Vertigo sufferers may be suprised to learn just how easily curable their conditions are

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Vertigo sufferers may be thrown off balance to learn just how easily curable their conditions are.

A Baylor College of Medicine study on the most common form of vertigo illustrates that certain motions, not medications, can eliminate the vestibular problem’s disorienting effects.

Dr. Helen Cohen, associate director of the Center for Balance Disorders at BCM in Houston, found that low-impact exercises successfully resolve problems caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, referred to as BPPV.

“Unlike other disorders that are caused by damage to the nerve – a tumor growing or some metabolic problem in the inner ear – this is a mechanical problem,” said Cohen. “So the way to fix it is with a mechanical fix.”

The five-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, compared repositioning exercises to a placebo treatment. The trial tested several commonly practiced head maneuvers, which were administered by the physician. Cohen hypothesized correctly that certain exercises – particularly those that tilted the patient’s head in motions that relocated displaced calcium particles – were more effective than others, such as those designed simply to desensitize the patient from feeling vertigo.

While some conditions that cause vertigo can be treated with medication, BPPV is not one of them. BPPV creates the illusion of motion caused by the abnormal reaction of the inner ear balance system to certain head movements. The disorder occurs when microscopic particles of calcium carbonite, used to sense the direction of gravity, become dislodged within the vestibular labyrinth of the inner ear and settle into the wrong compartments. This displacement causes the patient to experience vertigo when a change occurs in either the elevation or angle of the head.

Even though BPPV ranks as the most common form of vertigo (occurring in 64 people per 100,000), very little research has been conducted to better understand the disorder, likely because it is not life threatening, according to Cohen.

“It’s very unusual to have somebody with BPPV who is not treatable,” Cohen said.

Under rare circumstances in which repositioning exercises do not work, physicians may recommend surgery as a last resort to relocate manually any displaced particles.

Vertigo creates the illusion of spinning or tilting when a person is not actually moving. Someone who is lightheaded, on the other hand, feels like passing out for reasons that do not necessarily involve the inner ear, such as a cardiac condition.

Cohen said anyone with symptoms of vertigo that last more than one week should see a physician. Furthermore, Cohen recommends that patients describe what they are experiencing rather than make vague generalizations.

“Do not go to your doctor and say, ‘I’m dizzy,’” she said.

Vertigo can occur at any age but is most common around the age of 60.


  1. maurice maurice United Kingdom says:

    Thundery weather causes my vertigo!

  2. Meganne Meganne United Kingdom says:

    Hiya, well I am 12 and I have vertigo. I feel that pinching my skin helps... It brings me out of the 'trance'.

  3. Abel Abel United States says:

    I just got vertigo and found that when you rub the sides of your head it helps. Also you can try one cool tip, soak 1 tbs whole coriander seeds in a glass for whole night, strain it and drink until you feel the difference. It really works.

  4. p walsh p walsh United Kingdom says:

    Hi,  Several months before my vertigo started I suffered from itching in my ears it used to drive me mad.

    Rather than go to the doctor 'being a bloke' I would scatch the inside of my ears with pen tops, keys and as a electrician a screwdriver. I went through all the tests with no conclusion as you guys have. I suffered for just over 2 years until my doctor gave me Otomize 'a ear spray' to alleviate the itch. As I resisted the urge to scatch the vertigo has faded away.

    Coincidence, I don't know. The other thing I found helps is sleeping on your side or stomach avoid lying on your back. Hope this helps.

  5. mary mary   says:

    I have dealt with this for quite a few years myself so I fully understand motion sickness. Five years in between when the first episode to the next one occurred, the doctors at the emergency room had no clue as to what was happening to me then. I had a few more small ones to come and go then a serious one happened at work. I'd always felt as if I was about to leave the world. A lot of dreaming at night and tossing and turning or a very stressful day can set mine off. Always get up in the morning with itchy ears and use q-tips to scratch the ears not realizing this shifts those tiny organs around in the head, we forget our brain is so very near the inner ear, so since I've eleminated some desires to scratch it has gotten better now if the stress I experience so often in my life would subside and the dreams I'll be so much better. But lately have this feeling of motion movements again as if I am leaving my body and my legs go limp or feel faint I want to go back to being normal. Can't even ride theme park rides, even quick sudden movements takes me on a quick spin!

  6. savita shankar savita shankar India says:

    My mother 59 years old is suffering from BPPV (positional vertigo) since the last 6 years. In addition she also is diabetec (hyperglycemic) and has a lower spine degeneration. She also was recently diagnosed with a cardiac issue (60% block in one of the arteries) for which she is on medication.
    Could any of these issues be the reason for her vertigo occurrence. If so, how could we identify the root cause.

    Can you please also advise a vegan diet regime that could help her manage her vertigo problem.

    Thank you

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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