Vertigo Management: 5 Proven Physiotherapy Strategies


What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a medical condition characterized by a false sensation of spinning or rotational movement. It often feels like you or your surroundings are moving or spinning when, in reality, they are not. Vertigo is not a standalone ailment but rather a symptom of an underlying issue within the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation. There are two types of vertigo:

  • Subjective vertigo: It refers to the sensation that you are in motion,
  • Objective vertigo: This pertains to the perception that objects or the environment surrounding you are in motion.

Causes of Vertigo

vestibular system

Understanding what causes vertigo is crucial in addressing the condition effectively. Vertigo can be triggered by various factors, including:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

    • BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo and is often associated with the displacement of small calcium crystals within the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s Disease

    • Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition of the inner ear, leading to vertigo episodes along with hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Vestibular Neuritis

    • Vestibular neuritis involves inflammation of the vestibular nerve, typically caused by viral infections.
  • Labyrinthitis

    • Similar to vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that can result in vertigo.
  • Migraines

    • Some individuals experience vestibular migraines, which manifest as vertigo during migraine attacks.
  • Medications

    • Certain medications may have vertigo as a side effect.

Symptoms of Vertigo

A range of symptoms often accompanies vertigo, will work with you to identify your main symptoms and tailor a physiotherapy program to minimize these. Symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unsteadiness
  • Sweating
  • Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Headaches
  • Felling giddy
  • Anxiety/ Panic
  • Difficulty in hearing
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Eye pain
  • Fatigue

How is Vertigo Diagnosed?

Diagnosing vertigo can vary depending on its underlying cause. Typically, healthcare professionals recommend a range of tests to precisely confirm the presence of vertigo, ensuring the most effective treatment. These tests may include:

  • Medical History

    • Understanding the patient’s medical history and the onset of symptoms is essential.
  • Physical Examination

    • A physical examination, including assessing eye movements and balance, is conducted.
  • Imaging Tests

    • In some cases, imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans may be ordered to rule out other potential causes of vertigo.
  • Vestibular Tests

    • Specialized vestibular tests can help identify specific issues within the inner ear.
  • Hallpike’s manoeuvre

    • A diagnostic test that induces temporary vertigo-like symptoms.

How Can Physiotherapy Help with Vertigo?

Physiotherapy can play a crucial role in the management and treatment of vertigo. The skilled physiotherapists at conduct comprehensive assessments and design personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific goals and requirements. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy, a subset of physiotherapy, focuses on exercises and techniques to improve balance and reduce vertigo symptoms. Physiotherapy can assist in managing vertigo through the following means:

  1. Conducting a thorough diagnosis and offering guidance on symptom management.
  2. Enhancing balance.
  3. Reduce sensations of dizziness and spinning.
  4. Reduce challenges related to walking and standing.
  5. Minimizing headaches.
  6. Reducing the frequency of vertigo episodes.

What Physiotherapy Techniques are Used to Treat Vertigo?

Vestibular rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialized form of physiotherapy designed to help individuals with vestibular disorders or vertigo problems. vestibular rehabilitation includes:

1. The Epley Manoeuvre

These maneuvers are a series of precise head and body movements designed to reposition displaced calcium crystals within the inner ear. These crystals, known as otoconia, can disrupt the normal flow of fluid in the inner ear, leading to vertigo. By guiding these crystals back to their proper place, this technique helps alleviate vertigo symptoms.

2. Gaze Stabilization Exercises

Vertigo often leads to uncontrolled eye movements, which can exacerbate dizziness. Gaze stabilization exercises focus on improving a patient’s ability to maintain a steady gaze even when their head is in motion. These exercises train the brain to compensate for abnormal eye movements, reducing the feeling of dizziness. A common gaze stabilization exercise involves fixing one’s gaze on a stationary object while moving the head slowly from side to side or up and down.

3. Balance Training

One of the primary goals of physiotherapy in vertigo treatment is to enhance balance. Balance exercises help individuals regain their equilibrium and reduce the frequency and intensity of vertigo episodes. Balance training exercises are tailored to the individual’s needs and may include activities such as standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, or using stability balls and balance boards. These exercises challenge the vestibular system, gradually improving its function and helping patients regain their equilibrium.

4. Brandt-Daroff Exercises

Brandt-Daroff exercises are a set of exercises that can help individuals adapt to vertigo symptoms, particularly those associated with BPPV. These exercises involve a series of head and body movements performed in a seated position. Over time, they can help desensitize the inner ear to positional changes, reducing the intensity and frequency of vertigo attacks.

5. Neck mobilization

Neck mobilization
Neck mobilization

Physiotherapists use manual therapy techniques to mobilize your neck, which will reduce muscular tension from your neck and upper back.


Vertigo can be a distressing condition, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, it can be managed effectively. Physiotherapy, through a variety of techniques, offers hope for those suffering from vertigo by improving balance and reducing symptoms. If you or someone you know experiences vertigo, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.


Is vertigo a common condition?

Vertigo is relatively common, affecting millions of people worldwide.

Can vertigo be a symptom of a more serious condition?

Yes, in some cases, vertigo can be a symptom of underlying health issues, and it should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Are there any home remedies for vertigo?

While there are some self-help techniques, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can stress or anxiety trigger vertigo?

Yes, stress and anxiety can exacerbate vertigo symptoms in some individuals.

Is physiotherapy the only treatment option for vertigo?

No, treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of vertigo, and a healthcare provider will determine the most suitable approach for each case.


Vertigo, Dizziness, Vestibular system, Balance disorders, Inner ear, BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), Epley maneuver, Vestibular rehabilitation, Physiotherapy for vertigo, Canalith repositioning procedures, Vestibular exercises, Balance training, Gaze stabilization exercises, Central versus peripheral vertigo, Vestibular assessment, Treatment options for vertigo, Vertigo management, Vestibular therapist, Head movements, Vertigo causes and symptoms, Vertigo exercises at home, Vertigo treatment techniques, Recovery from vertigo, Balance and mobility, Patient case studies, Vertigo prevention, Healthcare professionals for vertigo, Ear and hearing health, Patient testimonials, Quality of life improvement.

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