Someone holding up a ginkgo biloba leaf to a blue sky.
Research shows that taking 240 milligrams of ginkgo biloba per day will help reduce vertigo symptoms.

Top Vertigo Home Remedies

Vertigo refers specifically to a type of dizziness that involves a feeling that you, or your surroundings, are moving even though there is no actual movement. Vertigo is a symptom of an underlying condition that either involves the cerebellum of the brain or the labyrinth of the inner ear. The symptoms associated with vertigo can make everyday activities difficult. Luckily, there are some simple vertigo home remedies you can try to help minimize your symptoms and get you back to enjoying your normal activities.

Symptoms of Vertigo

Vertigo symptoms may include a variety of sensations, including:

  • Feeling “off balance”
  • Spinning
  • Swaying
  • Whirling
  • Tilting

Additional symptoms that may be experienced in severe cases of vertigo include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Speaking and/or swallowing difficulties
  • Standing and/or walking difficulties
  • Jerky eye movements

Symptoms of vertigo are dependent on the underlying cause – symptoms may come and go, they may last for seconds or persist for several days. Furthermore, certain head movements and position changes may make symptoms worse.

Causes of Vertigo

There are various underlying conditions that can cause vertigo, including:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): occurs when calcium builds ups in the inner ear (canaliths) and is triggered by movement of the head. Episodes of vertigo tend to be brief, with most episodes lasting between 20 to 60 seconds.
  • Meniere’s disease: results from a buildup of fluid within the inner ear causing vertigo in addition to ringing in the ears and hearing loss. Episodes of vertigo tend to last a little longer, with most episodes lasting between several minutes to hours.
  • Vestibular neuritis: results from swelling around the vestibular nerve caused by a virus. Episodes of vertigo tend to be sudden and severe, persisting for several days and accompanied by other symptoms including nausea and vomiting, difficulties with standing and walking, and hearing loss in one ear.
  • Head injury: injuries that affect normal functioning of the vestibular system, can result in vertigo.

Additionally, there are less common causes of vertigo including:

  • Medications: Certain medications affect normal brain and inner ear function leading to vertigo.
  • Vestibular migraines: This type of vertigo is caused by a migraine and typically occurs at the same time as a headache but may also occur without headache.
  • Brain conditions: Certain diseases that affect the normal functioning of the brain, such as stroke, can cause vertigo. Typically this type of vertigo is accompanied by other symptoms.

Triggers for Vertigo Episodes

Various triggers for vertigo episodes have been identified, including:

  • Head movement
  • Body movements
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Sinus infection
  • Consumption of high sugar or salty foods
  • Bed rest for a prolonged period of time

If you identify a trigger for your vertigo, it’s important to minimize exposure to reduce your risk of trigging an episode.

When to See a Doctor

If you suffer from severe or long-lasting vertigo episodes, you may want to consult with your doctor. They can help to determine the underlying cause of your vertigo and can prescribe medications to help control your symptoms, including:

  • Antihistamines (i.e. meclizine, dimenhydrinate, or diphenhydramine)
  • Anti-nausea medications (i.e. promethazine, metoclopramide, or ondansetron)
  • Sedative medications (i.e. diazepam, lorazepam, or clonazepam)

Many patients with vertigo that is caused by injury to the vestibular system find that balance rehabilitation helps to reduce their symptoms. Balance rehabilitation involves a series of balance exercises to help your brain adjust its response to changes within the vestibular system. It can also help to train your visual system, as well as your other senses, to learn to adapt to changing situations. This therapy is most beneficial when it’s started at the onset of symptoms.

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Home Remedies for Vertigo

1. Maneuvers

If you suffer from BPPV, the Epley maneuver and Semont maneuver may be used to treat your symptoms. These maneuvers are most often performed by physical therapists and involve moving your head into certain positions to encourage movement of calcium from within the inner ear, but can also be performed at home.

Below we’ll break down each maneuver.

Epley Maneuver
These are instructions for the left ear (if your vertigo comes from your right ear, reverse the instructions):

  • Begin on the edge of your bed with your head turned 45 degrees to the left and a pillow placed behind you.
  • Quickly lie back, with your head still turned 45 degrees, on the bed with the pillow under your shoulders.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • While lying, turn your head to the right 90 degrees.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Now turn your head and body to the right to look at the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly sit up.

Semont Maneuver
The following instructions are for the left ear (if your vertigo comes from your right ear, reverse the instructions):

  • Begin on the edge of your bed with your head turned to the right 45 degrees.
  • Quickly lie on the left side (you’ll be looking up towards the ceiling).
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • While holding your head in the same position, quickly move to lie down on the opposite side of the bed (you’ll be looking down towards the floor).
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly sit up

2. Stress Management

Some episodes of vertigo may be caused by stress, so learning coping strategies can help to decrease your risk of suffering an episode of vertigo. Meditation and deep breathing can help you get through some stressful situations, and yoga and Thai chi can help to reduce stress and increase flexibility and balance at the same time. However, identifying your stressors and avoiding them is the best way to decrease your vertigo symptoms.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Vertigo can be triggered by sleep deprivation. Ensure you are getting an adequate amount of quality sleep to help manage your vertigo symptoms.

4. Hydrate

Dehydration can also trigger a vertigo episode. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, especially on hot days, and while performing physical activity to help reduce your risk of suffering an episode.

5. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate your body; limiting consumption of these liquids may help to control your vertigo symptoms.

6. Gingko Biloba and Vitamin D

Research has found that ginkgo biloba is effective at treating vertigo – taking 240 milligrams every day may help to reduce your vertigo symptoms. Additionally, a lack of vitamin D has been found to be associated with worsening vertigo symptoms in individuals with BPPV. Try to give yourself a boost of vitamin D by drinking fortified milk or juice, or consuming tuna and/or egg yolks.

In Conclusion

Vertigo can interfere with your life, but in most cases, is not dangerous. There are various home remedies that you can try to get your symptoms under control. However, if you have severe or persistent vertigo symptoms, it’s best to consult with your doctor to rule out underlying health conditions that may need to be treated.