What is Vertigo?

I am an avid road cyclist in my 60s and recently suffered a serious Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) attack.

I kind of knew what the definition of vertigo was until I found myself flat on my back and watching the world around me spinning out of control.  Not to be too graphic, I don’t think I’ve ever puked that hard and that much in my entire life.

For those of you who are not fully aware, vertigo is a sensation of spinning or dizziness that can be caused by various factors, including inner ear problems, head injuries, and certain medications.

Following the diagnosis from my doctor, I was able to see a physiotherapist who specializes in balance issues caused by the aftermath of a vertigo attack.  She was able to provide me with a series of exercises which will eventually help me regain my equilibrium and get back on my bike.

As mature athletes, here are several basic steps which can take to help recover from the vertigo attack:

  • Take a break: Rest is crucial to allow the body to recover from the vertigo attack. Cyclists should take a break from cycling and any strenuous activities for a few days, or until the symptoms subside.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids is essential to prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate the symptoms of vertigo.
  • Eat well: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide the body with the nutrients it needs to recover.
  • Practice vestibular exercises: These are exercises that aim to improve the function of the vestibular system, which is responsible for our sense of balance. A healthcare professional can provide guidance on specific exercises that can help with vertigo recovery.
  • Get plenty of rest: Fatigue can make vertigo symptoms worse, so it is important to get enough sleep and rest.
  • Avoid triggers: Certain activities or positions can trigger vertigo, so it is important to avoid them until the vertigo has resolved.

It is important to note that recovery from vertigo can take time, and we should not rush back into cycling until feeling completely ready.  Most importantly, be sure to consult your healthcare professional before resuming any physical activity.

For more information on Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vertigo/symptoms-causes/syc-20370055