Vertigo: Can Anything Help Stop the Spinning?

Ways to make dizziness stop in vertigo

Contrary to popular belief, most likely promoted by a particular movie a few decades ago, vertigo is not the fear of heights. It is actually the sensation of spinning. You may feel as if you are spinning around or like the things in the environment around you are spinning. True vertigo always has a rotational component to it. As many as 10 percent of people in the US have vertigo. If you are over 40, you are at higher risk of developing it. Out of every 5 people, 2 will develop vertigo. From 1994 to 2004, 2.5 percent of people visited the emergency room for symptoms of vertigo.

Reasons for Vertigo

Vertigo is a balance disorder which occurs due to damage to the inner ear. The sensation of spinning may be strong enough to cause nausea and loss of balance. It differs from dizziness in that dizziness is a feeling of fainting.

Vertigo happens from an imbalance in the way certain areas of the body work, such as hearing, vision, and a sense of location in your environment. Because it’s a specific type of dizziness, vertigo is more of a symptom than a condition. Vertigo has been seen in people with high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Vertigo can impact your ability to perform your daily routines and give you a general feeling of being unwell.

Vertigo Accompanying Symptoms

Vertigo gives one a false sense of movement. While it is a symptom itself, it can also have other symptoms that accompany it, such as:

  • Balance issues and lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus -- ringing in the ears
  • A feeling of congestion or fullness in the ears
  • Nausea and vomiting

Vertigo Categories

There are two types of vertigo, and the categories are according to their causes.

  • Peripheral vertigo: This happens when the balance organs of the inner ear become disturbed for some reason.
  • Central vertigo: This occurs when the sensory nerve pathways of the brain become disrupted.

Let’s look at each one of these categories in depth and try to understand them better.

Peripheral Vertigo

The labyrinth of the inner ear is made up of tiny organs that allow messages to be sent to the brain in response to gravity. These messages help the brain determine when there is movement from the vertical position. This is why, when you stand upright, you do not immediately lose your balance and fall.

If something disturbs the function of this system, vertigo ensues. It can be due to inflammation that has come about because of a viral infection. The following conditions have a connection to peripheral vertigo:

Vestibular Neuronitis

An inflammation of the vestibular nerve because of a viral infection.


An inflammation of the inner ear labyrinth and vestibular nerve usually due to a viral infection. This nerve has the important job of relaying the motion of the body and its position to the brain.

Meniere’s disease

Thought to be the result of a build-up of fluid in the inner ear, its symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus, and gradual hearing loss. It is most known to affect people in the age range of 40 to 60 years. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that 615,000 people in the US have been diagnosed with this condition. It may result from blood vessel constriction, an autoimmune reaction, or a viral infection.


This refers to a skin growth that happens in the middle ear and usually results from a repeated infection. If it becomes too large, it can cause hearing loss, dizziness, and damage to the ear.

BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)

This is the most common form of vertigo and stems from a disturbance in the otolith particles. These are tiny crystals of calcium carbonate in the inner ear fluid that pull on sensory hair cells during movement and stimulate the vestibular nerve, which, in turn, sends signals about the body’s position to the brain. When you have BPPV, endolymph fluid continues to move even when your head has quit moving. It usually impacts older people, and the cause is unknown. BPPV is twice as common in women than in men. It may occur after:

  • A trauma to the head
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Ear surgery
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Vertebrobasilar ischemia

Central Vertigo

This is due to a problem within the central nervous system. It involves a disturbance in:

  • The brainstem and cerebellum -- the areas of the brain that handle interaction between the senses of balance and vision
  • Sensory messages to and from the thalamus

Migraines are the most common form of central vertigo. As many as 40 percent of those experiencing migraines have vertigo with them.

Uncommon reasons for central vertigo include:

  • Stroke
  • TIA’s
  • Tumor in the cerebellar brain
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Multiple sclerosis

Suggestions to Help Improve Vertigo

Here are a few suggestions that may help you see an improvement in vertigo.

Change your eating habits

Sometimes vertigo is the result of a food sensitivity. Whether the food is triggering a vestibular migraine or is causing your ears to clog up, vertigo can be the result. You may need to keep a food journal to determine what foods are having a negative impact on your health. Additionally, if you have a vestibular condition such as Meniere’s disease, your doctor may recommend a low-sodium diet. This reduces fluid retention in the body and may help limit the overabundance of fluid in the ears linked to Meniere’s. Eating processed food and those that trigger migraines may be one reason you are experiencing vertigo. If you want to see relief, then consider making some serious changes.

    • Follow a low sodium diet (especially if you have Meniere’s disease).
    • Avoid migraine trigger foods like red wine, cheese, and chocolate.
    • Eat a diet rich in vitamin c -- green leafy veggies, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, green peppers, and tomatoes.

Supplement with Vitamin D

Studies show that not only do most of us not get enough vitamin D, but a deficiency also may be linked to positional vertigo. One study revealed that people with vertigo were often very deficient in vitamin D compared to those without vertigo.

Try garlic and sesame oil

When combined, garlic and sesame oil have been seen to relieve an attack of vertigo. Crush two garlic cloves and add to a pan with two teaspoons of sesame oil. Cook until brown in color and strain the oil into a cup. Once cooled, drip two or three drops of this concoction into the ear. Let sit for one minute before draining. Use on both ears.

Change your pillow

A flattened pillow can actually be a reason for you to experience vertigo. It can cause you to have a pinched nerve, making you lose precious sleep. This can make you feel dizzy when you wake up. It is recommended that you change your pillow every six months to improve neck posture.

Change Your Sleep Position

Do you find that you suffer from vertigo when you first wake up in the morning? It could be the way you are twisting your neck in your sleep. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst for your neck because you basically have your head turned to the side all night long. 

Get a good night’s rest

Not enough sleep can lead to vertigo. Make sure you are getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. Do not nap during the day. Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom. Keep it cool and dark and limit any lights, even from alarm clocks, while you are sleeping.

Manage stress

Stress can trigger a bout of vertigo. That means everything from your boss yelling at you to having to go into a crowded place when you don’t like being around a lot of people can lead to an episode. That makes good stress coping mechanisms a must for someone who is dealing with this problem. Keep in mind that some of the things people use to cope, like drinking alcoholic beverages or using tobacco, can actually make vertigo worse, so it is necessary to find positive ways to deal with emotional strain. Whether it is relaxing in the tub with a good book, taking a walk with a loved one, or doing some deep breathing and stretching exercises, what works for each of us is different.

Be sure to drink enough water

One of the most unrecognized causes of vertigo is dehydration. It is one of the earliest signs that you are not taking in enough water. Whether you were out in the heat too long, worked out too hard, or just haven’t grabbed a glass of water in a while, it is important to increase your water intake to see if this is a possible cause of your vertigo. 64 ounces of water per day is the standard recommendation, but if you live in a hot area, work outdoors, or are subject to other factors that could be dehydrating you faster, it is vital to drink even more water than this.

Take apple cider vinegar and raw honey

Unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and raw honey are best. They ease blood flow to the brain. Add two parts honey and one part apple cider vinegar. Then take 1 tablespoon of this mixture 2 or 3 times a day to prevent vertigo.

Try ginger tea

Before pills and prescriptions, there was ginger. This root, from the Zingiber officinale plant, has been cherished, especially in Asian traditions, as a remedy for a plethora of ailments – from tummy troubles to inflammation.

So, what's in this root that might make vertigo's spin less daunting? Here’s a quick overview:

  • Anti-inflammatory Might: In some, vertigo is an echo of inflammation in the inner ear. Ginger's knack for calming inflammation might offer respite.
  • Antioxidant Shield: Could oxidative stress be aggravating your vertigo? Ginger's antioxidant arsenal might be a protective barrier for your inner ear.
  • Antiemetic Excellence: Vertigo often brings along unwanted guests: nausea and vomiting. Ginger's renowned anti-nausea abilities could show them the door.

Quit smoking

You know that smoking is bad for you, but did you know that it could be making your vertigo worse? Vertigo problems are sometimes related to blood flow. Smoking reduces the size of the smallest blood vessels. Not only does your heart have to work harder to pump your blood, but some parts of the body may not be receiving the full supply they need. If this occurs in certain parts of the ears or the central nervous system, vertigo is one possible result.

Get more exercise

We’re going to go back to the importance of blood flow. Exercise does the opposite to your blood vessels as smoking. So you can actually improve your circulation by getting regular exercise each day. Remember to take it easy at first and consult a physician to see how much exercise is safe at your current health levels. Even someone with many health problems can start out with a gentle stretching routine and work your way up from there. You get the added benefit of counteracting stress hormones with the hormones released during exercise. Since stress is a major trigger for vertigo, this is another way that you can improve your situation.

Simply rotate your head

Sit up straight and lower your head forward to touch your chin to your chest, and then begin to rotate your head clockwise slowly three times. Repeat in the opposite direction. This can release muscle spasms and increase blood flow to the brain. 

Try the The Epley Maneuver

The Epley Maneuver can be a successful approach when you are experiencing positional vertigo. While not all cases are the same, sometimes, positional vertigo is related to canlithiasis. This occurs when loose crystals in the inner ear canals (otoconia) break free from the membrane of the ear canal. When you move your head, this loose calcium crystal floats around for a few seconds, and that causes vertigo until it settles down.

The Epley Maneuver was designed to get these crystals back into the right position faster. This lessens the amount of time that vertigo occurs. Also, if the problem was a crystal that moved to the wrong location, resetting it may stop your bouts of vertigo altogether by getting the particle back into the correct canal.

The Semont Maneuver

Many patients seeking natural remedies for vertigo already know about the Semont Maneuver. That’s because it can potentially provide lasting vertigo relief. Essentially, it’s a technique performed by a doctor to relocate the dislodged calcium crystals. Here's how Semont Maneuver works:

  • It would help if you sat straight on the bed so your doctor could turn your head towards the position that triggers an episode.
  • Then, your doctor will quickly lower your body to the side and hold that position for up to 20 seconds. This movement tends to replicate a vertigo attack. So, you might feel nauseous during the process.
  • Your doctor will then bring you back to the sitting position before lowering you to the other side. Similar to the previous step, you will need to hold your position for around 20 seconds.
  • After completing the two movements, your doctor will help you sit and return to your original position.

Do take note that it’s essential to perform the Semont Maneuver with a doctor or therapist. That’s because you need to have ample support when moving your body and your head. You should also consult with your doctor if you have difficulty moving your neck because this might cause further problems when you begin your therapy.

Massage your head

Using an essential oil like lavender and massaging your scalp can do much to calm vertigo. This improves blood circulation, relaxes you, and helps to reduce stress.

Stand up straight

Posture can play a vital role in combating a commonly overlooked vertigo cause. When the neck is out of alignment, it can create circumstances in the body that allow vertigo to recur. Therefore, proper posture is vital to keep any existing misalignment from worsening and prevent unnecessary wear and tear that can cause future misalignments.

A Closer Look at Neck Misalignment and Why Your Posture Matters in Maintaining Good Health

As we mentioned earlier, neck misalignment can impact various important body functions. More often than not. it stems from a long history of head and neck trauma as well as poor posture. Have you hurt your head or neck several years ago? Do you notice changes in your gait? Does your shoulder or hips feel a bit unlevelled? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you might find it extra helpful to explore Upper Cervical Care. A quick consultation will help you assess if you have misalignment in the Upper Cervical Spine or the atlas and axis bones.

Atlas Misalignment Doesn't Go Away on Its Own and Can Often Trigger Several Issues

Unknown to many, a seemingly simple misalignment along the topmost section of the spine can trigger a plethora of health issues besides balance problems or spinning sensations. Here's a quick overview of these things:

  • Impaired Blood flow – We have already mentioned the importance of blood flow several times in our discussion. What role do the top bones in the neck play when it comes to getting blood to the head? The cervical vertebrae have loops of bone called the vertebral foramen. These loops of bone provide safe passage for the arteries that bring blood to the head. Misalignments can inhibit this free flow of blood. As a result, the ears or brain may not receive optimal blood flow. This is one of the factors that can contribute to vertigo recurrence.
  • Brainstem function – Another thing to consider is the proper function of the brainstem. Since signals regarding balance and spatial orientation have to pass through here on the way to the brain, you don’t want anything disturbing those signals. However, a misaligned atlas (C1) can do just that by putting pressure on the brainstem. This is because the atlas surrounds and protects the brainstem. However, the slightest misalignment can have adverse effects instead of providing protection. This is a second situation that can lead to vertigo.
  • Ear function – A misaligned upper cervical spine can also affect the ears. When the atlas is misaligned, it throws off the balance of the head. The body compensates by making changes to keep the head properly balanced. However, these changes to the surrounding soft tissue can affect the eustachian tubes. If this occurs, the ears may fail to drain properly. Excess fluid in the inner ear is one of the fastest ways to end up seeing the room spinning.

How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Helps Vertigo

As you can now clearly see, there is evidence that an upper cervical misalignment can be the unknown underlying cause of a person’s vertigo. How can you rectify the situation? Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a subspecialty that is designed to detect misalignments of the top bones in the neck precisely and to provide safe and gentle corrections. Many patients find that when the upper cervical misalignment is corrected, vertigo grows less severe or even goes away completely.

If you have been suffering from vertigo and you prefer natural and non-invasive remedies, Upper Cervical Care may be a way to find natural relief. Contact an Upper Cervical Chiropractor in your city today to learn more. A no-obligation consultation may be your first step toward meeting your health and wellness goals, including getting control over a recurring vertigo issue. The search feature on this website can help you to find a preferred doctor in your area.

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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.