with a doctor who can show you how to properly perform them.
3. Reduce Stress
Stress and inflammation both seem to raise the risks for vertigo. Stress is capable of reducing immunity, making it more likely that you’ll experience ear infections, swelling and other problems related to the vestibular system. The more stressed you are, the less likely you are to exercise regularly and get good sleep — both of which you really need if you’re prone to developing vertigo! That’s why chronic stress is so dangerous.
Try natural stress relievers like exercising, yoga, meditation, taking warm baths, using essential oils and spending more time outdoors.
4. A Healthy Diet and Staying Hydrated
Some doctors prescribe medications to reduce inflammation or infections within the ears, but ultimately this doesn’t help solve the problem long term for some people. A crucial aspect to limiting inflammation and preventing dehydration is eating a nutrient-rich diet.
Anti-inflammatory foods can help manage blood pressure levels and are usually hydrating, which keeps you protected from dehydration, lowering your risk for vertigo. Foods to include in your diet often include: vegetables (especially those high in blood pressure-lowering potassium, such as leafy greens), fresh fruit (like bananas and avocado), healthy sources of fats (like wild fish, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil) and clean sources of lean protein (grass-fed meat, cage-free eggs and pasture-raised poultry, for example).
In addition, drink enough water each day, and lower your intake of caffeine and alcohol if you feel dizzy often. Even mild dehydration can cause dizziness and changes in blood pressure that can make you feel off-balance and nauseous.