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How to Overcome Health and Ear Balance Problems try the Cawthorne-Cooksey Exercises

I love writing about a variety of different subjects. I hope you enjoy my view on these subjects and will appreciate your honest opinion.

Feeling run down!

Feeling run down!

The Cawthorne-Cooksey Exercises

This exercise program was given to me by my doctor as a result of damage to the balance organ of the inner ear, in my case it has caused dizziness and loss of balance also known as vertigo and can make you feel very ill.

Wow! Looking at them makes me feel dizzy!

Wow! Looking at them makes me feel dizzy!

The ears and the control of balance

Apparently, the two balance organs, one located in each of the inner ears, send information about head movement and position to the balance centre's in the brain. This information is essential fro the maintenance of balance. The two ears work together: the information from them must normally agree in order for the brain to make sense of it.

When either ear is damaged, the sensory inputs to the brain do not agree. This results in dizziness and imbalance and it feels like sea-sickness and in the case of vertigo the sensation feels like your surroundings are moving and you can also sometimes feel sick and want to be sick.

Believe me it is very unpleasant.

Now that is balanced!

Now that is balanced!

How does vertigo get better?

Damage to the inner ear, whatever the cause, is often permanent. The resultant vertigo and imbalance, however, usually improve rapidly. Eventually the sense of balance should return to normal, even after the complete loss of an inner ear. This recovery occurs because the balance centres in the brain learn to compensate for the loss of sensory input.

The brain compensation process is faster in young people and may sometimes be incomplete in the elderly. It is also affected by stress and will be slower if you are too anxious about your balance.

Stress, that awful word again!

The most important factor, however is movement. The sensation of vertigo and imbalance is usually made worse by movement, and your or mine in this case natural tendency when dizzy is (at least initially) to remain as still as possible. Paradoxically, this lack of movement will seriously delay the recovery process. The Cawthorne-Cooksey Exercises introduce you or me in this case to a carefully graded programme of gentle mobilisation and stimulation of the balance system, speeding up the restoration of a sense of balance, by provoking mild, brief and easily tolerated dizziness which is under my own control..

Full recovery is likely to take two to three months (noway!). During the recovery period, it is advised you return to normal activity, including work and sports as soon as possible.

It is also important, during the recovery period, to make as much use as possible of vision, the other main sensory input to the balance centres in the brain. Good vision can over-ride poor inner ear function. In order to make best use of eyesight at all times, you should ensure that lighting is good if you have to get up at night, (that explains why I bumped into the door last night!) and that you wear effective glasses if needed. If possible, avoid bifocal or multifocal lenses during this period, not helpful if you do actually wear this type of glasses!


This video looks at exercises for balance and dizziness

Lets move on to how to practice the Cawthorne-Cooksey Exercises

I was told that the sooner and more regularly the exercise programe is carried out, the faster and more complete will be the recovery of balance and the return to normal activity.

All of the exercises are graded into "levels". My doctor told me to start at the top of the list and progress down as I improve and that I must do enough to induce (bring on) mild dizziness or imbalance, but it is counter-productive to overdo them and that I must not make myself feel sick.

My doctor also advised me that I would only be able to carry out a few of the exercises in the course of each session: which ones I choose can be varied a little from session to session and that I must not try to work right through the list in one go! He said to time the sessions as the exercises are boring and that I may find it helpful to listen to music or the radio while I exercise.

Even if you are very dizzy, you may safely start with level 1 (eye movements). Ideally, I should aim to begin with a combination of exercises from levels 1 to 3. It can be helpful, when you first start, to mark on a chart (on a scale of 0-3) how dizzy each exercise makes me feel (or if your intending to do these exercises) It is possible then to measure progress by repeating this assessment on a weekly or monthly basis. (See chart later on in hub.)

Scroll to Continue
Lets get balanced!

Lets get balanced!

Perform each set of movements just fast enough to produce a slight sense of dizziness or imbalance at the completion of the set of 10 or 20. (If you feel dizzy before completing the set, (and believe me you will!) do the next set a little more quickly, and so on. As your balance improves, you should speed up. If any exercise does not make you dizzy no matter how fast you do it, then you should drop that particular exercise from the program and move on down the list. This means that eventually you are tailoring the exercise programme to your own precise needs by seeking out those movements that induce slight dizziness, and performing them at the appropriate speed.

It can be helpful to combine in each session an exercise from each level when the exercises have been carried out for a few weeks

When you have been doing the exercises for a few weeks, it can be helpful to combine in each session an exercise from each level. Once you feel that your balance is back to normal, you can stop doing the exercises (even if they still make you dizzy). He said I could always go back to them again in the event of my dizziness returning and that they would be just as effective a second time.

The Level 6 exercises are designed more to boost confidence in your balance than to make you dizzy. They can usefully be introduced at an earlier stage, depending on how you feel.

My doctor went on to say not to exhaust or hurt myself. Some of the exercises are quite strenuous. If I suffer excessive tiredness, breathlessness, joint or back pains, to miss out the exercises that are likely to bring on those problems, or to do them more gently.

Let's go through the Cawthorne-Cooksey Exercises

Level 1

Eye movements (SITTING, KEEPING HEAD STILL)

Carry out each movement 20 times in each direction.

LEVEL 1

Remember
carry out each movement 20 times in each direction in the sitting position and keeping head still

1aLook from left to right and back again, as far to each side as you can

1b

Look up and then down as far each way as you can

1c

Focuse on your finger at arm's length, then move it to within about 6 inches of your nose, making yourself cross-eyed, and back out again

Level 2

Head movements (SITTING)

The aim is to move and stimulate your inner ears, not to exercise your neck. Move as far as you comfortably can in each direction, without jerking, 20 times. Start slowly, with your eyes open. As you improve, speed up and close your eyes.

LEVEL 2

Remember, the aim is to move and stimulate your inner ears, not to exercise your neck.Start slowly, as you improve, speed up, and close your eyes, do 20 times.

2aTurn your head from left to right and back again

2b

Bend your head right forwards and then backwards

Level 3

Shoulder and bending movements (SITTING)

Do each movement 20 times, eyes open to begin with. As you improve, speed the movements up, and do them with eyes closed.

LEVEL 3

Remember, Do each movement 20 times, eyes open to begin with. As you improve, speed the movements up, and do them with eyes closed

3aShrug and circle your shoulders

3b

Bend right forward, with your head down, then sit up again

3c

Drop shoulder and head sideways, to left and then to right

Lying down, head and body movements

Lie flat on your back, without using a pillow, if possible. Do each movement 20 times, eyes open to begin with, then eyes closed.

Remember, for d,e,f ang g you are lying down flat on your back. Do each movement 20 times, eyes open to begin with, then eyes closed

3dRoll head from side to side

3e

Roll whole body from side to side

3f

Sit up straight forwards, then lie flat again

3g

Roll onto your side, sit up with your legs over the edge of the bed, lie down on the opposite side and roll onto your back

Level 4

Standing and bending, eyes open

When placing or throwing an object, head and eyes must follow the object. Repeat each movement 10 times in each direction. If you suffer severe back problems, omit 4a and 4d.

Remember, Repeat each movement 10 times in each direction. If you suffer sever back problems, omit 4a and 4d

4aFrom standing, bend forwards to pick up an object from the floor, then stand up again. Bend and replace object on floor

4b

Turn right round once, first to the right, then to the left

4c

Place an object on your chair, bending your head as you do so. Turn right round and bend to pick it up again. Repeat, turning in the reverse direction

4d

From standing, bend forwards to place an object on the floor. Turn right round and bend to pick it up agin. Repeat, turning in the reverse direction.

4e

Bend to pick up an object from the floor. Stand and reach up, keeping eyes on the object, first to left, then to right, then straight up. Place object back on the floor and stand up again

4f

Throw a ball from hand to hand above eye level (This involves eye and head movement, as wel as general co-ordination)

Moving sitting to standing, eyes open

Repeat each movement 10 times, Omit these exercises if you find them too tiring.

Remember, don't do these exercises if you find them to tiring

4gMove from sitting to standing and back again

4h

Move from sitting to standing, turn right round once, and sit down again. Repeat in reverse direction

 

 

Level 5

Standing and bending, eyes closed

Repeat each movement 10 times in each direction. Open your eyes briefly after each movement, to check on your position. If you suffer sever back problems, omit 5a and 5d.

LEVEL5

Remember, repeat each movement 10 times in each direction.

5aFrom standing, bend forwards to touch the floor, then stand up again

5b

Turn right round once, first to the right, then to the left.

5c

Bend forwards to touch your chair. Stand up, turn right round and again bend to touch your chair. Repeat, turning in the reverse direction.

5d

Bend forwards to touch the floor. Stand up, turn right round and bend to touch it again. Repeat, turning in the reverse directio

5e

From standing, bend to touch the floor. Stand and reach up, first to left, then right, then straight up

Moving sitting to standing, eyes closed

Repeat each movement 10 times. Omit these exercises if you find them too tiring

Remember, repeat each movement 10 times

5fMove from sitting to standing and back again

5g

Move from sitting to standing, turn right round once, and sit down again. Repeat in reverse direction

LEVEL 6

These may be introduced at an earlier stage

Moving around

These exercises are designed to boost your confidence and improve your general sense ofbalance, rather than to induce dizziness. At least to begin with, you should have someone else present when you do those with eyes closed. Repeat each movement 10 times

LEVEL6

Remember, at least to begin with, you should have someone else present when you do those with eyes closed

6aWalk across the room with your eyes open

6b

Walk across the room with your eyes closed

6c

Circle around a companion who will throw you a large ball and to whom you should return it

6d

Walk up and down steps with your eyes open

6e

Walk up and down steps with your eyes closed

Finally, any game or activity involving stooping or turning

Any game or activity involving stooping or turning is useful in improving balance. For the young, any ball game is ideal. Bowls, skittles, croquet or golf are good for all ages.

Would you pass this exercise programme on to others with the same symptoms

To summarise for the benefit of those of you who may try the Cawthorne and Cooksey Exercise Program

I have been working through this program for the past two weeks. My belief is that it does work. However, that said I do believe you need to keep up these exercises for sometime to gain the best results.

(These exercises are based on originally described by Cawthorne and Cooksey, with recent additions from the National Hospital, Queen Square, adapted for use at home without supervision by a physiotherapist)

That' more like it! Balance back in line!

That' more like it! Balance back in line!

When your feeling better you may want to look at the following link for normal exercises and I hope with all my heart that these exercises help you like they are helping me!

Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises

PERSONAL SYMPTOM RATING CHART (Scale 0-3)

Rating Scale:

0 = no symptoms

1 = mild symptoms

2 = moderate symptoms

3 = severe symptoms

(Leave a blank if any particular exercise not attempted)

Personal Symptom Rating Chart

Read through the notes again about completing this chart

Date:              

Level1: Eye Movements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 2: Head movements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 3: Shoulder and bending movements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 3: Lying down, head and body movements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 4: Standing and bending, eyes open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 4: Moving sitting to standing, eyes open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4h

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 5: Moving sitting to standing, eyes closed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 5: Moving sitting to standing, eyes closed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 6: Moving around

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What has the out come of using the exercises been for you?

Please leave a comment I would love to hear your thoughts

I really would!

Comments

Trudy Cooper (author) from Hampshire, UK on February 27, 2015:

Thank you lisapikey, I can recommend you try them if you ever get these symptoms, it plays havoc with balance! I am still suffering now :(

Trudy Cooper (author) from Hampshire, UK on February 27, 2015:

Tai Chi, I hadn't thought of that! I need to see if there are any local classes in my area, this has really knocked me for six. The computer causes me really big problems, I find myself going dizzy. The exercises have really helped however and that is why I wanted to share the information. Thanks aesta1 I will be looking into Tai chi for the future.

Lisa Pikey from Liverpool on February 27, 2015:

Great hub some useful tips here!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 27, 2015:

I will definitely try this. We do some of these exercises before we start tai chi. I suppose tai chi is also to promote balance.

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