Vertigo and its Effects on Swimmers

November 28, 2021

vertigo relief

Jack Sorenson, one of Arizona's top youngest swimmers, suffers from vertigo. When he was 11, Jack would gasp for air in the middle of the pool while trying not to drown. He did not understand what was going on back then. What he knew was that his vision was spinning even when he was just standing still. 

 That was just one of his many encounters with vertigo. The quest to find vertigo relief is more challenging for Jack and other swimmers living with vertigo as they spend most of their time in deep pool waters.

If you also love swimming but suffer from vertigo attacks, this blog is for you. In this blog, you will understand the common vertigo triggers for swimmers like Jack. We will also teach you how to conquer and cope with your vertigo episodes.


What Triggers Vertigo Attacks While Swimming?

Some swimmers find themselves spinning and disoriented after simply swimming in the pool. The whirling feeling they get is commonly known as vertigo, a symptom that arises from a problem in the inner ear. It is a common symptom that swimmers and athletes deal with. But what triggers it?

Water in Ear

If you get cold water in your ear while swimming, you may experience vertigo. The vertigo symptom may occur hours or days later after the incident. A buildup of fluid can change the pressure and temperature in the inner ear. Additionally, having excess water in the inner ear can seed the onset of Meniere’s disease. It is also a condition that causes vertigo episodes, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears.

Panic attack and anxiety

Swimming in deep water if you’re not used to it or swimming in competitions can increase someone’s anxiety levels. Too much anxiety can cause someone to experience panic attacks—and eventually, vertigo. When you are dealing with a panic attack, your brain turns into a fight-or-flight response. This causes intense physical sensations of fear. When you panic, you may experience increased heart rate, racing heartbeat, muscle tension, and hyperventilation.


Like any other sport, exercise, or workout, swimming can also cause a reduction in body fluids. Your body still releases sweat each time you swim. When you lose more fluid than your intake, you will experience dehydration. Swimmers who are often dehydrated have lower blood volume and lower blood pressure. As a result, oxygen may not reach your brain and inner ear the way it should. This problem can lead to bouts of vertigo before, during, and after swimming.


Panic and fear when swimming can cause hyperventilation or shortness of breath. It can decrease the amount of oxygen in your blood. As a result, your brain may not be getting enough amount of oxygen to function well. Hyperventilation also reduces your body’s carbon dioxide level, which leads to the narrowing of the blood vessels. As a result, your brain and inner ear may not receive enough blood supply. The reduction of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and blood supply can cause symptoms of vertigo and lightheadedness.


Undoubtedly, long hours of training and prolonged physical activity in the pool can cause a high stress level. Stress can elevate your body’s cortisol hormone. This hormone can impair the normal function of your vestibular system that controls your balance. In addition, stress can also increase your heart rate, affecting your breathing and narrowing down your blood vessels.

vertigo relief






3 Ways Swimmers Can Cope with Vertigo

Finding vertigo relief means a lot to swimmers suffering from vertigo attacks. And just like Jack, you should not give up until you get rid of vertigo that prevents you from reaching the finish line. Here are ways on how you can cope with vertigo and relieve it naturally.

Always hydrate yourself

One of the easiest ways to prevent vertigo attacks in the pool is to hydrate frequently. So before going to swimming training, be sure to fuel yourself with enough fluid. 

Relax your mind and body in the water

The thought of having a vertigo attack in the pool can be a source of stress for swimmers. Unfortunately, stress can also trigger a vertigo episode. To ease stress and reduce your chances of experiencing a debilitating spinning sensation, you need to relax. To start, be more mindful of your surroundings. Next, keep your focus on one goal and reduce unnecessary head movements when swimming. Lastly, stay controlled and deep breathing before jumping into the pool.

Do not be afraid to seek professional care

Do not deprive yourself of the benefit of seeking professional help. You may visit your doctor to examine the underlying condition that may be causing your vertigo while swimming. Visiting an upper cervical chiropractor is also an excellent step to begin your recovery journey. They work by correcting misalignments in the upper cervical spine, one of vertigo's most common root causes.


Enjoy Vertigo Relief Through Upper Cervical Chiropractic

We understand that finding vertigo relief can be difficult for swimmers. If you want to try something that works for many people, upper cervical chiropractors are the professionals to consult with. They practice upper cervical care, a gentle and precise technique that realigns your off-centered C1 and C2 bones.

Once your upper cervical spine is in proper alignment again, your body can begin recovering naturally. Make this your goal and begin your journey today by visiting a local upper cervical chiropractor.


Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.


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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.