Treating Vertigo Yourself: Is it a Good Idea?

Many people who experience the symptoms of vertigo or dizziness go to the doctor for care. Sometimes the doctor or nurse will give you an exercise sheet and suggest for you to try treating vertigo yourself.

Other times, patients will search online to find videos that demonstrate vertigo treatments and try them at home.

Whether you were given a handout by a doctor or you found a video online showing exercises, you may face some problems with treating vertigo yourself.

If you are considering treating vertigo yourself, this blog explores eight common pitfalls that you may face.

Lack of Proper Root Cause Evaluation

If the exercise that you happen to try works, then consider yourself lucky! There are many root causes of vertigo and the most common treatment exercises only treat one type of vertigo.

The treatment must be specific to the root cause for it to work.

Lack of Proper Technique

If you try treating vertigo yourself, chances are that you won’t really be sure what you are doing. You won’t really know if you are doing the treatment correctly.

Even if you are sure what to do when you start, you may forget what to do once you begin to spin or get disoriented during the treatment.

There are a lot of details to master with effective vertigo treatments, such a proper angles and timing protocols.

The technique must be correct for it to work.

If you do not know what you are doing, there are a lot of ways that you can mess up the maneuvers.

Sadly, some people I have met or spoken to by phone have actually made themselves much worse trying to treat themselves due to a lack of proper technique.

Bad Information

Many of my patients have shown me handouts or videos that they tried using before I worked with them. I often wonder where the authors got that bad information.

Sometimes the videos or handouts are simply incorrect.

The information must be accurate for the treatment to work.

Panic Attack

I have treated a number of patients who stated that they had a panic attack while they were trying to treat themselves for vertigo.

This is a terrible experience that I would not wish on anyone.

It is important to stay calm in order to get through the treatment. This may be easier to do with a skilled physical therapist guiding you through instead of treating vertigo yourself.

Make Yourself Feel Worse

Some people actually make themselves feel worse. This may occur because the exercise was ineffective. You may aggravate your vertigo condition by doing the exercises improperly.

You may get halfway through a treatment and lose track of what you are supposed to do next.

Cause Another Injury

You may also feel worse after treating yourself for vertigo because you caused other problems to occur.

For example, you can injure your neck if you do the exercises incorrectly.

I had one patient who injured her knee trying to treat herself for vertigo.

Make Your Case More Complicated

Sometimes it’s almost harder for me to treat someone if they have already tried to treat themselves.

There are certain problems that I can anticipate finding after the patient describes to me what they attempted on their own.

By treating yourself for vertigo, you may have taken what might have been a simple case and made it complicated.

Your case becoming more complicated can happen through unexpected consequences of trying to treat yourself.

I don’t recommend it.

In fact, I recommend against treating vertigo yourself.

I think that people need to get a root cause evaluation first and foremost

Once we know what the cause is, then we can discuss if it is appropriate treating vertigo yourself or not. In most cases it’s not appropriate unless someone has had it multiple times and it is always the same cause.

Consult a Vertigo Professional

Besides treating vertigo yourself, it is also a good time to see a specialist if it is causing you problems in your life.

Everybody gets a little dizzy here and there. For example, if it is hot out and you’ve been at the beach all day sweating without drinking enough water.

Everyone gets occasional dizziness. That’s a normal part of life.

If it is a persistent issue that is causing you to not be able to do the things that you want to do, then it is time to seek professional help.

Or if it is causing you to be afraid of when the next episode is going to hit you, then it is time for a vertigo professional.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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