5 Things to Do NOW to Manage Your Vertigo

If you stand up and suddenly feel like the room is spinning and you feel dizzy, you may be experiencing the vertigo-type symptoms associated with benign paroxsymal positional vertigo, or BPPV.  BPPV is a problem that is caused by dislodged calcium deposits in your vestibular system in your inner ear.  The dislodged calcium crystals interact with nerves in your vestibular system and alter the signals to your brain that are responsible for helping to maintain balance and equilibrium.

If you develop vertigo caused by BPPV, there are things that you can do, and should do, to help decrease or eliminate your symptoms.  Some of these things involve getting checked by your doctor and physical therapist, and others are specific exercises and maneuvers to help you start feeling normal again.

1
Don't Panic

BPPV? Don't panic.
Vertigo caused by BPPV can be a scary thing. Don't panic. Digital Vision- Getty Images

If you go to stand up or move suddenly and the room starts spinning, don't panic.  It may seem like the spinning will last forever, but typically it only lasts for a few seconds.  With most cases of BPPV, stabilizing your head and fixing your eyes on something helps to quickly mitigate the spinning.

2
Call Your Doctor, and then Call Your Physical Therapist

Your physical therapist can help treat your BPPV.
Exercise can be beneficial for patients with BPPV. Photo: Arthur Tilley/ Getty Images

Sometimes, dizziness and vertigo are caused by something much more sinister than BPPV.  Occasionally, vertigo symptoms may be caused by a stroke or by an inner ear infection or virus.  Your doctor should be able to perform some simple tests to ensure that your vertigo is truly caused by BPPV.

Your physical therapist can perform special balance tests and vestibular function tests to further assess your BPPV.  He or she can then prescribe exercises that are best suited for your specific condition. 

3
Perform the Home Epley Maneuver

The home Epley maneuver is a simple exercise to do that can help reposition the displaced calcium crystals in your inner ear.  This can help to decrease or eliminate your symptoms of vertigo caused by BPPV.

The exercise is one that should be done with another person present as it usually causes your symptoms to temporarily occur.  It is done by sitting on your bed, and then performing special motions with your head and body in sitting and lying.  The Epley maneuver has been shown to be 80% effective in relieving BPPV related dizziness.

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4
Perform Brandt Daroff Exercises

Lie down on one side with your head rotated.
Quickly lie down on one side. © Brett Sears, 2011

Brandt Daroff exercises can also be done to help decrease the dizziness and vertigo caused by BPPV.  The exercises involve sitting on your bed and moving into a lying position on your side.

Brand Daroff exercises can be used to help treat the primary symptoms of BPPV by helping you habituate to the vertigo.  The exercises do not necessarily reposition the displaced calcium crystals in the vestibular system. Brandt Daroff exercises can also be used to help prevent future occurrences of BPPV. 

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5
Try the Semont Maneuver

The Semont maneuver is another exercise that is done to treat BPPV.  It is similar to the Epley maneuver and Brandt Daroff exercises in that it involves rotation of the head combined with moving from a sitting position to a lying position.

Vertigo, room spinning, and dizziness caused by BPPV can be a scary thing that causes you to lose your balance and limit your functional mobility.  By keeping calm, checking in with your doctor and physical therapist, and trying simple exercises, you may be able to quickly mitigate your symptoms and return to your previous level of function.

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