How Vertigo Is Treated

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Vertigo can be treated with a wide range of options. The same treatment doesn't work for everyone. The type of treatment you need depends on the cause of your problem. In some cases, the issue resolves on its own.

Some of the most common treatments include lifestyle changes, prescriptions, and certain therapy methods. They may be used to correct the issue or reduce symptoms. They can also address a bigger health issue that is making you feel vertigo symptoms.

This article describes the diverse ways to treat vertigo. These treatments include home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) options, prescription drugs, and surgery. It also explains complementary and alternative treatments.

A healthcare provider manipulates a person's head

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Home Remedies and Lifestyle

Self-treatment for vertigo includes herbal remedies, the Epley maneuver, dietary modifications, and lifestyle changes. Discuss these methods with a healthcare provider to ensure they are appropriate for you and the condition triggering your vertigo symptoms.

Herbal Remedies and Supplements

The following home remedies have been proven to improve symptoms of vertigo for some people:

  • Ginger: Ginger root contains essential oils and resins that treat nausea due to vertigo and other causes.
  • Ginkgo biloba: The Ginkgo biloba Chinese herb helps resolve symptoms of vertigo by managing blood flow to the brain to relieve balance and dizziness problems.
  • Vitamin D and calcium: Research shows vitamin D and calcium supplements can reduce vertigo recurrence.

Epley Maneuver

The Epley maneuver (also called the canalith repositioning procedure) can relieve a certain kind of vertigo called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It is a form of vertigo thought to be triggered by a buildup of calcium deposits in the inner ear.

BPPV symptoms are usually activated by certain changes in your head's position. The procedure can be performed by a healthcare provider or on your own at home.

The Epley maneuver is a specific set of head movements that moves the particles causing symptoms from the fluid-filled semicircular canals of your inner ear to an area where they won't cause problems.

The particles move to a tiny bag-like open area that houses one of the other structures in your ear. Once there, these particles will likely dissolve or be reabsorbed by bodily fluids in your ear.

Dietary Modifications

Certain dietary modifications can improve vertigo symptoms by modifying the amount and changes of certain substances. They also involve reducing or eliminating other substances known to harm your inner ear.

The following dietary modifications are advised for people with vertigo:

  • Avoid foods and beverages that have high sugar or salt content. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water, milk, and low-sugar fruit juices, with at least five or more glasses of water a day.
  • Consume a similar amount of food and beverages every day, maintaining a constant amount of food and fluid from day to day.
  • Avoid foods and drinks with caffeine.
  • Eliminate or limit alcohol consumption because alcohol can adversely affect the volume and composition of fluid in your inner ear.
  • Do not use tobacco, which can constrict blood vessels and reduce the blood supply to your inner ear.
  • Consult your healthcare provider before taking herbs, vitamins, and/or other supplements to discuss how they may affect your symptoms.

Strategies to Avoid Symptoms

You may be able to avoid vertigo triggers and prevent symptoms with the following strategies:

  • Use two pillows to raise your head while you sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping on your affected side.
  • Rise slowly out of your bed when you awaken.
  • Avoid looking up.
  • Avoid bending over to pick things up.

Lifestyle Changes

The following lifestyle changes can help reduce vertigo symptoms:

  • Get adequate sleep: Getting insufficient or unproductive sleep is related to some vestibular diseases that result in vertigo.
  • Modify exercises: Avoid doing exercises that use head rotation, like swimming laps.
  • Control anxiety and stress: Areas in the brain that regulate dizziness interact with those areas that regulate anxiety, causing a relationship between the two symptoms.

Is Vertigo Treatment Necessary?

In about 50% of people who have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, symptoms go away within one to three months with or without treatment. However, it can be hard to cope with the prospect of waiting it out. Conservative treatments like lifestyle changes and neck and head maneuvers can reduce the time you have to deal with the potentially debilitating symptoms of vertigo.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Therapies

Acute vertigo can be treated with some types of over-the-counter medication. They typically are used for short-term purposes.

Antihistamines are drugs used to treat allergies by blocking a chemical known as histamine. They can also help dull your inner ear's ability to sense motion (which can trigger motion sickness). These antihistamines for vertigo are available over the counter:


Prescription drugs can be delivered in various ways, depending on the specific drug. Oral administration is used for mild symptoms. When problems like nausea or vomiting make it difficult to absorb oral drugs, some drugs may be administered by suppository, patches, or injection.

Vestibular Suppressants

Vestibular suppressants are a group of anti-vertigo drugs that reduce the intensity of vertigo and circular eye movements associated with vertigo. They also help reduce related motion sickness and motion sensitivity. They work by reducing the intensity of the vestibular system in the inner ear, which controls balance. Vertigo can occur when the vestibular system is damaged.

Vestibular suppressants used to treat vertigo include antiemetics, antihistamines, and benzodiazepines.


Antiemetics are drugs commonly used to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The following antiemetics are used to treat vertigo:


The following prescription antihistamines are used to treat vertigo:

  • Antivert (meclizine) oral
  • Phenergan (promethazine hydrochloride) oral, liquid, suppository


Benzodiazepines are drugs commonly prescribed as antidepressants. However, they also act as vestibular suppressants in small doses and can effectively treat motion sickness. They can also help reduce the feelings of panic and anxiety that can occur with vertigo.

  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)


Anticholinergics include drugs that block the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter used in muscular contractions. It is also involved in regulating certain biological functions, including digestion and urination. The most effective anticholinergic for vertigo is Transderm Scop (scopolamine), delivered via a transdermal patch.


Diuretics, or water pills, help your body remove extra water and salt. They can help treat vertigo caused by too much fluid in your inner ear. Diuretics are commonly used as maintenance medications for vertigo. Diuretics for vertigo include the following:

Surgeries and Specialist-Driven Procedures

Certain procedures and surgeries can address some of the causes of vertigo.

Specialist-Driven Procedures

These procedures correct or destroy certain mechanical problems that contribute to vertigo. Specialist-driven procedures used to treat vertigo include the following:

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy involves a set of individualized exercises designed to help you manage imbalance and dizziness caused by vertigo. This type of therapy uses certain head, body, and eye exercises.

The movements used in vestibular rehabilitation therapy retrain your brain to recognize and process signals from your vestibular system. The body learns to use these signals and coordinates them with information from your vision and proprioception (your sense of your body's location and movement), so you can maintain balance and coordination.

Chemical Labyrinthectomy

A chemical labyrinthectomy, also known as a gentamicin infusion or transtympanic treatment, is a destructive procedure used in the treatment of Meniere's disease, a cause of vertigo. It involves injecting the antibiotic gentamicin into the middle ear. Gentamicin is toxic to the inner ear's cells. After the drug is absorbed, it destroys the vestibular hair cells so they can't send signals to the brain.

Semont Maneuver

The Semont maneuver is a set of exercises done with the help of a healthcare provider or physical therapist. This technique is used to treat BPPV. It involves moving your head firmly into different positions. The goal is to move the canaliths (crystal debris) out of the semicircular canal and into the inner ear, where they won't cause symptoms.


Surgery is used as a last resort to treat vertigo. There are few times when surgery is appropriate. It is often reserved to treat severe and debilitating cases of vertigo.

The type of surgery used depends on your diagnosis and the underlying cause of your vertigo. Surgery can be done to correct inner ear function. It can also stop the production or transmission of sensory information from the inner ear to the brain.

The following types of surgery may be used to treat vertigo caused by Ménière’s disease (a disorder that causes a feeling of imbalance when it triggers an overproduction of fluid within the inner ear):

  • Endolymphatic sac surgery: This procedure decreases pressure on the endolymphatic sac in the inner ear by removing the bone surrounding it. A small stent is put into the endolymphatic sac to allow excess fluid to drain out. This procedure has an average success rate for vertigo control of around 80% and a low rate of hearing loss.
  • Vestibular nerve section: A vestibular nerve section involves isolating and cutting the vestibular part of the cochleovestibular cranial nerve, which regulates balance. The section can often succeed in relieving vertigo and preserving hearing. This procedure provides relief of vertigo more than 90% of the time.
  • Labyrinthectomy: A labyrinthectomy involves the removal of the labyrinth of the ear. This sensory organ sends signals about body movement, gravity, and motion changes to the brain. Since the hearing organ of the ear is also removed, resulting in hearing loss in the treated ear, this procedure is used as a last resort.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Some people find relief from vertigo with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments. These therapies include the following.


Acupressure is a type of massage based on the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. Acupressure involves putting pressure on certain locations, called acupoints, on your body.

Putting pressure on acupoints can improve your blood flow and help your muscles relax. The procedure can be done at home if you learn the right acupoints.

Acupressure on the acupoint P-6, called Neiguan, can help relieve nausea and prevent vomiting. It is found on your inner arm near your wrist. An acupuncturist can perform the technique or teach you the right way to do it yourself.

Chiropractic Treatment

Some chiropractic treatments can benefit people with vertigo related to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or cervicogenic dizziness. Vertigo symptoms caused by vestibular migraine and conditions related to brain injury usually require comanagement with a healthcare provider.

Chiropractors with certification in vestibular rehabilitation may be best suited to help patients with vestibular disorders.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a martial art defined by graceful flowing movements and postures. This gentle, low-impact activity helps improve balance and creates a more stable stance.

Tai chi has proven to promote a greater awareness of your body and movement. It can help reduce postural sway that occurs with vertigo by focusing on your ability to be aware of input from your body in the balancing process.


There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for vertigo. The best treatment depends on the cause of your symptoms. Getting an accurate diagnosis can help you find the right treatment.

Treatment for vertigo can correct a problem, reduce symptoms, or address a bigger health concern. Many cases of vertigo improve with treatments that have few side effects. Changing your diet, increasing water intake, and certain movement programs can help relieve dizziness. A wide range of drugs can also work. When these treatments don't improve symptoms, surgery may be an option.

Generally, vertigo lasts between one and three months. For some people, the problem may correct itself without treatment, though it may recur at a later time.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Anna Giorgi
Anna Zernone Giorgi is a writer who specializes in health and lifestyle topics. Her experience includes over 25 years of writing on health and wellness-related subjects for consumers and medical professionals, in addition to holding positions in healthcare communications.