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Half Somersault Maneuver

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV

Video: Vertigo and Dizziness

BPPV has been characterized as the most common form of vertigo and the “half somersault maneuver” or otherwise described as “Foster Maneuver” has been working wonders in treating this condition. The inner ear has three semicircular canals which are interconnected by fluid pathways and have gravity sensors in them. These are being capped by bed of crystals which may be dislodged from where they are and enter into any of the canals or other parts of the ear. When the dislodgement happens and crystals get into the semicircular canals, a mechanical disorder happens. The system will function incorrectly and the tilting motions of the said crystals will be interpreted as intense dizziness.

Why Dizziness Occurs?

The system in our brain works like a computer system which is enabled through sensors and wires. It works like the mouse and the keyword, the sensors, from which information is transmitted through the wires of the system and is interpreted in the central processing unit, the brain. One gets dizzy when there is problem with the sensors and it is more likely that one will lose balance when processing of information and interpretation thereof is not carried well to the brain. When the brain fails to interpret what is being sent to it, it will send back wrong information to other parts of the body which perform important functions.

When one has vertigo, he experiences this incredible spinning sensation. It is like he’s riding in a merry-go-round, only this time that the feeling isn’t merry but very disabling. This vertigo is mostly experience while in bed. Those afflicted get a sudden spinning of his environment for several seconds. It often recurs from time to time especially when one tries to sit up, lie down or roll over in bed. Balance is sometimes affected while others experience severe dizziness and vomiting.

How Can This Be Stopped?

Many people with vertigo get the assistance of trained health care specialists. These specialists perform therapeutic maneuvers on them to roll crystals out from the semicircular canals of the ear. The positional spells usually leave after a few hours but others stay there for a very long time. This causes one to experience dizzy spells over and over. Others try to make movements to drive crystals away and DIY methods are usually taken as home exercises and half somersault maneuver is just one of the few effective home exercises for vertigo.

Carol A. Foster, MD and Her Half Somersault Maneuver

Carol A. Foster, MD is an Associate Professor and currently the Director of the Balance Laboratory, University of Colorado Hospital. She had her MD at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, CA. Doctor Foster is has been afflicted with vertigo herself. She had Meniere’s disease, a condition of the inner ear which makes her experience bouts of vicious dizziness and nausea. This happens almost every day and it lasts for a couple of hours most of the time. She had a surgery to cut the nerve in the ear which triggers her vertigo. The surgery solved the problem until 14 years later when she started to feel intense spinning again and that it has gotten worse than her vertigo before. It was the turning point of her life and this is one of the reasons why she decided to fight the condition and finally had this medical breakthrough.

The Half Somersault Maneuver she devised intends to roll out the particles from the posterior/inferior semicircular canal. This maneuver must be performed well and the process differs when one treats vertigo in his right or left ear. It should be followed as instructed in the Half Somersault Maneuver Video Here to make sure that the crystals are not going to fall on the horizontal/lateral semicircular canal because this may lead to horizontal spinning (horizontal canal BPPV )which would indicate complication and will only require a different kind of maneuver. The process should be strictly followed and a test known as “Dix-Hallpike test” must be had to find out whether it is the right or left ear which is affected. Under this test, one must put an ear down with the ear being turned 45 degrees to the right and when it is in this position that severe spell dizziness is felt then the problem is with the right ear.

The half somersault, Epley, and the Semont maneuvers have been proven very effective home exercises in removing crystals from the semicircular canals. It is important to space the time between maneuvers so as to reduce the risk of horizontal canal BPPV. In case the crystals get into the horizontal canal when doing the maneuver, the said particles can be effectively removed using the so called Gufoni maneuver. This maneuver is usually performed with the assistance of health care workers. For the purposes of discussion, Gufoni is performed by sitting up after performing the Dix Hallpike and then reclining on to the opposite side of the ear affected by vertigo and the rotating slowly the head to have it face the bed.

The half somersault does not require more significant movements such as standing up from one figure to another. A patient can just assume the initial half somersault position, put their head upside down like they are doing a somersault, wait for a few seconds for the dizziness to subside and then raise the head at back level. They will then wait for dizziness to subside and get back again to their sitting position. The only impediment we see with half somersault is that they cannot be applied with people who have impaired flexibility like people with knee, back or neck injuries and with people whose weight are huge enough to perform the bending. But when one does not have these health issues, he can very well do these maneuvers in treating their Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV in a form of home exercises.


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