Treatment of vertigo is dependent upon the underlying cause of the vertigo. General forms of treatment can be categorized into canal repositioning manoeuvers, dietary adjustments, medications, vestibular rehabilitation exercises, and surgery.
Canal Repositioning Manoeuvers
In cases of vertigo where the cause is determined to be an otoconia that has settled in one of the semicircular canals, such as with BPPV, canal repositioning manoeuvers are often successful in eliminating or decreasing symptoms. During these manoeuvers the head and trunk is moved in an specific way in order to reposition the displaced particles. Repositioning the particles stops the false signals being sent to the brain regarding head position and therefore eliminates the vertigo. Success of these procedures may depend, however, on where the otoconia are located in each specific case. The two main manoeuvers used are the Epley Manoeuver and the Semont-Liberatory manoeuver. A healthcare professional trained specifically in these manoeuvers should administer them in order to get the most effective results.
Dietary adjustments may assist in decreasing vertigo depending on the original cause of the vertigo. For migraine sufferers, specific foods or drinks can bring on the headaches and associated symptoms therefore limiting these items can potentially decrease symptoms. For those suffering from Meniere’s disease, a change in the body’s fluid levels can affect the physiology of the disease process in the inner ear. For this reason monitoring one’s body fluids may make a difference to the overall symptoms including vertigo. Other substances such as food or medication that indirectly affect fluid loss or absorption should also be monitored.
A thorough discussion with your doctor and/or a dietician about your specific symptoms and situation can help you make any possible dietary adjustments to decrease your vertigo.
Some medications may assist in dealing with your symptoms or may be required to deal with the initial cause of your vertigo ie: an inner ear infection. Your doctor can discuss your specific situation with you and decide whether there are any medications that may be useful in decreasing your vertigo or any secondary symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Exercises
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is a set of exercises designed specifically for you by a physiotherapist that encourage the brain and spinal cord to compensate for any deficits that may be present due to inner ear disease or abnormality.
Patients with vestibular problems often stop relying on the signals coming from the inner ear because their brain has learned that they may not be a true representation of their balance and equilibrium. Patients often start to rely more on the input from their eyes as well as the proprioceptive input from their muscles and joints. In relying more on the eyes and muscles and joints patients frequently overcompensate and develop abnormal head or body movements in order to avoid the movements that bring on their symptoms. VRT addresses these compensatory patterns and works to desensitize the patient’s vestibular system so the patient can decrease or eliminate their vertigo and start moving normally again.