Vertigo is a sort of dizziness characterized by a sensation that you or your environment are moving, spinning, falling or tilting although there is no actual movement.
It may be accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, tinnitus, temporary hearing loss or a feeling of fullness in the ear.
Vertigo itself is more of a symptom than a disease and is different from the nonspecific lightheadedness or dizziness.
The most common form of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), caused by a disturbance in the calcium particles called otoliths in the semicircular canals of the labyrinth of the inner ear. Older individuals are more prone to this problem.
It is characterized by a sensation of motion, brought on or made worse by sudden head movements or positional changes. It usually lasts for less than a minute.
Some other conditions that can lead to vertigo are labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear structure called labyrinth), Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuronitis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve usually caused by a viral ear infection), head injury and migraines.
It can also be due to problems in the brain or nerves or a side effect of certain medications.
In some cases, vertigo will improve on its own over a period of time. You can also try exercises like the Epley maneuver, and other home remedies for relief.
Consult your doctor before trying these remedies as individual cases may vary. Furthermore, some cases may require treatment by a specialist or even surgery.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for vertigo, in order of effectiveness.
1. Epley Maneuver
The Epley maneuver can be highly beneficial in treating vertigo, especially benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), without any serious adverse effects.
Research has found this procedure can help resolve BPPV effectively and rapidly.
- Sit on a bed and place a pillow behind you so that it will be under your shoulders when you lie down.
- If your vertigo is in the left ear, turn your head 45 degrees to the left. (If it is in the right ear, turn your head 45 degrees to the right and follow the rest of the procedure accordingly.)
- Quickly lie back with your shoulders on the pillow and head reclined onto the bed for about 30 seconds.
- Next, without raising your head, turn it 90 degrees to the right and wait for another 30 seconds.
- Now, while keeping your head in its current position, quickly turn your whole body another 90 degrees to the right and stay in this position for 30 seconds.
- Slowly sit up, bringing your head to the center.
- Repeat this procedure three times daily until you are without vertigo for at least 24 hours. In most cases, symptoms resolve within a week. It is best perform all the three cycles of this maneuver at night before going to sleep rather than in the morning or midday.
Check out the following video to see the procedure demonstrated.
Ginger can help deal with vertigo because it promotes blood circulation to the brain and also relieves nausea. A study of the vertigo-reducing effects of ginger found it also alleviates related issues like motion sickness and migraines.
- Simply chewing a piece of ginger on a regular basis can help alleviate this problem.
- Prepare ginger tea by steeping one teaspoon of grated ginger in a cup of boiling water for about five minutes and then strain it. You can sweeten it with honey. Drink it twice daily for a few weeks.
- Another option is to take ginger in supplement form (consult your doctor for appropriate dosage).
Note: Talk to your doctor before taking ginger as it may interfere with certain medications like anticoagulant, antidiabetic and blood pressure medications.
3. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a wonderful Chinese traditional medicine that helps increase blood flow to the brain, thereby reducing the dizzy sensation.
Take 120 to 160 mg of ginkgo biloba extract in two or three divided doses daily for three months. You will start noticing improvement after eight to 12 weeks.
4. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds is a popular Ayurvedic remedy for vertigo.
- Soak one teaspoon each of coriander seeds and Indian gooseberry (amla) powder in a cup of water.
- Set it aside overnight.
- Strain and drink this solution the next morning. To improve its taste, you may add a little sugar or honey.
- Repeat daily for a few days.
Cardamom has a soothing smell and health properties similar to that of ginger, thus helping in the natural treatment of vertigo. Plus, the massaging action used in this remedy will help alleviate the problem.
- Slightly heat two teaspoons of sesame oil.
- Mix in one-half teaspoon each of powdered cinnamon and cardamom.
- Gently massage your head with this oil and leave it on for a few hours.
- Do this several times a week for a few weeks.
Due to its light, spicy and sweet smell, basil works as an aromatherapy remedy for dizziness and vertigo.
- Boil three or four basil leaves in one cup of milk.
- Inhale the smell and drink this healthy tonic daily before going to bed.
- Do this for at least a few weeks.
7. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can help resolve balance issues and reduce dizziness by working on the trigger points in the anterior neck muscles. It will also improve circulation, and relieve neck pain and stiffness too.
An Indian head massage, also known as champi, will also help resolve headaches, migraines, tinnitus and insomnia. It works the upper three chakras called vishuddha, ajna, and sahasrara.
You can do a simple massage yourself daily by gently massaging your head, neck and upper back in circular motions. For proper massage though, sessions with a skilled massage therapist are highly recommended.
Note: Avoid vigorous massage, especially if you have a bleeding disorder or you are taking blood-thinning medications.
Valerian is useful for dealing with vertigo caused by nervous exhaustion. It also helps with issues like insomnia, and anxiety.
- Steep one teaspoon of dried valerian root in a cup of water for five to 10 minutes. Strain and drink this tea up to three times daily for two to three weeks.
- Take one teaspoon of valerian tincture once or twice daily for two to three weeks.
Note: Do not take valerian for a prolonged time as it can be addictive. Plus, consult your doctor before taking herbal remedies.
9. Lemon Balm
Herbalists believe that lemon balm can help with problems like anxiety, depression, hypertension, migraines, insomnia, nervous tension and vertigo as it is good for the nervous and circulatory systems. Plus, it has antiviral properties.
- Boil a cup of water. Add one teaspoon of dried lemon balm to it and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the tea and drink it a few times a day for a few weeks.
- You can also inhale lemon balm oil directly but not for a prolonged time.
Note: Consult your doctor before taking herbal remedies.
Another Ayurvedic remedy prepared by a combination of almonds, pumpkin seeds, wheat and poppy seeds may also help reduce dizziness and vertigo.
- Soak seven or eight almonds, seven or eight pumpkin seeds, three tablespoons of wheat and one teaspoon of poppy seeds (also known as khuskhus) in water overnight.
- The next morning, peel the almonds and grind them along with the other soaked ingredients to make a fine paste.
- Sauté one-half teaspoon of cloves in two teaspoons of clarified butter (also known as ghee).
- Add the almond paste and a cup of milk to the mixture, bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat. You can sweeten it with a little sugar.
- Drink this daily for a few days.
In addition to these remedies, it is essential to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration contributes to dizziness and lightheadedness. So, drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you feel dizzy.
Plus, you can perform more balance exercises to make the dizziness subside. Acupuncture, breathing techniques and meditation can also be helpful in this regard.