Vertigo can be scary and disorientating and can also affect your ability to go about your day as normal. Luckily, there are vertigo relief techniques that can ease symptoms of vertigo from the comfort of your home. Here, we’ll explore what vertigo is, why it happens, and how you can get relief from vertigo at home. We’ll run through a list of the best exercises for vertigo relief and touch on some safety factors to consider when trying home treatment.
What is vertigo, and why does it happen?
Vertigo is when you feel like the world around you is spinning. You may feel dizzy, tilting, off-balance, swaying, or being pulled in one direction. Nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. experience vertigo at some point in their lives, though it is more common in people over 50, and women are slightly more likely to get it than men.
Vertigo is often caused by inner ear problems that affect your balance. A vertigo attack can last seconds to hours, and severe vertigo can persist for months.
The three most common causes are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) (an inner ear condition), Ménière's disease (another inner ear condition), and migraine.
The best at-home exercises for vertigo
Home exercises for vertigo can help the dizziness you feel as you move around. You will need to make yourself feel dizzy and practice regularly for these exercises to be effective.
However, the exercises should only bring on a mild to moderate amount of dizziness. Slow down or do fewer repetitions if your dizziness becomes severe or takes longer than 10 minutes to settle.
Here are some exercises to alleviate vertigo symptoms:
1. Looking between objects
- Place 2 objects 6–9 ft apart.
- Sit or stand in front of them.
- Move your eyes and head to look between the 2 objects.
- Repeat 10 times and rest until your dizziness settles.
- Aim for 3 sets of 10 in total.
2. Walking between chairs
- Place 2 chairs facing each other, 6–9 ft apart.
- Sit on a chair, stand up, walk to the other chair and sit down.
- Repeat for 1–2 minutes.
3. Circles on the wall
- Stand in a corner with your back to the wall.
- Turn in a half circle to face the wall, then turn back again.
- Repeat 4–5 times in each direction, trying not to touch the wall unless you need to.
4. Floor to ceiling
- Choose a spot on the floor in front of you and another one on the ceiling.
- Move your eyes and head to look between the spots.
- Repeat 3 sets of 10.
5. Floor touches
- Standing, bend over and touch the floor.
- Stand up, turn 180 degrees to the left then bend over and touch the floor.
- Stand again, turn 180 degrees to the right, bend and touch the floor.
- Repeat 4-5 times.
6. Diagonal floor touches
- Sit or stand.
- Bend forward with your head and body — bring your head to your right knee and touch the floor.
- Stand up, then repeat to the left side.
- Repeat 4–5 times on each side.
4 simple steps for home relief
Besides the exercises discussed above, there are other at-home remedies you can try to combat vertigo:
- Manage stress. Stress can trigger conditions like Ménière's disease that cause vertigo. Meditation, breathing techniques, and speaking to a mental health professional about the causes of your stress can all help.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can sometimes trigger the symptoms of vertigo. If you’re tired and you haven’t experienced vertigo before, you may find a nap resolves your symptoms.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can sometimes cause vertigo. Keep an eye on how much water you’re drinking, and make sure to drink extra when it’s hot out or you’re exercising to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid alcohol. You may know alcohol dehydrates you, but it can also change the composition of fluid in your inner ear. This can affect your balance and cause vertigo symptoms even when you’re sober.
Safety and considerations
Before starting a course of home exercises for vertigo, it’s important to get a diagnosis from a healthcare professional. Dizziness can sometimes indicate serious health conditions that need investigation. If vertigo is caused by an underlying illness, the exercises are unlikely to help.
Your healthcare provider may advise you to do these exercises differently. They should also be able to provide adaptations for limited mobility if these exercises are not suitable for you.
The last word
Moving your eyes and head can trigger symptoms if you’re struggling with vertigo — these exercises can help your body readjust to these movements. With time and practice, your symptoms should improve.
Combining the exercises with lifestyle changes to combat vertigo will give you the best chance of resolving vertigo with home treatment. If the exercises aren't working for you, consult a physical therapist who can provide a program to fit your needs.
What is the fastest home remedy for vertigo?
Because vertigo has different underlying causes, the fastest home remedy varies. For some people, getting a good night’s sleep or skipping alcohol for the evening can have a rapid effect, but for others, it may take several weeks of home exercises for vertigo symptoms to improve.
What is first aid for vertigo?
The first step is to speak to your doctor. You can also try managing stress, prioritizing sleep, staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, and home exercises.
What are the best exercises for managing vertigo at home?
The best exercises to manage vertigo at home include floor touches, walking between chairs, and looking between objects.
Can I treat vertigo at home without medication?
It’s possible to treat vertigo at home without medication. Home exercises and lifestyle changes can improve the symptoms.
With vertigo, you may feel like the world is spinning, or you are tilting, dizzy, off-balance, or being pulled in one direction.
Vertigo is often caused by inner ear problems that affect your balance, such as BPPV and Ménière's disease.
When practicing vertigo exercises, you will need to make yourself dizzy for them to be effective, but only push into mild or moderate dizziness.
It’s important to speak to a healthcare professional and get a diagnosis for the cause of your vertigo before starting home treatment programs.
- Clinical Medicine. Diagnosis and management of vertigo.
- The BMJ. Chronic vertigo: treat with exercise, not drugs.
- The Laryngoscope. Stress as a trigger of attacks in Menière's disease. A case-crossover study.
- American Journal of Otolaryngology. Audiovestibular dysfunction in alcohol dependence. Are we worried?