Vertigo can be a really disorientating condition that stops you from getting on with even the simplest of everyday tasks.
In this article, we’re going to explain the causes and discuss some natural treatments for vertigo, osteopathy included, which can help.
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is the feeling of spinning, even when you are perfectly still.
It’s actually a symptom of other underlying issues rather than a condition in itself.
If you experience vertigo, you may also have other symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty balancing
- Hearing loss
- A feeling of fullness in your ears
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Motion sickness
- Nystagmus (where your eyes involuntarily move from side to side)
There are two types of vertigo: central and peripheral.
Central vertigo is the rarer of the two and happens when you have a condition that affects your brain, such as a stroke or an injury.
Peripheral vertigo occurs when you have a problem with your inner ear or vestibular nerve.
It can happen with disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a common inner ear condition, or labyrinthitis, which is inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear.
What causes vertigo?
There are lots of different triggers for vertigo.
With the most common type, BPPV, calcium crystals normally found in the inner ear stray from their usual location into the semicircular canals that sense where your head is positioned and help you balance.
This can trigger feelings of vertigo when you move the position of your head.
Vertigo may also be triggered by:
- Head injuries
- Low blood pressure
- Ear surgery
What’s the treatment for vertigo?
Treatment for vertigo will depend on what the cause is.
With BPPV, your healthcare provider can show you exercises that will shift the calcium crystals back into the right position.
They may also recommend medication to counter symptoms like nausea.
Can an osteopath help with vertigo?
A manual osteopath can also help with your vertigo, using hands-on manipulation to give relief.
Treatment includes special exercises to direct stray calcium crystals into the right position in your inner ear, manipulation to relieve tightness affecting the mobility of your neck and advice on how to move safely when experiencing an episode.
Manual osteopathy is both safe and effective — a review (1) of a number of studies on osteopathy and vertigo found that it reduced the frequency and severity of dizzy episodes.
Osteopath treatment for vertigo
Approved by Indira Ravaeva. Manual Osteopath. Member of National Manual Osteopathic Society and Osteopathy Australia.
1. Rehman, Y., Kirsch, J., Ying-Fang Wang, M., Ferguson, H., Bingham, J., Senger, B., Swogger, S., Johnston, R., & Snider, K. ‘Impact of osteopathic manipulative techniques on the management of dizziness caused by neuro-otologic disorders: systemic review and meta-analysis.’ Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1515/jom-2022-0119
Other references used but not quoted in the article
1. Cleveland Clinic website, ‘Vertigo,’ May 9, 2023.
2. Cleveland Clinic website, ‘Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV),’ June 16, 2022.
3. Cleveland Clinic website, ‘Labyrinthitis,’ October 27, 2021.
4. John Hopkins Medicine website, ‘Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).’