Have you ever suddenly felt as if the whole world is spinning around you or that you’re spinning around (when you know you aren’t)? If the answer is yes, you might have vertigo. These episodes of intense dizziness can last a few seconds, minutes, hours or even days.

The causes are varied but one kind of vertigo that crops up a lot in those aged over 60 is BPPV (short for, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). It happens because tiny crystals of calcium in the inner ear come loose and rustle about where they shouldn’t be.

Thankfully, BPPV is one of the most treatable kinds of vertigo and there are even simple exercises you can do at home that help.

Before you go whole hog and practice these exercises, visit your hearing health specialist at Celestial Hearing to have your ears checked and speak to your doctor. Once you know you have BPPV and which ear is affected, a doctor or therapist can show you which of these manuevers will work best and how to do them.

 

The Epley Maneuver

If your BPPV comes from your left ear and you’re having a bout of vertigo, do this:

  • Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45 degrees to the left;
  • Lie down on your back with a pillow placed between your shoulders (not under your head), with your head still turned 45 degrees;
  • Wait half a minute and your vertigo should stop;
  • Now turn your head 90 degrees to the right, making sure you don’t lift your head up;
  • Wait another half a minute;
  • Finally, turn your head and body onto your right side so that you’re now looking at the floor;
  • Wait half a minute, slowly sit up and stay seated on the bed for a few more minutes.

If your BPPV comes from the right ear, follow the same instructions but flip them i.e. start by turning your head 45 degrees to the right.

 

The Semont Maneuver

Again, these instructions are for BPPV from the left ear, simply flip them for BPPV from the right ear:

  • Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45 degrees to the right (so the opposite direction to the affected ear);
  • Quickly lie down on your left side with your head still at that 45-degree angle;
  • Wait half a minute;
  • Now quickly shift to the opposite end of the bed, without changing the direction of your head and again keeping that 45-degree angle;
  • Wait half a minute, slowly sit up and stay seated on the bed for a few more minutes.

 

The Foster Maneuver

  • Kneel down on the floor and look up at the ceiling, just for a few seconds;
  • Touch the floor with your head, tucking your chin inwards;
  • Wait half a minute and your vertigo should stop;
  • Turn your head 45 degrees in the direction of your affected ear and wait another half a minute;
  • Quickly lift up your head and go up on all fours, making sure your head is level with your back and still at a 45-degree angle;
  • Wait half a minute;
  • Finally, lift your head upright, still turned towards the direction of the affected ear and gradually stand up.

The Brandt-Daroff Exercise

  • Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45 degrees in the direction away from your affected ear;
  • Shift into a lying position on your side, maintaining the 45-degree angle of your head, with your nose pointed up;
  • Wait half a minute and your vertigo should stop;
  • Shift back into a seated position.

 

These exercises may be tricky to start with, but with practice they will become second nature.