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Vertigo Treatment Exercises

Loosening Up My Pectoral Muscles and Balancing My Muscles Stopped My Vertigo


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Also see Part 1 - My Experience with Vertigo


Overview

I have had vertigo, along with symptoms of being dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous on and off now for several years. My most recent episodes have been very brief as I realize now that I only get the spinning and dizziness symptoms when diet is off kilter and my left chest muscles get too tight. I have mild scoliosis with one shoulder a little higher and tighter than the other, and my left side is the side the vertigo seems to emanate from. I also have had thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) on my left side. My symptoms reoccur whenever I don't do my TOS stretches regularly or spend too much time on the computer.

spinning amusement park ride
  Having vertigo is like being on an ammusement park ride, only you never even have to get out of bed to experience the same spinning sensation.


Stretches and yoga poses that loosen up my left shoulder alleviate the vertigo symptoms. Also, eating more magnesium rich foods, eating more alkaline foods and taking small amounts of Milk of Magnesia also help. (The diet changes that helped are outlined more in Part 1.)

One other thing I found out was that when I had the vertigo, I most likely also had iron deficiency anemia. Once my anemia was corrected with iron pills, my episodes of spinning and dizziness abated quite a bit. I think this is in part because anemia cause an increase in platelet count, which decrease circulation. So I suspect one of the bottom line issues was poor circulation, either from increased platelet count or from tight muscles. I think both cause reduced blood flow to my brain.


What Activities Make My Symptoms Worse?

shopping cart
  This shopping cart looks innocent enough, but pushing it when it is filled with heavy cans and other groceries, it can tighten pectoral muscles.

Basically, any movements that exacerbate my preexisting body alignment issues, especially ones that tighten my left shoulder and pectoral muscles make my symptoms worse, including
:

1. Working on the computer.

2. Pushing a shopping cart, especially one filled with groceries.

3. Raising my left arm up over my head.

4. Driving.

5. Any other kind of exercise that tightens up my left shoulder area. Basically anything where my left arm is out in front of me or up high makes me worse. Anything where I gently stretch my left arm back behind me or lower makes me better. I can bring on the dizziness and stop it just by changing my arm positions.


What Activities Make My Vertigo Symptoms Better?

Please note that these are the exercises that I personally find helpful. They may not be appropriate for everyone. Check with you doctor if you have any medical concerns to make sure these exercises are appropriate for you and your particular medical issues.

1. Legs Up the Wall While Lying on Bed, Left Arm Hanging over Side of Bed. This is the #1 stretch that helps my vertigo. To do exercise I lay on my bed with both of my feet up the wall and my left arm hanging over the side of the bed. This stretches out my legs and left pectoral muscles at the same time. I stretch my right arm flat out on the bed above my head. I don't have a headboard on my bed so I can do this easily. If you don't have a bed without a headboard you could try laying on a yoga bolster or sofa cushions placed on the floor. The key concept is that you want to be able to stretch your legs up the wall while at the same time stretching your arm out to the side and letting it hang. This way you get a full body stretch from your ankles through your arm. What also helped me was holding a small weight in the hand that was hanging. It helped to increase the stretch.

2. It also helps me just to lay on a sofa on my back and let my left arm hang down over the edge. I'll do this if I'm in the living room and just want to take a few minutes to do a stretch, but the one on the bed that involves my legs, too, is the most effective stretch for me.

3. One Elbow Up, One Elbow Down - I do this yoga pose to raise my right shoulder and lower my left shoulder.

Since my problem is that my left shoulder tends to be higher than my right shoulder, this pose pulls down on my left shoulder and up on my right shoulder, bringing my body into better balance and alignment.

4. I do a sitting spinal twist yoga pose, twisting my body to the left so that my left shoulder is pulled back and my right shoulder goes forward. Normally, I have a slight thoracic twist to the right, so this pose is the counter pose that I do to correct my torso muscle imbalance. The Yoga Journal calls this pose Ardha Matsyendrasana, or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose.

Summary

If you have vertigo due to tight pectoral muscles, a thoracic twist and/or uneven shoulders like me, you may find these stretches and yoga poses helpful. Basically what I've found that works for me is corrective counter poses that help to realign my body. Since my body tends to want to twist to the right, I do yoga poses to twist to the left. My left shoulder is higher than my right, so I do yoga poses to lower my left shoulder and raise my right shoulder. Whatever alignment issues you may have, you may find it helpful to find counter poses that help to bring your muscles and posture into balance.

In my case iron deficiency anemia also played a role. If you have heavy periods or otherwise suspect you might be anemic, it is a good idea to get tested. Anemia can be determined with a simple blood test. If you wait until you have symptoms like I did, it often means that the anemia is at a fairly advanced stage. In hindsight I wish that I had been tested much earlier. Now I plan to get tested every few months to prevent this from happening again.

Most of the above exercises are based on yoga poses that can be found in the book Back Care Basics by Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D.. For help on finding how to correct your personal body alignment problems that may be contributing to your vertigo, I recommend the self help book, Structural Yoga Therapy: Adapting to the Individual.

 

 

 

Related sections of interest:

Cures for eye floaters

Nystagmus - involuntary movement of the eyes

Dislocated Lenses

Alternative treatments for tinnitus - ringing in the ears

Noise Sensitivity

Clogged Ears - Overlooked Causes

My experience and treatments for the symptoms of vertigo, nausea and cold feet

Stretches For Vertigo

 

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