Colorado Doctor Finds Way To Treat Common Vertigo

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – More than seven million people in the U.S. suffer from vertigo with 50,000 in the Denver area alone. The symptoms include feeling surroundings spinning when nothing is moving.

Now there’s a new do-it-yourself way to treat the most common form of vertigo. CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh met the doctor who discovered the maneuver. Dr. Carol Foster is at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Foster’s recently published research is a breakthrough in the treatment of vertigo and could be life-changing for people who are disabled at times by extreme dizzy spells.

“You’re rolling over in bed and suddenly you’re hit with this incredible spinning and you see the room going around like you’re in the inside of a washing machine,” Foster said.

Foster has experienced the most common form called positional vertigo. It happens when particles in the ear that sense gravity get dislodged and end up in spinning sensors.

“It can make people have falls, they can be unable to go to work because they’re so dizzy, they can be vomiting,” Foster said. “So it’s very, very unpleasant.”

Foster is director of the Balance Laboratory at the CU School of Medicine. One morning, in treating herself, she came up with her own spin on how to fix vertigo at home. It’s called the “Half Somersault Maneuver.” Patients put their head upside down like they are going to do a somersault. They wait for dizziness to end then raise their head to back level. They then wait again for dizziness to end and then sit back quickly

Dr. Carol Foster instructs how to properly do the Half Somersault Maneuver (credit: CBS)

Dr. Carol Foster instructs how to properly do the Half Somersault Maneuver (credit: CBS)

“And that causes the particles to leave the semicircular canal,” Foster said.

A six-month study showed patents preferred the exercise over the one commonly used by doctors.

“I was surprised at how well it worked,” Foster said.

Foster has posted the breakthrough on the Internet.

“My goal in life is to basically get rid of all dizziness on the planet Earth,” she said.

She’s on her way — one half somersault at a time.

People liked the half somersault because they weren’t as dizzy and had fewer side effects. None of those patients returned to the doctor for dizziness treatments.

LINK: Half Somersault Maneuver


One Comment

  1. What if you can’t kneel down? Can you do it sitting on a bed?

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  3. Bev says:

    Is the diagram you give your patients available on line? I use the Epley Maneuver, but this sounds good because you don’t have to be lying on a bed or table. Thanks.

  4. What if you are vomiting at the same time, as I am when the vertigo hits?

  5. Donna says:

    I have had this manuever performed with great success and been told to lie on my unaffected side when in bed to prevent reoccurance. After lying on my right side for weeks, I tried to turn over on the left side a couple times. Each time I did I had an immediate reoccurrance of the vertigo. I waited a long time (a couple months) to try again, and had an immediate reoccurance. I am terrified now to ever try again. It has now been over a year. Since I can lie flat as well as on the right side comfortably, and have no problems I wonder if I will ever get a reoccurance if I try, but not brave enough to try it. Anyone else have this same scenario? Comments?

  6. i get it so bad on both sides when i get into bed i have too arrange my pillow close my eyes than i slip into bed very slowly the dizziness sicks in but as long as i keep my eyes s the spinning goes away when i get out of bed again i have too keep my eyes closed once im sitting up i keep my head straight open my eyes and the spinning slows down and evenutally goes away but now sometimes the veritgo wakes me out of a sound sleep where i am screaming for my husband too make it stop im at the point where im afraid too sleep so i stay up until i cant keep my eyes open any longer any suggestions would help when im in a car i have too sit straight up and can not turn my head at all or the world around me just spins out of control its so bad i dont even drive anymore

  7. What are these “particles” composed of?. Earwax?

  8. MHoltz says:

    This is an Epley maneuver from your knees!

  9. wanda says:

    how do u do this if u cant move and are vomittin and getting sweats?? is this something i should do daily ??

  10. Rosalie Lievens says:

    Would this help as I memiere disease and dizzy almost all the time. I feel like the floor is rising up.
    I’ve stopped driving as an attack comes on so sudden, I fear I could hurt someone.

    1. Helene Kalfuss says:

      Meniere’s Disease has a different cause. This position won’t help. There are some medications your Doctor could try with you.

  11. Helene Kalfuss says:

    The Epley maneuver is what I use. Getting on my knees would not be possible. One is artificial and has some pain and the other is deteriorating and quite painful. I think the Epley will have to be used for those with bad knees.

  12. Katherine Keeley says:

    I found out about Dr. Foster from a friend. My symptoms were more of unsteadiness than rooms spinning. I can feel unsteady when bending up from being down or from tilting my head backward while writing on chalkboards or other tall, flat surfaces. When I close my eyes it’s like my brain is a gyroscope trying to find balance. These symptoms have caused neck fatigue that I treat with massage (expensive). I also treat my veritgo with acupuncture (to some benefit and also expensive). While Dr. Foster diagnosed my condition as “Migraine-Related Vertigo,” I had to pay $1,500 out of pocket/out of network and I am still suffering with the symptoms with no real treatment plan. Congratulations to her on her work but there is still a long way to go on research. I am willing to look at nutrition, stress reduction and alternative treatments, as well.

  13. Jeanie Cox says:

    Wonder if this doctor has worked on way to solve tinnitus

  14. Paula Rueter says:

    Thank you so much! Now if I can just get rid of this ringing in my ears! Any advice?

  15. Lynn says:

    I’m going to try this. My vertigo comes and goes. Sought help in 1997 with full ENT work up. They found no physical problems and wanted me to enter the vertigo study at the medical center. Well, I had small children and could not go into a week long study so it never happened. Only one time back in 2000, I had it getting out of the shower and started vomiting. Mine occurs sometimes while driving (so scary) and always in bunches for a time. Then nothing for months. For some odd reason, major stress seems to trigger it as well. Never yet in bed though. I’m going to try this the next time it happens. If it works, then I’ll know what the cause is. Very hopeful.

  16. Gloria Campbell says:

    I do a similar action, only laying on the bed on my back with a pillow under my shoulders, dropping my head over the end of the bed. Roll head to one side for the count of 30 seconds slowly then the other side for the same count. Slowly raise up with head in forward position and keep it there for about 2 minutes and that’s it. It works for me…..Hope this helps someone else.

  17. Stuart Wilson says:

    I did four days thinking I had a bug. Vomiting and head spinning. Four days unable to eat. Unable to go to work. My wife finally took me to the doctor (the car ride was awful) and she gave me anti nausea buccal tabs for vertigo. I was led to the Epley manoeuvre which was ok but I still felt sick and spinning when trying to walk. I found Dr Foster by mistake and have tried the half somersault. It seems to be better than the Epley as, although I still have the spinning I can walk much easier. I will repeat it a few times – difficult as I am neither slim nor flexible – but I think it’s worth a go. Do you have the paper description as a printable handout? Now all I have to do is cure the electric noise that comes and goes and I will be healthy again. Thank you.

  18. stephanie baker says:

    I work for one of the top chiropractors in the nation. He has helped many people with Vertigo. It is caused from a pinched nerve in the neck. A lady came into our office less then a year ago.She had a bad case of vertigo. Couldn’t drive, vomitting. Never went any where for a year. She only had a few weeks of adjustments, and she no longer had vertogo. She is still well to this day. It is easy to treat, if you go to the right chiropractor.

    1. stephanie baker says:

      That is why this doctor felt better when she bent over. It would relieve some of the pressure off of the nerve. I would love for her to come to our office and get help. She herself would be surprised to see how much chiropractic can change her life.

  19. Debbie says:

    Does this work for bed spins when you’ve been drinking?

  20. Ohhhdear says:

    Mt experienced severe vertigo after a very bad cold, with a lot of sneezing and coughing and congestion. Meds didn’t help, so we researched and tried the somersault/head lifting maneuvers. They didn’t help either. Finally, in desperation, we sent him to our chiropractor who very gently adjusted his neck. Within three days and three adjustments he was back to normal. Moral; don’t discount chiropractic. Those trained with modern, gentle techniques can truly make a huge difference in your quality of life.

    1. Ohhhdear says:

      The first sentence should read “My son experienced….”.

  21. gary helmer says:

    is their anyway i can down load this exercise an print out for my mum who has vertigo

  22. stacy s says:

    how about dogs? does it work for canine vestibular disease as well?

  23. audrey says:

    Do be cautious when trying this! I have had success in the past with Epley maneuver done by chiropractor and by physiotherapist. I tried this at home and immediately became very nauseous, extremely dizzy and had to go to bed for the rest of the day as I was so ill, one of the worst bouts of dizziness I have experienced. I went back to physiotherapist two weeks later and Epley maneuver solved the problem. I would recommend getting expert advice regarding the particular canal affected, etc. before simply trying this on your own.

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