It’s a beautiful morning, and as you’re rubbing your sleepy eyes, you look at the clock and realize that you overslept. You sprint out of bed when suddenly you feel off balance as if the world around you had started spinning.
It’s also common for people to feel woozy in the middle of a presentation or while out shopping or attending a gathering in hot weather.
This light-headedness, unsteadiness or loss of balance, is collectively referred to as dizziness. Dehydration, low blood pressure, anxiety and hyperventilation (breathing faster than normal) are all symptoms linked to dizziness.
Causes of Dizziness
Dizziness is quite a vague term, and all of its variations are symptoms of an underlying cause, rather than being a medical condition itself. Some common triggers of dizziness include: (1)
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a mechanical problem in the inner ear that leads to a false sense that you're spinning or moving and is triggered by certain head movements
- Poor blood circulation, which results in less oxygen reaching your brain and causes light-headedness
- Low blood pressure
- Hypoglycemia, a low sugar level in your body
- Conditions like neurological disorders, anxiety, stress or anemia
- Certain medications
- Inner ear problems, such as Meniere's disease or an infection
- Hyperventilation, very shallow or rapid breathing
- Consumption of tobacco or alcohol
Symptoms of Dizziness
- False sense of your surroundings spinning or moving (vertigo)
- Feeling as if you are about to faint
- Feelings of whirling, tilting or loss of balance
- Nausea and vomiting, along with light-headedness
- Ringing noise in the ears, also known as tinnitus
These symptoms can last for a few seconds or minutes and sometimes may stretch to a number of days, depending upon the cause. (2)
Home Remedies to Treat Dizziness
Since treating dizziness involves treating the underlying cause, below are five remedies you can use at home to get rid of dizziness depending on the cause. If your dizziness persists for an extended time, consult your doctor to evaluate possible causes and determine appropriate treatment.
Method 1: Epley Maneuver
If the dizziness is caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the Epley maneuver can help get rid of dizziness in minutes. It involves a sequence of certain head and neck tilting positions that force the calcium crystal debris causing vertigo to slip into an area of the inner ear where it will no longer cause the symptoms. (1)
You can either do the exercise on your own or ask someone to help you.
Here are the steps to perform the Epley maneuver. (1)
A. Sit down on your bed. Place a pillow behind you so that when you lie down on your back, the pillow is under your shoulders, not your head.
B. Tilt your head horizontally at 45 degrees toward the affected ear.
C. Keeping your head tilted at 45 degrees, slowly lie down on your back. Hold this position for 1 to 2 minutes until the dizziness subsides. There may be twitching in your eyes, which is normal and will subside in some time.
D. Turn your head 90 degrees toward the opposite side and hold it for 30 seconds.
E. Keeping your head in the same position, turn your head and body on its side toward the unaffected ear, so that you are looking at the floor. Again, hold this position for 30 seconds.
F. Slowly sit up, but remain seated on the bed for some time. You may experience some dizziness as you rise, but it will go away within a minute.
This maneuver should give you immediate relief from your dizziness. If the condition does not subside, repeat the sequence 3 times every day before going to bed until the dizziness goes away.
Method 2: Ginger
Most commonly, dizziness is caused by poor blood circulation. Ginger is an effective and readily available remedy to treat dizziness and related nausea by stimulating more blood flow to the brain.
Some researchers have even claimed it to be more effective than manual repositioning (such as the Epley maneuver) while also contributing fewer side effects. (3)
You can take ginger supplements after consulting your doctor, suck on ginger candies or prepare a hearty cup of ginger tea.
Single-Step Treatment: Prepare and drink ginger tea 2 or 3 times daily
- Boil 1 cup of water in a pan.
- Add the ginger slices and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Strain out the tea.
- Drink ginger tea 2 or 3 times a day for 1 to 2 days to get rid of dizziness.
Method 3: Acupressure
There are over 2,000 pressure points on your body, each serving a purpose. These points rebalance the flow of ‘qi’ or life force, relieving your body of different ailments. Acupressure can be used to treat conditions like dizziness, anxiety, and nausea, among others. (4)
You can use the following acupressure points to treat dizziness instantly.
- Third Eye Point: This acupressure point is located right between the eyebrows, where the bridge of the nose meets your forehead. Apply gentle pressure on the point for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day to reduce dizziness, anxiety or vertigo.
- Bigger Rushing Point (LV 3): This popular point used to heal dizziness and fainting is located on the top of the foot, in the gap between the big toe and the second toe. Apply firm pressure on this point on both feet for 30 seconds. Repeat several times a day to reduce fainting, dizziness, loss of consciousness, exhaustion and other related symptoms.
- Governing Vessel Point (GV 26): This point is located two-thirds of the way above the upper lip toward the nose. Press this point with your thumb and apply pressure for 2 to 3 minutes to get relief from dizziness. Repeat as needed.
- Three Mile Point (ST 36): The point is located on each leg, 5 centimeters below the knee cap and 1 centimeter away from the shinbone. Using your index and middle finger, apply mild pressure on the point on both legs for 5 minutes. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day to reduce dizziness and prevent frequent fainting bouts.
- Sea of Vitality Points (B 23 and B 47): These points are located on the lower back on both sides of the spine. B 23 is located about 2 centimeters away from the spine, while B 47 is 4 centimeters away from the spine. Rub these two points with your knuckles for 1 minute every day to treat dizziness, fainting, instability, fatigue, and weakness.
Method 4: Deep Breathing
Sometimes when you suffer from an anxiety attack, you may feel as though you cannot catch a full breath. As a consequence, you try to breathe too much, resulting in rapid and shallow breathing.
Rapid breathing can also be a subconscious response to stress. This creates an imbalance of the oxygen supply in the body and leads to dizziness.
Deep breathing exercises will not only counter the dizziness but also help you get rid of anxiety and stress. (5)
Here are the steps to perform deep breathing exercise.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a deep breath, counting from 1 to 5 as you inhale. You should feel your abdomen rise as you inhale.
- As you exhale, count backward from 5 to 1. You should feel your abdomen fall as you exhale.
- Repeat the sequence 5 to 10 times, then relax and breathe normally.
- Wait for a minute, then sit or stand up slowly.
Do this exercise whenever you feel dizzy or suffer from anxiety or stress.
Method 5: Hydration
Dizziness is one of the first signs of dehydration, especially if you exercise a lot or you’re outdoors in hot weather for long periods. Sometimes, loss of body fluid due to an illness involving vomiting or diarrhea can also lead to dehydration.
Researchers indicate that a body water loss as little as 1-2% can impair cognitive function which may result in dizziness. (6)
Drinking water as soon as possible can help counter the dizziness. It is recommended that every adult drink at least 8 cups of water a day regardless of the level of activity performed. (6)
Here are a few things to follow to keep from feeling dizzy.
- When feeling dizzy, drink water in moderation, taking small sips. Drinking too much water too quickly can make you throw up.
- Keep your body hydrated by drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
- Drink plenty of other fluids or juices to maintain the fluid level in your body.
Tips to get relief from dizziness
- Your body needs vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen to your vital organs. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to anemia and cause dizziness and fatigue. Increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin B12, such as eggs, fish and milk.
- You can also drink lemon water to treat dizziness. Lemon helps increase your body’s glucose level and also quickly hydrates the body.
- If you suffer from frequent dizziness due to vertigo, you can also try getting regular head massages from a professional.
- Herbert L. Muncie J, Sirmans SM, James E. Dizziness: Approach to Evaluation and Management. American Family Physician. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2017/0201/p154.html. Published February 1, 2017.
- KA K, RW B. Department of Neurology (KAK), University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor; and Departments of Neurology and Surgery (Head and Neck) (RWB), David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles. Neurology. Clinical practice. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/23634356. Published 2011.
- Ni F-lin, Zhang L-ping, Hu S-shan. Clinical observation on ginger-partitioned moxibustion plus manual repositioning for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11726-016-0897-3. Published February 2, 2016.
- Lee EJ, Frazier SK. The efficacy of acupressure for symptom management: a systematic review. Journal of pain and symptom management. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21531533. Published October 2011.
- Mansour OI. Practical approach to the management of dizzy patients. The Egyptian Journal of Otolaryngology. http://www.ejo.eg.net/article.asp?issn=1012-5574;year=2013;volume=29;issue=1;spage=49;epage=55;aulast=Mansour. Published 2013.
Riebl SK, Davy BM. The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. ACSM's health & fitness journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/. Published 2013.
Summary of How to Get Rid of Dizziness
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