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Colorado Doctor Finds Way To Treat Common Vertigo

Simple Fix To Vertigo Continues To Be Widely Viewed Online Video by CBS Colorado on YouTube

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - More than seven million people in the U.S. suffer from vertigo with 50,000 in the Denver area alone. The symptoms include feeling surroundings spinning when nothing is moving.

Now there's a new do-it-yourself way to treat the most common form of vertigo. CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh met the doctor who discovered the maneuver. Dr. Carol Foster is at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Foster's recently published research is a breakthrough in the treatment of vertigo and could be life-changing for people who are disabled at times by extreme dizzy spells.

"You're rolling over in bed and suddenly you're hit with this incredible spinning and you see the room going around like you're in the inside of a washing machine," Foster said.

Foster has experienced the most common form called positional vertigo. It happens when particles in the ear that sense gravity get dislodged and end up in spinning sensors.

"It can make people have falls, they can be unable to go to work because they're so dizzy, they can be vomiting," Foster said. "So it's very, very unpleasant."

Foster is director of the Balance Laboratory at the CU School of Medicine. One morning, in treating herself, she came up with her own spin on how to fix vertigo at home. It's called the "Half Somersault Maneuver." Patients put their head upside down like they are going to do a somersault. They wait for dizziness to end then raise their head to back level. They then wait again for dizziness to end and then sit back quickly

Vertigo Dr. Carol Foster
Dr. Carol Foster instructs how to properly do the Half Somersault Maneuver (credit: CBS)

"And that causes the particles to leave the semicircular canal," Foster said.

A six-month study showed patents preferred the exercise over the one commonly used by doctors.

"I was surprised at how well it worked," Foster said.

Foster has posted the breakthrough on the Internet.

"My goal in life is to basically get rid of all dizziness on the planet Earth," she said.

She's on her way -- one half somersault at a time.

People liked the half somersault because they weren't as dizzy and had fewer side effects. None of those patients returned to the doctor for dizziness treatments.

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