Imagine you could not only train your body through exercise, but also your inner ear. Many Americans are affected by a variety of ailments that cause dizziness. Dizziness is quite common in the older generation, but it can affect people at any age. Bouts of dizziness interfere with daily activities and also increase the risk of falling and incurring injury. Often times doctor visits and prescribed medicines can cost patients a good deal of money. However, there may be some financial and physical relief for those who suffer from dizziness. Recent research has revealed that a very cost effective treatment for common causes of dizziness is a variety of simple exercises. A professor from the University of Southampton has devised a booklet of simple exercises for patients.1
Research has shown that an exercise treatment known as “vestibular rehabilitation” or “balance retraining” is the most effective method for treating dizziness related to inner ear problems (a main cause of dizziness), but only about one in ten patients are deemed suitable for referral to this treatment.2
Lucy Yardley, a professor who has been researching dizziness for many years, recently had this study funded by the National Institute for Health Research and published in the British Medical Journal. The study consisted of more than 300 participants, each randomly selected to either receive routine medical care (which usually consists of medication), a booklet on vestibular rehabilitation only, or a booklet on vestibular rehabilitation with telephone support from a healthcare professional.
Most particiapnts of the study suffered from dizziness caused by inner ear problems, but some had dizziness that had been undiagnosed. The study showed that exercises such as turning your head from right to left and back again, or nodding your head up and down, resulted in less dizziness in a matter of weeks within initial exercise. What is even more promising is that these effects lasted for at least a year.3
Nearly twice as many patients who had the booklet with telephone support felt significant relief, or even total relief upon completion of the study, compared with those who had routine care. Those who received the booklet without support still experienced greater relief than those with routine care. Only five percent of patients who received the booklet with support reported worse symptoms, compared with fifteen percent of those who received the routine care.4
Professor Yardley said:
Dizziness can be a frustrating and sometimes frightening condition. 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 GP, 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.5
To date, over 8,000 copies of the exercise booklets have been distributed.
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