British scientists have come up with a series of simple exercises that can reduce persistent dizziness – a condition that is particularly common in seniors and can lead to falls and injuries.
The easy exercises – such as turning your head right to left and back again or nodding your head up and down – led to reduced dizziness within weeks and the benefits lasted for at least a year, according to a study by University of Southampton researchers.
The Southampton team has called on doctors around the world to give patients with persistent dizziness a booklet detailing the simple exercises, noting it is a very cost effective treatment for common causes of the condition.
Lucy Yardley, who has been researching dizziness for many years, detailed the researchers’ findings in the British Medical Journal and at a meeting of the World Organization of Family Doctors.
Dizziness is a common condition, especially among older people, but can strike at any age. It can interfere with daily activities, cause stress and increases the risk of falls that typically lead to declines in activity and higher healthcare costs for seniors.
For the study, Yardley and her colleagues compared the effects of the exercises to drugs and other techniques used to suppress dizziness in more than 300 people.
Nearly twice as many patients who did the exercises said they felt much better or totally well at the end of the study, compared with those who had routine care.
"Dizziness can be a frustrating and sometimes frightening condition,” Yardley said. “Many people are undiagnosed, have no treatment for it and just learn to live with it. This leads to a low quality of life and can have high healthcare costs. By being given something as a simple as a booklet by their [doctor], that contains these simple head, neck and eye exercises, many patients will see real benefits in just a few weeks. These easy to understand exercises, which can be carried out at home, have the potential to improve the quality of life for thousands of people."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institute for Health Research.