Vertigo: Symptoms, Causes and Ways to Handle it Through Lifestyle Changes
Vertigo can be a very uncomfortable condition to experience and can make normal living difficult. It is the feeling, where one perceives everything around him or her moving and spinning – whereas, in reality, it isn’t. They tend to feel as if everything is in constant motion, and they are losing their sense of balance. It is mainly a condition related to the inner ear and an imbalance of the fluid present in it.
There are many types of vertigo depending on the causes like calcium carbonate deposits in the inner canals of the ear, changes in ear pressure and the fluid in it, viral or bacterial infection, cerebellar haemorrhage, head or neck injury, hormonal imbalance or even as a side effect of certain medications. This makes it essential for a person to consult a health professional who can understand the condition well and suggest effective ways to manage it.
The most common type of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), which is caused when calcium carbonate crystals deposit in the semi-circular canals of the inner ear instead of some other area of the ear, and this confuses your brain about your body’s positions. Ideally, the semi-circular canals in the ear contain ear fluid that moves in response to changes in our body’s positions.
The most common symptom is dizziness (in general or from heights). Other symptoms include headaches, blurred vision for a short period, vomiting, nausea, sense of imbalance, mental confusion and motion sickness.
As discussed earlier, while vertigo might be due to some serious health condition, in most cases it has got its roots deeply rooted in a faulty lifestyle too. Common causes include:
- Excess acidity and inflammation
- Wrong posture
- Lack of proper sleep
- Poor gut health and allergies due to certain foods
- Decreased circulation to the base of the brain
- Deficiency of vitamin B12 and magnesium
Ways to handle Vertigo and its Symptoms:
While medicines to cure vertigo do exist, one must also invest time and effort in finding out what has caused it and include parallel lifestyle changes, to reduce dependency on medications to the best of their ability. Lifestyle change can also help lessen the severity of vertigo and also help regain balance.
Some lifestyle measures that should be followed include:
- Ginger juice: This has long been one of the most effective home remedies for vertigo. It helps immensely in reducing inflammation. One can add a tsp of fresh ginger juice in water or vegetable juice and then drink it.
- Anti-inflammatory foods: Anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic and cumin seeds should be included as part of the diet.
- Jerky movements: Avoiding jerky movements and immediately getting up from a sleeping position. Turn on one side and get up slowly. Avoid bending forward.
- Hydration and electrolyte balance: Improve water intake and electrolyte balance. Coconut water and lemon water with a pinch of pink salt help to a great extent. Lemon water also helps in keeping the body alkaline.
- Fresh mint or basil leaves: Chewing fresh mint or basil leaves helps combat associated nausea, vomiting and even headaches. One can even explore ginger and peppermint essential oils.
- Stress: Manage stress effectively, as increased stress leads to an increase in inflammation and affects sleep too. Deep breathing, early dinners, journaling, herbal teas like chamomile, lemongrass and lavender help to promote sleep.
- Gut health: Improve your gut health by cutting down potent irritants like sugar, caffeine, milk and wheat. Instead, include foods that are rich in digestive enzymes like papaya and pineapple.
- Proper posture: Maintain an upright posture. Cut downtime spent on gadgets and electronic devices. Hold the phone parallel to your eyesight to avoid bending your neck.
- Vitamin B12: Boost vitamin B12 levels, if they are low. B12 is associated with neurological health as well as feeling off-balance.
- Physiotherapy: Take up physiotherapy under expert guidance. Special exercises, which involve rotation of head and neck, help a lot.
- Acupressure: Explore acupressure, as it helps immensely. There are points behind ears and on the earlobes that if pressed appropriately helps with the vertigo symptoms.
- First aid remedy: Lastly, whenever you experience a vertigo attack, stop whatever you are doing and take a seat. This can avoid occurrences of injuries. One can even keep a walking or cane stick for support. Get fresh air if you can, or open a window.
Yoga for vertigo:
People suffering from vertigo are not advised heavy exercises, as that could add on to the discomfort. Hence, yoga works very well for them. Yoga helps sort out most issues associated with vertigo, both physiologically and psychologically.
While some asanas are contraindicated for yoga, some can help alleviate the condition.
Conscious and controlled breathing has immense positive effects on vertigo. Pranayama helps infuse every cell with oxygen, including the brain, and also calms the nervous system. E.g.: Anulom Vilom, left nostril breathing and Bhramari breathing are highly recommended.
Balasana, Shavasana, Viparita Karani and Supta Baddha Konasana (preferably under expert guidance) are some recommended asanas.
- Practising Shanmukhi mudra also helps a lot.
- Sound producing breaths like Bhramari and Omkar chanting helps calm down the nervous system and produces vibrations in the body that are extremely relaxing and positive.