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Physical Therapy for Vertigo – Information, Exercises, and More

You’re dizzy. 

Maybe the room is spinning. Maybe you feel like you are spinning.

It’s enough to make you feel miserable.

Vertigo can be extremely difficult to manage and live with. But you don’t have to accept it as a regular part of your life.

We can show you treatment options to get you back on your feet and back to life.

What is Vertigo?

There are several definitions for vertigo, but it is most commonly described as the sensation of moving when you are actually not moving or of objects around you moving when they are not.

What Causes Vertigo?

Vertigo can be induced by a number of factors, including:

  • Use or exposure to certain toxic substances
  • BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo)
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Migraines
  • Brain injury or trauma

Your doctor can help you get to the root of your vertigo symptoms.

Toxin Exposure

Some toxins have a negative effect on the vestibular system.

These substances, like alcohol and some drugs, can cause vertigo.


Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo, or BPPV for short, is one of the most common causes, or types, of vertigo.

This condition occurs when a sudden change in the position of the head triggers a feeling of spinning or dizziness.

BPPV is often a milder type of vertigo. Physical therapy treatment is often prescribed.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s Disease is a disorder that usually affects one ear and causes symptoms like:

  • Vertigo
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Ears feeling like they are full of water
  • Loss of hearing

This is caused by fluid build-up in the inner ear and mostly affects adults over the age of 40.


There is a condition called vestibular neuritis, better known as labyrinthitis, that can cause vertigo.

Labyrinthitis affects the part of the ear called the labyrinth. This part of your ear tells your brain when you are changing direction or position.

When the labyrinth becomes inflamed from a virus or injury, you can experience symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Trouble focusing your eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The causes of labyrinthitis are not always clear. The symptoms can be debilitating.


There are several types of migraines, but one, in particular, is known to cause vertigo.

Vestibular migraines can cause a variety of symptoms, including (but not limited to):

  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Poor balance
  • Feeling like you are spinning
  • Challenges using speech/language
  • Sense of disorientation

Most patients experience these symptoms as an aura before the migraine. 

Other types of migraines can also cause vertigo.

Brain Injury or Trauma

Doctors have found that some patients with Traumatic Brain Injury may develop vertigo.

Some causes of brain trauma that may result in vertigo:

  • Damage to the vestibular system
  • Damage to the central nervous system
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Concussion
  • Stroke

More studies are being done to determine exactly how these traumas affect the brain. New treatments are also being explored.

Vertigo Symptoms

Most patients with vertigo complain that they feel like they are spinning, or objects around them are moving.

This positional disorientation can be frustrating and make life more difficult.


If you have vertigo, you probably know all about dizziness.

Vertigo is the most common cause of dizziness. It can be debilitating, frustrating, and even dangerous.

Patients, like you, may experience varying degrees of dizziness, from mild to severe.

Your doctor should help you understand your symptoms and limitations.


When you feel like you are constantly spinning, it can make you feel nauseated. 

Nausea is a common symptom of vertigo. It can increase the feelings of frustration that often accompany vertigo.


Some vertigo patients end up vomiting because of the condition. 

Persistent dizziness can give you motion sickness.

If you are vomiting because of vertigo, your doctor should monitor your symptoms to ensure you do not become dehydrated.


Headaches can be an unfortunate symptom of vertigo.

As if it’s not bad enough that you are dizzy, now your head hurts, too.

Headaches can be a factor if your ears feel full or you are having trouble focusing your eyes.

Vertigo Treatment

Many people think there is nothing you can do about vertigo, but that’s not true.

There are several treatment options available, including:

  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Physical Therapy

You and your doctor can discuss a treatment plan that best fits you and your symptoms.


There are over-the-counter medications you can take to help with the symptoms of vertigo.

These medicines, including dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and meclizine (Bonine), are available at most pharmacies and retailers.

They may be able to help you feel better, especially if you are experiencing feelings of motion sickness from vertigo.


In some cases, surgery is the best treatment option for vertigo.

If you have damage to the vestibular systems or standard treatment is not helping, your doctor may recommend surgery.

There are several different types of surgery for vertigo. The cause of your vertigo will determine which surgery you may need.

Vertigo Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

If you haven’t considered treating vertigo with physical therapy, you should.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy, like those at In Motion O.C., can help with your treatment for vertigo. Physical therapy is commonly prescribed to help patients restore balance and improve function.

When you use physical therapy for vertigo and balance, you take a whole-body approach to the problem.

Talk to your provider to find out if physical therapy is the right treatment option for you.

Best Vertigo Exercises

Physical therapy exercises may be able to help reduce your symptoms and improve your balance.

Your symptoms and causes are unique to you. Talk to a Doctor of Physical Therapy to develop a treatment plan that focuses on your individual needs.

Below, we will cover a few exercises a Doctor of Physical Therapy might recommend as part of your treatment plan.

Gaze Stabilization Exercises

Gaze stabilization exercises can help to minimize the dizzying effects of moving your head if you have vertigo.

These exercises may improve your vestibular function. 

Your physical therapist can guide you through these gentle movements that are designed to increase visual focus and reduce motion sickness from vertigo.

Canalith Repositioning Procedures

Canalith Repositioning Procedures (CRPs) are mainly used to treat BPPV.

The two types of CRPs are:

Both of these exercises are meant to reposition crystals in the inner ear that affect balance.

Brandt-Daroff Exercises

Conditioning the body to become balanced and comfortable in the position that is causing vertigo is the goal of Brandt-Daroff exercises.

Commonly used to treat BPPV, which usually only affects one ear, the Brandt-Daroff exercises help your body grow accustomed to movement on that side of the head.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Vertigo

If you’re wondering how you can connect with an excellent physical therapist, the answer is simple: call In Motion O.C. 

As the number one rated physical therapy clinic on Yelp! and Google, we strive to be the very best for our patients.

Our highly professional and caring staff will take care of you and treat you like family. We pride ourselves on giving the highest quality of care. 

Our staff can give you the attention and personalized approach you deserve.

We have treated thousands of patients, just like you, who want relief from their vertigo. 

*This information about physical therapy for vertigo was reviewed by Dr Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

In Motion O.C.