Dizzy,  Meniere's Disease,  Vertigo,  Vestibular Migraine

Dizziness Relief Tips: Advice from Vestibular Patients

Dizziness relief is something we all need because one of the hardest parts about living with a vestibular disorder is dealing with daily dizziness. For starters, it’s a terribly unpleasant and unsettling sensation. Feeling it daily is exhausting more than most people know. Because our brains use so much energy in attempting to compensate for dizziness. ‘Dizzy’ is also an all-encompassing word to describe the many types of symptoms we experience. Our dizziness can include general imbalance, rocking and swaying, dropping and bouncing sensations or full on whirling vertigo.

With that line up of dizzy symptoms it’s important to have an arsenal of treatment options ready to bring you relief. So when you’re feeling your worst, they’ll be easy to reach for. So let’s get right into the strategies and treatments. I polled members of the Migraine Strong facebook group to ask them about the strategies they use for dizziness relief. Here’s what they said…

First Protect Yourself and Others

If you are having a symptomatic day do not drive. This might sound silly to mention, but the reality is we have obligations and we don’t enjoy letting people down. We are expected to be at work, pick our kids up from school or visit with friends in need etc. We want to be there to show up for people. But, if you’re having a bad day you must accept it, stay home and do what you need to do to feel better.

A Few Dizziness Relief Tips to Use During Attacks

  • Hold on to something- This happens intuitively and it has purpose. Your brain uses lots of information to determine where you are in space. Holding on to something will help you feel anchored.
  • Put as much of your body in contact with a surface as possible. My doctor told me to sit in a chair with my back against it, palms down on your thighs and feet firmly on the floor. I have found that I prefer to sit on the floor with my back against a wall. Whatever your preference, the goal here is to provide your brain with as much information as possible to determine where you are in space. Surface contact helps your brain realize that you’re not actually moving.
  • Look for horizontal lines- Since our brains are also dependent on our eyes to tell us where we are in space, focus on a stable, horizontal or vertical line off in the distance and hold your gaze there. I often feel vertigo spins while sleeping in bed. I open my eyes and look at the frame above my bedroom door and they stop. Focusing on a fixed horizontal or vertical point sends information to your brain that you’re stable and helps the spinning to stop.
  • Take deep slow breaths- Focus on filling your tummy with air rather than your chest. Allow your lungs to fill from the bottom upward as you breathe in. Count slowly to seven as you take deep breaths in and slowly exhale counting to seven as you let your air out. Deep breathing is going to help you calm down and fill your body with the oxygen it needs to regulate.

Supplements for Dizziness Relief

  • Magnesium- Magnesium glycinate is naturally calming and will help to calm down your dizzy brain. I use Pure Encapsulations brand because it’s clean, high quality and free from migraine triggers. I’ve been saying for years that there is something special about transdermal magnesium in the form of chloride flakes. In his new book Victory Over Vestibular Migraine, doctor Beh agreed. He says magnesium chloride is more highly absorbable than magnesium sulfate otherwise known as Epsom salts. To help provide dizziness relief I use Life Flo magnesium chloride flakes. Throw a handful into a warming foot spa and soak your feet for about an hour each evening before bed. Bathing in them is helpful too. Just remember to rinse your toe nails after you’re finished because repeated magnesium soakings can dry them out.
  • Ginger- Ginger not only fights dizziness, it fights vertigo as well. In one small study ginger was as effective as the motion sickness medication Dramamine in reducing motion sensitivity and dizziness. In fact there is a supplement called Dizzy Stop and it’s just ginger. I take one capsule of Gaia Herbs Ginger Supreme daily with lunch. I like Pure Encapsulations ginger capsules as well. It’s definitely been a heavy lifter in kicking out daily dizziness for me personally. You can try any form that appeals to you. Whether it’s taking a supplement like I do, drinking ginger tea, adding powder or fresh ginger to your diet. Because it’s also healthy overall, this is one everyone should consider trying to see if it helps your symptoms improve. Use caution if you’re on blood thinners as it can also thin the blood. [1]
  • Ginkgo Biloba- Ginkgo biloba might be effective in relieving symptoms of not only dizziness, but like ginger, it treats vertigo as well. It works by increasing blood flow to the brain which might help relieve dizziness and balance issues. One study showed it to be as effective as betahistine in treating vertigo. [2] I also use Pure Encapsulations brand here as well.

Diet for Dizziness Relief

  • Heal Your Headache- When you have vestibular migraine following a migraine elimination diet can bring you dizziness relief. The Heal Your Headache diet helped me pinpoint some of the foods that were contributing to my daily symptoms such as molasses. When I stopped eating molasses my daily rocking and swaying ended. I would have never figured that out with eliminating and trialing foods as recommended in Dr. Buchholz’s popular book.
  • CATS Diets- For those with Meniere’s Disease consider the CATS diet. CATS is an acronym for Caffeine, Alcohol, Tobacco and Salt. Eliminating them can help to reduce the volume of fluid in the inner ear thus reducing or relieving your daily dizzy symptoms.
  • Hydration- Staying hydrated can help minimize dizziness and balance issues. Hydration is actually the first line of treatment for Meniere’s disease in Eastern medicine. It’s easy to get dangerously dehydrated when your nauseous and vomiting due to daily dizziness. To help combat this, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Fizzy water like Perrier or Pellegrino with a splash of clean juice like RW Knudsen Tart Cherry juice is my favorite way to settle my queasy stomach. If you do get dangerously dehydrated & just can’t keep fluids down, go to the ER for IV fluids if necessary.

Medication for Dizziness Relief

  • Prescription Medication- Benzodiazepines are vestibular suppressants and are very effective medications prescribed by your doctor to dampen dizziness. Some people worry that taking vestibular suppressants will prevent their brain from compensating from daily dizziness. But when used low dose and short term, popular US dizzy doctor Timothy Hain hasn’t found that to be true. [3] I personally feel like every vestibular patient needs a rescue drug to reach for on the worst days. We don’t have to suffer through our dizzy attacks. Your doctor can also prescribe suppositories to ease nausea and vomiting or a Scopolamine patch to be used short term. Compazine, Reglan or Phenergan are often prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting as well. I wrote this blog packed with tips for nausea relief. I hope it helps you if you’re experiencing nausea with your dizziness.
  • Over The Counter Medication- Many Migraine Strong members mentioned using medications such as meclizine sold as Dramamine or Bonine. They also like antihistamine’s like Zytec, Benadryl or Flonase nasal spray. You can also obtain Meclizine by prescription from your doctor.

Natural Treatments

  • Essential oils- Essential oils are a great natural treatment to help ease the unsettling feeling of vertigo and dizziness. Peppermint, lavender, ginger and lemon are commonly recommended. A few drops can be placed into a diffuser to be inhaled through a subtle soothing scent in the air. Others can be applied directly to the body like Divertigo, Migrasoothe, VertigoX and VertigoEase which are refreshing and calming.
  • Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but without the needles.  Try pressure point wrist bands like Sea Bands or Blisslets nausea relief bracelets. These work by delivering pressure through an inner bead embedded in their comfortable elastic band. This bead places pressure on the P6 point located between the two central tendons below the wrist. I prefer Blisslets because they’re so pretty no one even knows they’re a dizzy treatment. They make styles for men and women and you can save 15% with promo code migrainestrong.
  • Weighted eye mask- Again these work by sending grounding signals to your brain. They also visually block out spinning so you can’t see it. This is a must have for anyone with true vertigo because blocking out the visual spin helps to lessen the vomiting that follows. I use this face mask from Huggaroo which includes a removable ice pack.

Movement for Dizziness Relief

  • Vestibular Rehab Therapy- VRT can teach you exercise specifically designed to help your brain learn to compensate for dizziness. You don’t have to attend therapy to see benefits. Depending on your capabilities consider using an elliptical machine or stationary bike. Walking, yoga or balance strengthening exercise at home are also helpful. Moving daily is key to overcoming daily dizziness.
  • Cool down- I don’t know why, but the moment dizziness hits I get so hot! Like seriously drenched in sweat, burning hot! I keep cold products on hand like Flexible ice packs to drape across my neck and a cell phone fan I can quickly plug into my phone. Somehow moving air helps. The cold product brands I reach for most include Huggaroo’s cold face mask and Koldtec’s Halo and ice towel.

Dizziness Relief to Avoid

What you should not attempt by yourself at home is the Epley maneuver or other maneuvers like it. The Epley is specifically meant to move loose crystals back into position for people who are experiencing BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). Dizziness felt in vestibular migraine stems from your brain, not your ears. So maneuvers like the Epley are not effective for us. Not only that, it can be dangerous. If you have BPPV and don’t perform the maneuver properly, crystals can get stuck in an ear canal causing constant spinning vertigo. It’s always best to have procedures like this performed by a trained medical professional.

One Final Note

I can’t leave you without mentioning one important side note. Beloved dizzy Dr. Hain reports the average age of his patients is about 50 years old. This is right around the age of menopause or perimenopause. If you have an increase in dizzy symptoms around mid life it may be tied to fluctuating hormones. Read Danielle’s article for loads of information on this topic.

This post contains affiliate links.

[1]- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3537898/

[2]- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10345150/

[3]- https://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/treatment/drug/benzodiazepines%20in%20vertigo.html

Dizziness Relief Tips: Advice from Vestibular Patients

I was diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine in 2016 and my neurotologist added a Ménière’s Disease mild diagnosis in 2018. I went from being housebound for months to working full time and living an active full life by following the Migraine Strong treatment pie. Preventive medications, the Heal Your Headache Diet and supplements do a lot of the heavy lifting in relieving my symptoms. You can also find me over on The Dizzy Cook blog baking yummy head safe goodies on a guest post each month.

10 Comments

  • Mary

    Thank you, I could cry. Your input and help keeps me from losing hope that I will be able to get this dizziness under control.

    • Migraine Strong

      Awwwww Mary,
      Never lose hope! You can recover from daily dizziness, I promise. Keep working your treatment plan. Progress is slow, but it DOES happen. Hang in there and do your best to keep yourself in a positive mindset as you recover, and know you WILL recover. Know it with everything you have.
      Love and hugs,
      Jenn

  • Catherine Tyler

    Thank you so much for putting all this valuable information together. I can see a few new things to try, which is encouraging.
    I haven’t left my house much since February when I had a giddy attack when I was out at an exhibition. I fell and suffered a bad head injury and am still suffering from post concussion. My giddiness seems to be worse when I’m tired – I guess my brain cannot cope with keeping me upright. Other factors like bright lights and loud noises cause havoc. I have changed my diet completely which is helping. I’m wondering if you think that the concussion may have caused my vestibular problems- many that I didn’t suffer from before?

    • Migraine Strong

      Thanks you for your thoughtful comment…and for your comment in the vestibular group as well. Some people do experience vestibular migraine and other vestibular disorders like Meniere’s disease after a head trauma. Have you seen a neurologist or neuro-tologist for diagnosis? Also search this site for my recovery plan. It will give you a better idea of all of the treatments I use to feel my best. Keep working your treatment plan. Regardless of your root cause, I 100% feel you can improve and feel better!
      Best,
      Jenn

  • Fran

    Thank you this is such a helpful blog I feel like I need to read it daily to remind myself I can take back control rather than letting it control me!

  • Kristen

    Hi Jenn, thank you for this article! I’ve been struggling to find ways to relieve my symptoms. I’m definitely interested in trying ginger. How did you know how much to take? Thanks! Kristen

    • Migraine Strong

      Hi Kristen,
      My favorite is Gaia Herbs Ginger Supreme and Pure Encapsulations Ginger capsules. I follow the dose recommendations on the bottle for both.
      Best,
      Jenn

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