Neck Exercises for Vertigo

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There are several neck exercise you can do for vertigo.
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If you've ever spun around in circles multiple times to make yourself dizzy, you probably know what it feels like to have vertigo. Dizziness that occurs without an obvious cause can significantly disrupt your life. Specific exercise maneuvers and neck exercises for vertigo might help.

Read more: Suddenly Feeling Lightheaded? Here Are Likely Reasons Why

Determine the Cause

Not all kinds of vertigo can be treated with exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, vertigo can occur due to infection, medical conditions that cause fluid buildup in your ears or even migraines.

However, the most common type of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. This type of vertigo can be treated with specific exercises.

In addition to dizziness, BPPV can cause loss of balance, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms typically come and go, and they often last for less than one minute.

See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms before attempting exercise. For best results, perform neck therapy for vertigo with a physical therapist. Be aware that dizziness can sometimes be a sign of more serious illness, as explained by the Mayo Clinic.

Seek immediate medical attention if you also experience a severe headache, fever, difficult speaking, weakness in your arms or legs, double vision, blindness, loss of consciousness, numbness or tingling, or a fever with your dizziness.

Understand Your Condition

BPPV is a condition that causes dizziness with certain head positions — not just moving your neck. As explained by the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, dizziness from BPPV is often triggered by lying down, rolling over or tipping your head to look upward.

In addition to dizziness, BPPV can cause nausea, vomiting, abnormal eye movements and sweating. These symptoms occur because small crystals in your inner ear — often called "rocks" — become loose and fall into areas of the ear where they don't belong.

Neck Therapy for Vertigo

Treatment for BPPV involves neck movements for vertigo, which are typically performed by a trained physician or physical therapist. These movements are called the Epley maneuver and the Semont maneuver, as explained by the University of Michigan.

These movements can temporarily increase your symptoms, and this can last for several hours. The maneuvers move the rocks in your inner ear back to their correct position, which corrects the underlying cause of your vertigo symptoms.

As part of your neck therapy for vertigo — also called vestibular rehabilitation — you might be instructed to perform Brandt-Daroff exercises at home, as discussed by the University of Michigan.

These exercises do not move the rocks that have become displaced in your ear. Instead, they help your brain acclimate to your dizziness, and this can decrease symptoms over time.

Be aware that these neck movements for vertigo, as described by the University of Michigan Health System, can temporarily increase your dizziness. Also, you could end up vomiting. It's best to be prepared for these possible side effects ahead of time. Do five repetitions twice each day for two weeks.

  1. Sit at the middle edge of your bed or couch.
  2. Turn your neck about 45 degrees to one side.
  3. Maintaining this position, quickly lie down on your opposite side.
  4. Continue lying down for at least 30 seconds. If you have dizziness, lie there until your symptoms subside — then stay in that position for another 30 seconds.
  5. Sit up quickly and look straight ahead.
  6. Turn your head about 45 degrees to the other side.
  7. Quickly lie down on your opposite side.
  8. Again, stay positioned on your side for at least 30 seconds, or if you have symptoms, wait for them to subside. Then, add 30 seconds.
  9. Sit up quickly.
  10. Stay seated for at least 30 seconds before you attempt to stand up.

Read more: Post-Workout Lightheadedness

Include Other Vestibular Exercises

In some cases, you might have to learn to live with your dizziness. However, your brain's tolerance to your symptoms can be increased with balance activities and eye exercises for vertigo.

Perform these exercises with someone else present for safety until you become accustomed to the sensations they produce. Do these exercises at least three times per day, for at least six to 12 weeks, as recommended by the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

As with other vertigo exercises, be aware that these activities could lead to vomiting until you get used to them. Perform three sets of each movement, but rest for 30 seconds between sets.

Move 1: Nodding

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Look at the ground and bring your chin down to your chest.
  3. Look up toward the ceiling and tip your head backward.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Move 2: Just Say No

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Look to the right and turn your neck to the right.
  3. Look to the left and turn your neck to the left.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Tip

As your symptoms improve, perform this exercise with your eyes closed; then progress to a standing position.

Move 3: Seated Trunk Exercises

  1. Shrug your shoulders; then relax.
  2. Perform 20 repetitions.
  3. Rotate your shoulders to the right and then the left.
  4. Repeat 20 times.
  5. Rotate your entire upper body to the right; then the left.
  6. Repeat 20 times.
  7. Rotate your upper body right and left with your eyes closed.
  8. Perform 20 times.
  9. Focus your eyes on the wall in front of you.
  10. Bend forward and touch the ground; then sit back up, keeping your eyes on the wall.
  11. Repeat 20 times.
  12. Bend forward, touch the ground and sit back up. This time, follow the movement with your eyes.
  13. Repeat 20 times.

Move 4: Eye Exercises for Vertigo

  1. Hold one finger out in front of your face, approximately 12 inches away.
  2. Keeping your eyes focused on your finger, move your head up and down, 20 times.
  3. Continue to focus on your finger and rotate your head from side to side, 20 times.
  4. With your eyes focused on your finger, move your finger to the tip of your nose; then back out to the starting position, 20 times.

Move 5: Sit to Stand

  1. Move from sitting to standing; then back to sitting as quickly as you can tolerate. Start slowly if your dizziness is severe.
  2. Repeat 20 times, keeping your eyes open.
  3. As symptoms improve, perform sit to stands with your eyes closed.

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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