Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers at Home

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Canalith repositioning maneuvers, also known as Epley Maneuver, is a type of exercise that helps treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). We’ll show you how you can do it at home.

A problem causes BPPV in the inner ear. Semicircular canals located inside the ear detect movement and send this information to the brain.

The utricles are also located near the ear, containing calcium crystals (canaliths) responsible for detecting movement.

Sometimes, these crystals detach from the utricle and end up within the semicircular canals. Once these crystals move inside the canals, they often send wrong signals to the brain regarding your position.

This is why you feel like the world is spinning around. It’s what we call vertigo.

Dr. John Epley designed a series of movements to dislodge the crystals from the semicircular canals. These movements take the crystals back to the utricle, where they belong. This treats the symptoms of vertigo.

The original canalith (Epley’s) maneuver was designed to be performed by a healthcare provider. Canalith repositioning maneuvers at home are very similar.

<<These series of movements can actually be done on your own, in the comfort of your house.>>

Why would someone need to do canalith repositioning maneuvers?

You may have to try these maneuvers if you have symptoms of BPPV. With BPPV, vertigo can be triggered with certain head movements and last up to one minute.

These symptoms may be more frequent at times, and can include nausea and vomiting.

VPPB often occurs without warning and for no apparent reason. However, most of the time, there’s an underlying cause, such as:

  • Head injury
  • Problems after ear surgery
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Tinnitus

Other problems related to your inner ear’s balance (vestibular system) can include inflammation of the nerve (vestibular neuronitis).

The good thing about canalith repositioning maneuvers is that they’re safe and cheap. It often works well for treating BPPV symptoms.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe it if your medical history and physical examination confirm that you have BPPV. Your doctor may also suggest that you see a vestibular therapist for treatment.

Many doctors are capable of performing this maneuver right in their consulting room. They can even teach you the moves so you can do it at home also. This will come in handy in case of symptoms resume after leaving the doctor’s office.

Are there any risks associated with canalith repositioning maneuvers?

Generally, it’s pretty safe. Although having someone by your side, reviewing your movements is always a good idea. This can give you peace of mind in case your vertigo worsens in between sessions.

You may want to read: Easy and natural home remedy for vertigo: Get rid of dizziness!

People with health conditions that impair their ability to move freely may not safely perform this maneuver.

These conditions can include Parkinson’s disease, a faulty neck or back, vascular disorders, and retinal detachment. Ask your healthcare provider if it’s safe for you.

Do I need a special bed or equipment?

You can do it in your bedroom if you want, as long as you feel comfortable. Start by sitting on the bed. You’ll need to have a pillow so that when you lie down, it’s under your shoulders.

What happens during the maneuver, what’s it like?

You may find it helpful to watch a video first. It will give you an idea of the entire process. Here’s a simple and straightforward video by Dr. Christopher Chang from Fauquier ENT Consultants:


Your doctor will instruct you on how often you should do this procedure. He may ask you to do it 3 times a day until the symptoms have disappeared for at least 24 hours.

Make sure you know which is the bad ear

Follow these steps if the problem is on the right side:

  • Start by sitting on a bed
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the right
  • Lie down quickly, keeping your head turned. The shoulders should now be on the pillow, and the head should be reclined. Wait 30 seconds
  • Rotate the head 90 degrees to the left, without lifting it. Your head will be facing 45 degrees to the left. Wait another 30 seconds
  • Turn your head and body another 90 degrees to the left in bed. Wait another 30 seconds.
  • Sit on the left side

Follow these steps if the problem is on the left side:

  • Start by sitting on a bed
  • Turn head 45 degrees to the left
  • Lie down quickly, keeping your head turned. The shoulders should now be on the pillow, and the head should be reclined. Wait 30 seconds
  • Rotate the head 90 degrees to the right, without lifting it. Your head will be facing 45 degrees to the right. Wait another 30 seconds
  • Turn your head and body another 90 degrees to the right in bed. Wait another 30 seconds.
  • Sit on the right side

What to expect after completing canalith repositioning maneuvers?

canalith repositioning maneuvers

Most people claim that their symptoms disappear immediately after doing the maneuver. In some cases, it may take a few times for the procedure to work.

Some people may have mild symptoms for a couple of weeks. Once your symptoms disappear, there is no need to continue doing the maneuver.

Your healthcare provider may suggest avoiding certain positions for some time after your symptoms are gone.

For example, you may need to sleep with 2 pillows to keep your neck straight and extended.

If you still have symptoms after trying the maneuver, you may not be doing it the right way. Go over the steps once again and repeat. If it doesn’t work, then you may have another problem that is giving you vertigo symptoms.

If you happen to find relief after doing the maneuver, you’ll need to start getting active very slowly and progressively. Make sure your vertigo is completely gone before operating machinery or driving a vehicle.

When everything goes well, your vertigo can go away for weeks or even years. However, BPPV often returns. This can occur if another calcium crystal ends in its semicircular canals.

If your vertigo does come back, keep doing the same maneuver to see if the symptoms go away. If it doesn’t work, other forms of treatment must be sought.

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Joel Zazueta

Hey! Joel here; A graduate of Herbalism & Naturopathy Medicine School. My team and I are passionate about finding ways to improve our lives on a daily basis and truly believe in natural alternatives of doing so before seeking traditional medications. However, always consult with your Doctor/Physician first before taking any actions in regards to your health. Stay Safe and Healthy!

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