The symptoms of vertigo can be much more severe than your average dizzy spell. In fact, while we all get dizzy, only one in every 1,000 people endures an episode of true vertigo each year. Healthcare professionals know it as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and it affects people over 40 much more often than younger age groups.
Vertigo often sets in while lying down in bed, and the spinning it initially causes can be more than a little disorienting. On top of not really being able to move without setting it off (sometimes for days), it can make sufferers sweaty, nauseous, and quite anxious.
The cause of vertigo is typically an inner ear problem, although migraines and medications can be triggers as well. In rarer cases, it can be a sign of a more serious problems, so frequent bouts of vertigo are a sign you should see your doctor. Those who have sought treatment from a doctor may be familiar with the Epley Maneuver, a simple exercise wherein the patient turns their head 45 degrees while sitting and lying down.
However, those who have tried Epley to mixed results might be interested to know that there’s a new kid in the block – the Foster Maneuver, invented by Dr. Carol Foster.
Foster isn’t just a doctor; she’s experienced vertigo herself. That’s why she developed a technique to help end spells quickly. Her half somersault technique is much different than the widely-practiced Epley, but users swear it provides lasting relief.
Anyone who knows what vertigo is like knows that doing moves like this causes an immediate spike in discomfort, but it’s worth it in the end. To begin, sit on your knees and bring the head down and forward, placing the very top of your head on the floor in a half-somersault position.
Then, you turn your head toward your left elbow. As soon as the worst of the dizziness subsides, you lift your head so that you’re back on all fours, with your head and neck in line with your back. Wait for the dizziness to wane, and abruptly sit back up on your knees and lift your chin.
“That causes the particles to leave the semi-circular canal,” Dr. Foster explains, referencing the way so much vertigo occurs – when tiny crystals move to sensing tubes in the inner ear.
The Foster Maneuver is still in the process of catching on, but study results look promising. Patients participating in a study reported Dr. Foster’s technique was more effective than other common techniques.