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The Eply Manoeuvre Explained

Updated on May 21, 2013

How to Cure Vertigo: The Eply Manoeuvre

All my life I suffered from motion sickness: buses, cars, boats, planes, standing on a bridge, watching running water - all would trigger intense dizziness and nausea, usually accompanied with vomiting. As I grew older, it got worse developing into severe vertigo. Standing up, bending down, bending my neck, looking up... would have me staggering and any journey became a nightmare. I thought it was something I had to grin and bear, something to cope with.

Until... Georgina's Miracle Cure. (Georgina being my Doctor.) That's what I called it for it seem like a real miracle to me. In fact it is called the Eply Manoeuvre and here I'm going to explain all about it.

Image: Picture by David Costello FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Architecture - A Dundee Street
Architecture - A Dundee Street

My history with motion sickness

background information

I grew up in 1950s Scotland, before everyone had cars - a car was something you hired for the holidays - otherwise going anywhere meant a bus trip. For as long as I can remember mention "we're going on the bus" and I hid under the bed.

We lived in a small market town in Angus, nestled at the end of beautiful hilly glens. In fact they called our town (Kirriemuir,) the Gateway to the Glens. It was a nice place to grow up but any serious shopping for clothes and shoes meant a trip into the BIG city of Dundee - 30 miserable minutes on the bus via Glamis - 45 if you went via Forfar and the Murroes.

I can remember my father telling me not to be silly, I would be fine. My mother wasn't so sure, she also suffered from motion sickness. The first time I vomited so much the driver had to stop and clean the bus, shut my father up for good and he became the one who made sure we had a brown paper bag with us at all times. Day trips to the seaside would have my brother and sister sitting up front watching for the first glimpse of the sea and me with my head buried in said paper bag.

It never got any easier and even as a grown-up any form of travel would have me heaving - see these people who tell you there are stablizers on big ships to stop any of that? Don't believe them, I could get sick on a cruise liner on a mill pond.

I began to notice it wasn't just motion that caused it - sights could also trigger episodes. Sight and vision, anything like that would affect me as did watching moving water from riverbanks for example. The picture here shows you some of the beautiful architecture of Dundee ( a photo I took recently) - that too sparked a response.

Then any movement began to effect me too. Anything that shifted my head. Of course, now I understand it and I'll explain it to you...

What causes motion sickness and vertigo?

anatomy of the ear

Your body, if you don't already know it, is a complex structure with interconnections that affect you in different ways. In motion sickness for example, what is involved is your eyes, the balance system within the inner ear, the sensations your skin and joints feel and how all that information is interpreted by the brain. Motion sickness is generally stimulated by what you see ahead of you and the sensations your body feels when in motion. Dizziness is basically the sensation of movement when there is none.

It is all to do with the balance in your inner ear. The semi-circular canals in the ears can hold debris sometimes called crystals. In some people, when they move their head the crystals swirl around, much like a snow-globe causing that sensation of movement, of everything spinning until they settle again in a new position. I'm sure there are much more technical terms to describe it but this is what worked for me. When you understand that, you will understand why the Eply technique works.

Image credit courtesy of Wiki under common licence: By Chittka L, Brockmann [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

My experience of the Eply Manoeuvre

I went to visit my GP when the vertigo was particularly bad, expecting her to give me some anti-nausea tablets, that is all I had ever been given before.

To my surprise, her face lit up - "I have just the thing", she said, hunting in among some papers, "I've just finished my training for this and I've been dying to try it." It didn't exactly fill me with confidence but she seemed happy.

First she had to see if it was indeed these crystal jobbies that were causing the problem so she had be do several things. Sitting on her couch, I had to drop my head back sharply (she caught me) and describe which side felt worse, at the same time she was watching my eyes which gave away a typical flickering when the vertigo engaged. It is called nystagmus if you want to look it up. Once she decided it was the right ear affected more than the left, she carried out the technique.

It took only a few minutes and I thought I was going to die! All it involved was several movements of my head but it triggered the worse episode I had ever had. I managed to get home (somehow) and went straight to bed, I couldn't stand without vomiting and had to crawl on my hands and knees to the toilet.

I feel into an exhausted sleep around mid-night.

When I woke the following morning, it was gone! Just like that!

I would like to say it has never bothered me again but I have had some minor episodes since then, in particular when I am travelling, the last being after driving six hours. But I have my own DIY Eply manoeuvre that seems to work for me.

Georgina tells me I can have surgery to clear it all away but I think that is a bit drastic and I am happy to be rid of it for the most part.

What is the Eply technique?

I was going to describe it in detail and then I thought there might be some who would want to try it out for themselves and I have no way of knowing if that is safe so I'll just say...

the manoeuvre is a very simple techinque involving positioning of the head. You go sharply from sitting up to lying down on your back with your doctor or trained professional holding your head. She then turns it to the side most affected and holds the position for 30 seconds, turns your head to the opposite side for 30 seconds, then you turn onto that side holding the position for 30 seconds then you side up and tuck your head to your chest. That's it! A few minutes and it is done.

It is advisable not to drive afterwards - to rest for a good 12 hours or more and to see your GP for a follow up - it can be repeated if necessary.

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The Epley Technique

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    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 4 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Lady Lorelei: I seem to meet a lot of people with it too - I wonder why. thanks for visiting.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I think I have to try this technique. My dizziness has been definitely getting worse with age and it may be the technique I need to help out a bit. I know of so very many people with vertigo. I wonder if it is becoming a more common phenomenon?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I too suffered from bad motion sickness all my life. I then developed BPPV â Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. My GP performed the Epley manoeuvre on me and not only did the BPPV go, but also my lifelong motion sickness problems. I am absolutely delighted by this unexpected bonus. I can now comfortably travel on buses facing backwards and reading a newspaper. I am so thrilled that I want as many people as possible to hear about this possible treatment for motion sickness. I suffered for 50 years before I had the Epley manoeuvre done on me.

      I too suffered from bad motion sickness all my life. I then developed BPPV â Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. My GP performed the Epley manoeuvre on me and not only did the BPPV go, but also my lifelong motion sickness problems. I am absolutely delighted by this unexpected bonus. I can now comfortably travel on buses facing backwards and reading a newspaper. I am so thrilled that I want as many people as possible to hear about this possible treatment for motion sickness. I suffered for 50 years before I had the Epley manoeuvre done on me.

      An article about the difficulties that Dr John Epley had in getting recognition for the work he has done, is well worth reading â look for on the vesticon website. Vesticon is a company set up by Dr John Epleyâs daughter to build on his work.

    • stylishimo1 profile image

      stylishimo1 4 years ago

      Sunch an interesting lens and I am so happy you have found a way to stop your vertigo and motion sickness.

      I suffer from vertigo ( I have it mildly, when I see how you suffered mine seems not such a big deal.) Mine strikes when I am descending steps, looking up, looking down, I can't go down on escalators in shops at all now, as at the top I lose my balance and get really dizzy.

      The worst is if I am already up high (like on a mountain or balcony) if I am up high, and I look up, I lose all coordination and I just go backwards. I nearly died on a mountain in Spain like this, thankfuly someone was there to help me that time, but it was embarrassing and ended with me literally kneeling down and hugging against a mountain for dear life, the person who was saving me actually slipped and fell into a ravine, but his feet hit a tree about 3ft down and he bounced back up. One of the scariest days of my life.

    • rainydaz profile image

      rainydaz 5 years ago

      I was fortunate my doctor knew this technique too. It comes back often, but I'm able to do the maneuver myself and it works like a charm to get rid of the dizziness.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      I didn't know much detail about vertigo before reading your lens. Thank you for sharing..

    • Doreen Katzaman profile image

      Doreen Katzaman 5 years ago

      I had vertigo a few years ago. It was horrible. I was so dizzy, I felt like I would spin off of the earth. That's the only way I can describe it. I had to walk along walls to keep from losing my balance. My doctor did the technique you described. It worked. I haven't had it since. Thank you for an interesting and informative lens.

    • WebMarketingPro profile image

      WebMarketingPro 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thank you. I would get sick on long car rides as a kid, and I get seasick on boats (and small planes). A cruise is NOT my idea of a perfect vacation!

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Only when pregnant and being driven up steep and windy mountain roads :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks for the information! very helpful

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My disabled daughter has this problem. She has tried the technique and it really helps. As this article indicated, the crystals that have moved out of position are what causes the problem. The exercise helps them go back where they belong. Sometimes, as in my daughters case, some crystals can become attached to the tissue in the "wrong place" That makes the problem more difficult, but usually the crystals float and will return to their reservoir. Some ear doctors and physical therapy departments have a way of testing for this condition. You wear a pair of night vision binoculars while doing the technique. The binoculars are attached to a monitor that focuses on eye movements. An unusual "shudder" of the iris is a pretty good indicator that crystals are out of place. It's not 100%, but if you suffer from frequent vertigo it's worth asking about.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      amazing information, I will remember this for future reference. Thank you.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Jadelynx-HP: as I understand it, the movement shifts the crystals into a cul-de-sac type area where they cause less hassle.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Love the new intro photo on this awesome article. :)

    • Jadelynx-HP profile image

      Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

      I am curious as to why this would cure the problem. Did your doctor tell you ? Very informative lens, well done :)

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      Yes, but I am usually aware enough to plan to take an antinausea pill before the event, like going whale watching for instance. But recently I was suddenly driven onto the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina by my step-daughter when I casually stated I would like to drive it some time. I haven't been that sick in a long time. I would have cheerfully died and it was the longest drive ever. This technique seems too simple to be true, but if I could find someone to do it, I would.

    • RichLeighHD profile image

      RichLeighHD 5 years ago

      As a child I was an incredibly bad traveller and virtually every time travelling any serious distance it made me physically ill. As I got older it became less severe however and I now can't even remember the last time I suffered from it. I do still take precautions mind you and try to avoid sitting in the backseat where possible, but that's just as a precaution really rather than due to any specific experiences in recent years.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Thanks for this. I get these attacks from time to time, but I have never tried this technique. Good to know there is a cure, of sorts..

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I don't, but my husband and kids do. I've never heard of the Epley maneuver - hopefully it will work for them.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Great info! My husband suffers from motion sickness, I'll have to get him onto this. Angel blessed

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 5 years ago from London

      I get it periodically without travelling. The last bout this June woke me up in the middle of the night with a jolt as I felt my bed falling through the floor. It took 2 weeks lying flat and very still for my altimeter to settle down again. Yuck.

      I'd heard of this manoeuvre, but was very nervous of it...maybe I'll have the courage to try it now. Thanks Ann.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Fantastic information for those that suffer from vertigo! I love DIY techniques that help one to recover from these things. Blessings! :)

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Virginia Allain: a half somersault Virginia? Now that is something I would love to see, it has invoke images I can't quite get out of my head - :0) but glad it worked nevertheless.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I had it earlier this summer with the vomiting. Using the Epley maneuver helped some, but a retired nurse brought me a new maneuver, called the half somersault. It cleared it up and the vertigo hasn't returned. Hurrah!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Vertigo is one of the worst experiences to go through. Interesting and informative lens.

    • profile image

      RepresentativeDizzy 5 years ago

      I'm so inspired by stories like this. I love GREAT outcomes...

      I have had bouts of vertigo before and was always told they could not be treated. NOW, I actually work for a facility that specializes in testing and treating dizziness, vertigo and concussions. It's amazing that the tiny inner ear can do so much damage on everyday life and activities.

      I always feel so bad for patients when they come in because some of them have been debilitated for so long.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      As a child I suffered from vertigo. I was like you sick, sick just driving from our home uphiill to town - 10 minutes. (I became a very good walker!) One weekend we travelled to the lake to have a picnic. The road was very windy and I was sitting in the backseat. I became very, very ill and was brought home. I slept for 2 whole days. After that I could ride in the backseat of a car, bus, airplane, and even read while riding. No sickness. Too bad, I passed this illness on to my daughter so I'm going to let her read this lens.

      Your lead picture just might start another attack for me. I couldn't look at it for long and my stomach started to lurch. Angel Blessings**

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 5 years ago

      The few times I've had dizziness were not fun. I can't imagine having it all the time. Your personal story and additional information is sure to help others with this condition.

    • jonijones profile image

      jonijones 5 years ago

      Very important info, i knew someone that suffered from vertigo..

    • natalier1210 profile image

      natalier1210 5 years ago

      Wow. I do not, but I know someone who does. Great information!

    • beckyf profile image

      beckyf 5 years ago

      Yes, both, and it's horrible!

    • profile image

      djroll 5 years ago

      No, but I know someone who does. Will pass this on to her. Thanks!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Those buses in the 50s and 60s were bad though. I think it was the suspension. I never actually vomit but I do feel funny, especially in a boat. I still love boats though.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

      As you know I have suffered terribly from this for ages, and you mentioned this technique before to me, thankfully it has not returned! you were a life saver as at its worst I ended up in hospital with it!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      It is impossible for me to sit in the back seat of a car. From an early age I remember being a motion sickness vomiter. The only thing that helped as a child was sitting in the front seat or taking gravel. Gravel does nasty things to me though. If I am going on long trips over a few days I will take children's gravel (about 15mg) to take the edge off. I find having saltines accessible also helps a lot.

    • IncomeFromHomeT profile image

      IncomeFromHomeT 5 years ago

      I never suffered from this as a child, but after I became pregnant everything changed! No more roller coasters, or canoes on the lake for me! It has faded over the years, but occasionally it'll get bad again. I had found something online that's similar to the Epley Maneuver, an exercise that involves laying crossways on your bed with your head hanging over the side and towards the side affected and gently nodding for a minute or so, then turning the head in the other direction and holding the position. It's very similar, but not quite the same. It helped me quite a bit, though I had to repeat it from time to time.

      Thank you for the information, I'm sure it will help a lot of folks.

    • profile image

      CapnFatz 5 years ago

      I didn't know I suffered from vertigo until I stared the image in your intro. Holy Smoke!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      That's pretty interesting, great lens. I get really dizzy.

    • profile image

      cybernunchuck-mic 5 years ago

      I get motion sick on anything in the water, unless I am the driver then its cool.

    • dancerene profile image

      dancerene 5 years ago

      My husband has it occasionally. Maybe we could try the Epley Technique if it happens in the future. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Interesting technique! I suffer from motion sickness, but haven't found anything that works.

    • profile image

      BradKamer 5 years ago

      Motion sickness infrequently. It was bad a child riding in car too low to look at the window. Avoid cruise ships to this day.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to but not anymore now. Got used to moving a lot.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Found breathing out slowly through the nose helped it to ease off as we have huge mountain road here so I was travel sick a few times but then I got over it like I said.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Did do not now thank goodness it's a real misery sometimes.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Labyrinthitis (vestibular neuronitis) haunted me on and off for nearly a decade. Not fun! The first bout was extreme; after that it reduced in severity over the years. I haven't had it for some time now.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Great lens! I have to say just lookng at the cover photo made me dizzy! LOL! I'm pretty fortunate that I've only had a couple of bouts of motion sickness - once on a rough crossing from the South Island to the North Island in New Zealand years ago. THAT was tough... I'm so glad that you found this technique! I'm sure your lens is going to help a lot of people. Congratulations on the honors you've received w/ your LOTD and Purple Star as well!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Hello there, and congrats to you, front page neighbor! I saw your poster on the front page and when I couldn't bear watching it moving, I decided to click in and check it out! WOW that picture drives me crazy. I have had one horrid episode of vertigo that lasted a good solid two weeks. I couldn't hold myself up straight, walk without holding onto things... I've never felt so sick in my whole life. It happened back around 4 years ago. They sent me to an ENT specialist who determined I had an inner ear problem. The vertigo resolved very suddenly, never to return. I'm sure hoping it never does again, but I'm very glad to know about this great information now!! Thank you for a great lens, blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My son suffers horribly, medications don't work over the counter or natural and neither do the wrist bands. He has it so bad he can't drive as he gets dizzy and sick behind the wheel. Thanks so much for this info it is something I most certainly going to look into!

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 5 years ago

      I don't suffer from this, but I have friends and family who do. Thanks for a great informative lens!

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      I have occasionally suffered from both, but for the most part they aren't a problem for me. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ann, nice to see you again. I am fortunate not to suffer from this very often, but I'll take a look at the technique in case I need it. Blessed.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      No! But thanks for precious info on this subject. Congrats for making to home page

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      I have had this feeling while driving before and had to pull over, great lens and Angel Blessings!

    • Cdoimne profile image

      Cdoimne 5 years ago

      Only sometimes while in a car but I have motion bands that I used to use and it only happens in very rare occasions when I'm driving for prolonged periods of time.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      I sffer yerribly in boats. I've even been travelsick on a pedalo!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Yes I have all my life. I wear bands on my wrist, seem to help. Nice lens, but your photo in intro makes me feel sick just looking at it and I am not moving.

      All the best for your entry.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      I've never had motion sickness and actually enjoy going on boats in rough water and flying upside down on carnival rides. But I have several family members who get carsick just on windy roads. I'll pass this along to them. Thanks!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'm a terrible backseat rider due to motion sickness but oddly enough I do well on boats. Interesting treatment technique. BTW, your intro photo is evil to all that suffer LOL just kiddin'

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I don't but my daughter did as a child and my daughter in law suffers from it if driving very far. Good information. I imagine this will help a lot of people.