You sit up in the morning and the whole room feels like its spinning. You try to get up and lose your balance. If you get symptoms like this, and strong feelings of dizziness, you could be experiencing vertigo.
Over 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from the sudden, debilitating, dizzy spells caused by positional vertigo. It’s the most common type of vertigo and is happens when crystals in the inner ear become loose and misplaced. For those that experience it, it can make it difficult to function normally.
One of the millions of people that have suffered from positional vertigo is Carol Foster, MD, with the Hearing and Balance Clinic at University of Colorado Hospital and a professor of Otolaryngology at CU School of Medicine. As a balance specialist, with several patients that also experience positional vertigo, she was looking for an easier way to treat them, “I was always thinking, how can you get rid of this at home,” she says.
During one of her own vertigo episodes, Dr. Foster tried a half somersault maneuver that relieved her symptoms, “I woke up with it one morning on my way to clinic. I did a bunch of maneuvers, made myself sick, and I thought there must be a better way. I thought of how the inner ear works and it clicked and I did the maneuver for the first time and it worked,” she explains.
The exercise worked so well for Dr. Foster when she experienced positional vertigo that she shared it with her patients and found it to be an effective treatment for them as well. She has also shared it with the world and posted it to YouTube. It has gotten millions of views and she has also recently published a book, Overcoming Positional Vertigo, that serves as a sort of how to guide for anyone that suffers from this type of vertigo.
To perform the treatment:
- Sit on your knees on the floor
- Tilt your head straight up
- Turn your head upside down on the floor
- Turn your head toward the direction of the ear that’s affected and keep your head there for 30 seconds
- Bring your head to back level, keeping it turned to the ear that is affected
- Come back up straight with your head still turned
- Repeat as necessary until the vertigo feeling dissipates
Watch the video in this post to see it in action. If the exercise doesn’t relieve your symptoms it could be a more serious form of vertigo and you should go see your doctor.
As outlined in her book, Dr. Foster says there’s not much you can do to prevent positional vertigo except avoid laying too horizontal, or with your head too far back, “As you get older it gets more and more common. If you keep getting it, keep your head up a little bit all the time.”
For more, you can find Dr. Foster’s book on Amazon by clicking here.