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Simple exercises are an easy and cost-effective treatment for persistent dizziness
Date:7/5/2012

A professor from the University of Southampton has called on doctors around the world to give patients with persistent dizziness a booklet of simple exercises, after new research has shown that it is a very cost effective treatment for common causes of the condition.

Lucy Yardley, who has been researching dizziness for many years, will urge GPs at the international WONCA conference today (5 July) to ensure that the booklet is translated so that patients of all nationalities can benefit.

Professor Yardley's urgent appeal comes after her study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that the exercises, such as turning your head right to left and back again or nodding your head up and down, led to reduced dizziness within a matter of weeks of starting, and the benefits lasted for at least a year.

Dizziness is a common condition, especially among older people, but it can affect any age. It can interfere with people's daily activities and cause stress. It also increases the risk of falling and fear of falling, which in turn, can result in substantial further limitation of activity, injury, and healthcare costs.

Research has shown that an exercise-based treatment known as "vestibular rehabilitation" or "balance retraining" is the most effective means of treating dizziness related to inner ear problems (a very common cause of dizziness), however currently only about one in ten suitable patients are referred for this treatment.

During the study, which Professor Yardley will present at the WONCA conference today, more than 300 participants were randomly allocated to receive either routine medical care (commonly just reassurance and medication to suppress dizziness symptoms), booklet based vestibular rehabilitation only, or booklet based vestibular rehabilitation with telephone support from a healthcare professional.

The majority of pa
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Contact: Becky Attwood
r.attwood@soton.ac.uk
University of Southampton
Source:Eurekalert

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