Vertigo, that sickening feeling that the room is spinning, can spring up suddenly and come back often.
Now there’s a way to stop the spinning that you can do yourself.
It works for one of the most common causes of this dizzying dilemma, a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Until now, the standard treatment was the Epley Maneuver. It’s effective, well-known, noninvasive and painless—but you need help from a doctor or a trained partner who can tilt your head for you in the right way.
Carol Foster, MD, director of the balance laboratory at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora and herself a sufferer of vertigo, created a solution that anyone can do. She calls it the “Half Somersault Maneuver.”
Here’s what to do when you get a spell of vertigo…
Step 1: Kneel on the floor, hands flat by your knees for balance, and tilt your head back so that you’re facing the ceiling. You will feel dizzy in this position. Wait for the feeling to subside before going on to step two.
Step 2: Lean forward, resting the top of your head on the floor in front of your knees, chin tucked in as though you were going to do a somersault. If you feel dizzier turning to the right or the left, turn your head toward the side that makes you feel dizzier. Again, you’ll feel dizzy in this position—and that’s good because it means the right changes are happening inside your inner ear. Wait for the spinning feeling to subside.
Step 3: Still kneeling in the same position, lift your head so that it is in a straight line with your back and you are either facing the floor or have your head turned toward the side that makes you dizziest. Hold that position until the spinning feeling goes.
Step 4: Sit up straight.
Voila! You should no longer feel like the room is spinning. If that isn’t the case, follow the same steps again. You may need to repeat them four or five times to finally get relief.
How does it work? This series of positions helps tiny crystals in your inner ear that have moved to the wrong spot settle back into their proper position. To learn more, check out this video from Dr. Foster. She explains what happens in your inner ear when you experience vertigo and demonstrates the maneuver—plus variations to try if your vertigo stems primarily from just one ear.