Specialty exercises are a key component of vertigo rehabilitation. When a healthcare provider first diagnoses a patient with vertigo, a combination of medication, physical therapy and at-home exercises may be recommended to mitigate current symptoms and limit future impacts on quality of life. A physical therapist may introduce exercises and then assist a patient with them for a period of weeks or simply advise on techniques for an at-home program.
When a patient requires vestibular rehabilitation, exercises target both vertigo and labyrinthitis. With vertigo, a patient feels a sensation of spinning, and it may feel like either they or the world around them is spinning, even if no movement is occurring. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear inflammation that can cause vertigo, among other symptoms. Special exercises help improve balance issues associated with these conditions and use a few different techniques to build up exposure and stamina.
Common sitting exercises used in vertigo rehabilitation are designed to help patients repeat movements that often lead to a feeling of dizziness. Through repetition, many patients are able to develop a tolerance to the motions and avoid severe vertigo in the future. Sitting exercises usually involve sitting on the bed or on another safe surface and moving the eyes from side to side, up and down, and then following the index finger forward and backward from the nose. These motions are then repeated, but the entire head moves forward and back and from side to side. For progressions, some patients start while they are still lying in bed in the morning and then move to a sitting position. After building up stamina, these exercises can be completed standing.
Standing exercises vary based on the recommendations of a physical therapist, but all vertigo solutions focus on gaining balance. WebMD highlights basic exercises like a slow march in place focused on stability or turning in place to recondition the body and fight off future episodes.
Because the dizziness and imbalance associated with vertigo create a fall hazard for patients, it is important to complete standing exercises with safety in mind. Practice standing movements at a handrail or counter or with a chair or walker nearby to provide additional stability if a dizzy spell occurs. When balance challenges are more severe, hold on to the stability aid while exercising and consider asking a friend or loved one to monitor and assist during an exercise session.
Contact a professional to learn more about vertigo rehabilitation.