3 Physical Therapy Treatments for Vertigo

3 Physical Therapy Treatments for Vertigo

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Some of your patients may experience vertigo, a common health problem which causes the sensation of dizziness, rocking, or spinning when a person is completely motionless. Though vertigo is not a life-threatening ailment, it can affect a person’s quality of life and prohibit them from doing simple activities. Luckily, there are several physical therapy treatments for vertigo that can help your patients manage their condition.physical therapy treatments for vertigo

What Causes Vertigo?

Inner ear complications are the most common causes of vertigo, as they directly affect a person’s balance. Some likely contributors are:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
    • Also known as “loose crystals”, BPPV is the most common type of vertigo. This condition results from small crystals of calcium loosening in the inner ear. These crystals travel into the semicircular canals, disturbing the fluid and creating the sensation of movement.
    • BPPV is often felt when a person shifts their head to a different position, which can occur when tilting the head or getting in or out of bed.
    • Seniors, particularly women, over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of getting BPPV than younger people.
    • While BPPV is the most common type of vertigo, it is also the easiest to treat.
  • Inner-ear infections
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Migraines
  • Tumors or strokes (central nervous system problems)
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Meniere’s disease

Easy Physical Therapy Treatments for Vertigo

Be sure to assess your patient’s condition thoroughly before you recommend these exercises.

Here are three simple physical therapy treatments for vertigo that your patients can easily perform at home:

Epley maneuver

The Epley maneuver is one of the most widely used physical therapy treatments for vertigo, particularly for those suffering from BPPV. To complete the maneuver, have your patients follow these instructions:

  1. Sit straight up in bed with your head back and your legs outstretched.
  2. Turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  3. Quickly lie back with your head still tilted and hold the position for 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly turn your head 90 degrees to the left without lifting your neck. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn your head and body so that you are on your left side. Hold for 30 seconds.
  6. Slowly return to the original sitting position.

If necessary, someone can help your patient complete these steps at home by gently guiding their head into these positions. The Epley maneuver can be done up to three times a day until dizziness subsides.

Foster Maneuver

This is one of the easiest physical therapy treatments for vertigo that patients can perform at home. It can be done by following these simple steps:

  1. Kneel down and look up at the ceiling.
  2. Slowing curl your body towards your knees and touch your head to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn your head in the direction of your ear and hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Swiftly raise your head to a 45-degree angle, keeping it in line with your back. Hold position for 30 seconds.
  5. Keep your head turned to the affected side, and quickly raise it to a fully upright position. Slowly begin to stand.

This maneuver can be repeated several times until dizziness is relieved, but it is important to let the body rest for at least 20 minutes between exercises.

Brandt-Daroff Exercise

Brand-Daroff Exercises have high success rates for relieving vertigo symptoms and are very easy to complete at home. However, they require more repetitions than the other physical therapy treatments for vertigo we’ve mentioned so far. Give your patients these instructions:

  1. Begin by sitting upright on the edge of your bed.
  2. Quickly lie on your left side while turning your head to look up at the ceiling.
  3. Return to a seated position for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat these steps on your right side.
  5. Complete a total of five repetitions per side.
  6. Return to a seated position and wait for any dizziness to subside before standing. Don’t be alarmed, this sensation is normal after completing this exercise.


What are some of the most successful physical therapy treatments for vertigo that you’ve recommended? Let us know in the comments below!

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Author: Allied Travel Careers

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