Vertigo is the feeling that you’re spinning when you’re standing still. Or, it might feel like your surroundings are moving, even though they’re not. While vertigo can quickly become frustrating and get in the way of your day-to-day activities, there are exercises that can provide relief.

Before reviewing these exercises, it’s important to note that there are two kinds of vertigo:

  • Peripheral vertigo is caused by a problem in the inner ear or vestibular nerve. It accounts for about 93 percent of all vertigo cases.
  • Central vertigo is caused by a problem in the brain.

Vertigo exercises are designed to treat peripheral vertigo caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This is a condition that happens when small calcium carbonate crystals from another part of your ear enter the semicircular canal of your inner ear. These exercises help to redistribute those crystals.

If you have central vertigo or peripheral vertigo that’s not caused by BPPV, these exercises may not work for you.

Brandt-Daroff exercises use gravity to help dislodge crystals from the semicircular canal.

Follow these steps to try Brandt-Daroff exercises:

  1. Sit in the middle of a bed with your feet on the floor. Turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  2. Without moving your head, lie down on your left side. Pause for 30 seconds.
  3. Return to the starting position. Pause for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn your head 45 degrees to the left. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the right side.
  5. Return to the starting position. Pause for 30 seconds.
  6. Complete one set of five repetitions on each side.

Before standing up, wait for any dizziness to pass.

Aim to do one set in the morning, one midday, and one at night. Repeat every day for two to three weeks.

The Semont maneuver, or liberatory maneuver, is another exercise for BPPV. It takes slightly less time than the Brandt-Daroff exercises, but it’s best to do it under the supervision of your healthcare provider.

If you have left-ear BPPV, your provider will likely walk you through the following steps:

  1. Sit upright on the edge of a bed and turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  2. Swiftly drop to the left until your head is on the bed. Hold for 30 seconds.
  3. In one movement, quickly move your body to the right side. Don’t change the angle of your head.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly return to starting position.

If you have right-ear BPPV, turn your head to the right and drop on your left side first.

This maneuver typically only needs to be done once, and you should feel relief within a day or two.

The Epley maneuver is another popular exercise for vertigo.

The original Epley maneuver requires help from two other people. But the modified version below can be done on your own at home. This version is known as the home Epley maneuver.

Follow these steps if you have left-ear BPPV. Do it in the opposite direction if you have right-ear BPPV:

  1. Sit upright in bed. Place your legs straight ahead and put a pillow behind you.
  2. Turn your head 45 degrees to the left.
  3. Lie back quickly until your shoulders are on the pillow. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn your head 90 degrees to the right without lifting it up. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn your body and head another 90 degrees to the right. Hold for 30 seconds.
  6. Sit upright on the right edge of the bed.

Do the home Epley maneuver three times a day. Repeat every day until you don’t experience symptoms for 24 hours.

The Foster maneuver, sometimes called the half somersault, is one of the easiest exercises for vertigo — it doesn’t require you to be in bed or have help from another person.

Follow these directions if you have left ear BPPV. If you have right ear BPPV, do these steps on the right side:

  1. Kneel down and place your hands on the floor. Tilt your head up and back. Wait until any dizziness passes.
  2. Place your forehead of the floor, tucking your chin toward your knees.
  3. Turn your head 45 degrees to face your left elbow. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Keeping your head 45 degrees, raise your head until it’s level with your back and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Raise your head to the fully upright position.

You may need to repeat the maneuver four or five times to feel relief. Wait 15 minutes in between each attempt.

It’s not uncommon for these exercises to temporarily cause dizziness — even after doing just a single movement.

To do these exercises safely, take your time. Wait 30 seconds — or until the dizziness passes — between each movement. You should also wait at least 30 seconds before standing up.

It’s also important to get a formal diagnosis before trying these exercises. If your vertigo isn’t caused by BPPV, these moves may cause even more problems.

Your healthcare provider may also recommend you do these exercises more or less frequently, depending on your needs. They can also show you modifications if you have limited mobility.