Vertigo exercises for elderly


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Vertigo is a condition characterized by sudden dizzy spells, disorientation, headaches, nausea, vomiting, & bouts of feeling unbalanced.  Vertigo is not usually a fatal condition, but it can lead to a lot of complications & annoyance in everyday life. There is the danger of falling down, feeling imbalanced while performing certain activities, & feeling uncomfortable & anxious in social situations.

This problem is even more pronounced with elderly patients with vertigo, as they are at greater risk of falling down & gravely injuring themselves.  Most people, including elderly patients with Vertigo, get better on their own without any need for medical intervention.  However, some people might need help getting over their vertigo symptoms. These people can often get support from some well-known & popular vertigo treatments & vertigo exercises.

BPPV, also known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, is the most common type of vertigo that people experience. It is also the easiest to treat, as compared to other kinds of vertigo. In some cases, vertigo can be chronic in nature. Such patients can often get some amount of relief from some popular vertigo exercises & vertigo treatment methods.

Some patients might also feel relief from their vertigo symptoms with the help of some vertigo medications.

In this article, we will tell you some of the most popular vertigo exercises that are useful for vertigo treatment even in elderly patients.

Note that these vertigo exercises are only helpful for BPPV vertigo treatment, & will not work for any other kind of vertigo.

  1. The Epley Maneuver

The Epley Maneuver is a well-known & popular vertigo exercise, often used as the first line of treatment for BPPV vertigo treatment. The Epley Maneuver has been known to give adequate & lasting results to vertigo patients quickly. It does so by restoring the loose calcium crystals inside the inner ear, & places them back in their original position in the middle ear. There, they do not interfere with the patient’s balance upon changes in their head position.

To perform the Epley Maneuver efficiently, follow the steps below. The steps mentioned below are for when you suffer from left-ear BPPV.

  • Sit on the edge of your bed & turn your head towards the left at an angle of 45 degrees. Place a pillow under your shoulders in such a way that when you lie down, your shoulders rest on the pillow and not your head.
  • Next, lie down on your back quickly with your head laying on the bed at a 45-degree angle. The pillow should still be under your shoulders.
  • Turn your head at a right angle without raising your head. Wait 30 seconds at this point.
  • Now turn your head & your entire body to the right, in such a way that you are facing the floor. Wait 30 seconds in this position.
  • Now sit up slowly, remaining on the bed for a few minutes.
  • Wait at least 15 minutes before resuming everyday activities.

For right-ear BPPV, simply reverse the direction of the steps. Turn your head first to the right, lie down, then turn your head & body towards the left at a right angle.  Try to perform the Epley Maneuver vertigo exercises thrice every day, five times in repetition, until your vertigo symptoms show signs of improvement.

  1. Semont Maneuver

The Semont Maneuver is also another good vertigo exercise for effective & long-lasting vertigo treatment.  It’s often prescribed to patients of BPPV to help them get relief from their symptoms.
The steps mentioned below are for when you have left-ear BPPV.

  • Sit on the edge of your bed & turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  • Quickly lie on your left side, & stay there for 30 seconds.
  • Now quickly move to lie on the opposite side of your bed, without changing the direction of your head. Keep it at a 45-degree angle & lie down for about 30 seconds. Ensure that you look towards the floor.
  • Wait for at least 15 minutes before returning to everyday activities.

For right-ear BPPV, simply reverse the steps in the right direction. Repeat these steps about thrice every day until your symptoms show signs of improvement.

  1. Half-somersault or Foster Maneuver

The Foster maneuver is an easier version of the above-mentioned Semont Maneuver.

To perform the maneuver properly, follow the steps below

  • Start in a kneeling position & look up at the ceiling for a few seconds.
  • Turn your head in the direction of the affected ear (i.e., if you feel dizzy on the left ear, turn your head towards the left), & wait for at least 30 seconds.
  • Now raise your head quickly in such a manner that it levels with your back when you’re situated on all fours. Keep your head at the 45 degree angle. Wait atleast 30 seconds.
  • Quickly raise your head in such a way that it’s fully upright, however keep your head turned to the shoulder of the side you’re working on. Next, slowly stand up.

Repeat this exercise as many times as you can to enjoy proper relief from your vertigo symptoms. Wait at least 15 minutes before starting a new set of these vertigo exercises.

  1. Brandt-Daroff exercises:

Brandt-Daroff exercises help dislodge the dislodged calcium crystals from inside the inner ear & place them back in their original position in the middle ear. They do these using gravity. To perform these exercises accurately, follow the instructions below.

  • Begin by sitting in an upright position on your bed.
  • Tilt your head away from the side affected by vertigo, at a 45-degree angle. Next, get into a lying position on one side with your nose pointed upwards.
  • Stay in this position for about 30 seconds, or until your vertigo symptoms subside, whichever comes first. Then, get back into your original sitting position.
  • Wait some time then repeat these exercises on the other side.

Patients should aim to perform these exercises up to three to five times in one sitting. Start by performing the exercises thrice every day until 2 weeks until the vertigo is gone.

Special considerations:

All patients with vertigo, especially those that are elderly, must take some precautions while performing these vertigo exercises, & also afterward. They should try not to tilt their head too far up or down to avoid feeling dizzy suddenly & losing their balance. If after a week of performing these exercises, you don’t feel any relief at all, or if your condition worsens, stop performing the vertigo exercises & talk to your doctor immediately. They can perform a more extensive physical examination on you & figure out the exact reason for your balance issues & dizziness, or give you better exercises to perform for aiding in your vertigo treatment.

If the reason your dizziness & vertigo isn’t improving is that you’re not performing the vertigo exercises properly or correctly, then your doctor might suggest that you get them done in their office only. They might also suggest that you get on a video call with them while performing the exercises so that they can review the movements & suggest any corrections then & there only.