What Causes Vertigo While Working Out?


Experiencing vertigo while exercising is never fun to have. Vertigo is just a false feeling of movement. It usually involves a spinning sensation even when you are not moving at all. A person having a vertigo attack often has to deal with sickness, nausea, dizziness, and loss of balance. These symptoms may last for a few moments or be ongoing for several weeks.

Vertigo is also the cause of head injuries and broken bones for many people over 55 years old. Doctors don’t have a permanent solution for vertigo. They can prescribe medication to exertional vertigo patients. However, these only target the symptoms, and their effects are temporary and may bring dangerous side effects.

What Causes Vertigo?

Before we get into the cause of exercise-induced vertigo, let us explain more about vertigo. Vertigo has various roots and categories. It could be from an inner ear infection or a virus. It could be Ménière’s disease or some other conditions that might require surgery.

The number one cause of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is a mechanical problem in the inner ear. The symptoms are short bursts of vertigo attacks when you make a particular or sudden head movement.

BPPV usually comes about when calcium crystals in your inner ear break free and fall into the semicircular canal. These crystals are what give you a sense of balance because they sense gravity. So when they fall into the wrong part of your inner ear, your brain proceeds to think that you are moving even when you are not.

Specific exercises can cause dizziness and vertigo attacks, whereas other movements (like the Epley maneuver) can help treat them. 

Why Does Working Out Induce Vertigo?

Exercise is excellent for the body. There is no denying the benefits of staying fit. Regular exercise can help you get healthier and more energetic. It relieves stress and keeps your heart pumping strong too. 

Specific workouts, unfortunately, can cause positional vertigo. Many individuals experience BPPV when they regularly do exercises involving severe and sudden head movements. Most people experience vertigo because the inner ear crystals are not attached to anything, and they can move freely inside the ear. When the head gets shaken vigorously, it can cause the crystals in the ear to move out of place. Therefore, working out with vertigo can be very harmful to your physical and mental health

Movements and Exercises That Can Cause Positional Vertigo

  • Placing your head in an upside-down position
  • Moving your head enthusiastically in the vertical plane
  • Sudden head movements on the ground and then sitting up quickly again
  • Some yoga maneuvers wherein you put your head below the legs
  • Some Pilates movements involving sudden head shaking and upside-down movements
  • Swimming as the constant turning of your head in the water also causes the ear crystals to move

What to Do When You Experience Vertigo During Exercise

If you have positional vertigo and suddenly experience an attack in the middle of the workout, your best option is to do the Epley maneuver. After that, never put your head back down again. 

If you are not feeling well, take a break from your workout. Don’t push your body if you are ill. This precaution is to prevent the risk of injuries. If you are not sure what you are experiencing, or you have never felt what positional vertigo feels like, then it’s best to listen to your body’s signals. Rest, and keep your head upright. Then, consult a health or medical professional for advice.

Epley Maneuver for BPPV

The good thing about BPPV is that it can be treatable with the right exercise such as Epley maneuver. It is a sequence of specific movements involving head rotations. Its objective is to move the ear crystals back to where they should belong. It’s completely safe and effective and treats positional vertigo without the need for any medication.

If the Epley maneuver does not work, you should consult with your doctor for other available treatments. Doing any vertigo exercise will make you feel dizzy until the procedure gets done thoroughly. 

To remove and crystals that got stuck in the wrong part of the ear, you will be forced to feel vertigo as these crystals go all the way and around your inner ear and then back to their original place. You may feel spinning sensation during the Epley maneuver. However, once you get all those crystals out and back to their correct place, it would be the last spinning you would feel.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Can Reverse BPPV

Upper cervical chiropractic is an option that provides a natural, effective, precise, and long-lasting way to deal with BPPV or positional vertigo. Research proved that there is a secure connection between BPPV and neck or head injury and trauma. This link explains why there are people with BPPV, and having a history of head or neck damage increases one’s likelihood of a long-term condition.

Upper cervical chiropractic care has proven for many years that it can effectively address these concerns naturally without the need for any medication or surgery.

A case study observed a 33-year-old woman with BPPV. The Epley maneuver did not work for her, and she refused to take medication because she was nursing her child. After she received upper cervical chiropractic care, she experienced improvements in her BPPV symptoms. 

Do you also want to experience significant and complete vertigo relief? Start searching for an upper cervical chiropractor within your area. Use our site's search function to help you in your hunt.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Exercise Trigger Vertigo?

Exercise can trigger or exacerbate vertigo in some individuals, particularly if the exercise involves rapid head movements or intense physical activity. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional if you experience vertigo during exercise to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate guidance.

Can Working Out Cause Vertigo?

Working out, especially if it involves strenuous or vigorous activities, can potentially cause or worsen vertigo in susceptible individuals. The type and intensity of exercise, as well as an individual's overall health, can play a role in triggering vertigo.

Can Lifting Weights Cause Vertigo?

Lifting weights, especially when done improperly or with improper breathing techniques, can increase the risk of experiencing vertigo, particularly in those with underlying vestibular or balance issues. Proper form and technique are essential when engaging in weightlifting to reduce the risk of vertigo.

What Activities Make Vertigo Worse?

Activities that can make vertigo worse include sudden head movements, intense physical exertion, exposure to extreme visual stimuli (such as bright lights or rapid motion), and activities that disrupt the body's sense of balance, like certain sports or exercises. The specific triggers may vary from person to person.

 Is Walking Good For Vertigo?

Walking at a moderate pace on stable ground can be beneficial for individuals with certain types of vertigo. It can help improve balance and reduce symptoms in some cases. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations, as the effectiveness of walking may vary depending on the underlying cause of vertigo.

Does Exercise Make Vertigo Worse?

Exercise can make vertigo worse in some cases, particularly if it involves movements or activities that disrupt the body's balance or vestibular system. However, not all forms of exercise will worsen vertigo, and tailored exercise programs may be recommended by healthcare professionals to help manage certain types of vertigo.

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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.