Vertigo Treatment Exercises
Loosening Up My Pectoral Muscles and Balancing My Muscles Stopped My Vertigo
Also see Part
1 - My Experience with Vertigo
||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.
||This shopping cart looks innocent enough, but pushing it when it is filled with heavy cans and other groceries, it can tighten pectoral muscles.|
1. Working on the computer.
2. Pushing a shopping cart, especially one filled with groceries.
3. Raising my left arm up over my head.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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:
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