Cawthorne Exercises for Dizziness

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Problems with the inner ear can cause feelings of extreme dizziness. A series of exercises, known as Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises, were developed in 1950 to help stop the dizziness. The exercises aim to re-train the brain to deal with the inner ear problem without causing vertigo or dizziness. Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises consist of four different types, including eye, head, sitting, standing and moving exercises.

Eye Exercises

  • Without moving your head, slowly look up and down. Next, look to the left, and then look to the right. Hold your index finger in front of your face. Continue to focus on your finger as you move it away from your face and close to your face again. After doing each of these exercises slowly a few times, do them more rapidly.

Head Exercises

  • Keep your eyes open as you perform the first set of head exercises. Bend your head forward, and then bend it backwards. Repeat this exercise 20 times. Move your head to the left, and then move your head to the right. Repeat this exercise 20 times. Once you've done these exercises slowly, try doing them quickly. When you can complete the exercises with your eyes open, try to do them with your eyes closed.

Sitting Exercises

  • Sit down on the edge of a bed or on a chair. Shrug your shoulders up and down 20 times. Rotate your shoulders so your chest faces the right side of the room. Rotate your shoulders to the left so your chest faces the left side of the room. Repeat these shoulder turns 20 times. Place an object on the floor in front of you as you continue to sit in your chair. Bend down and pick up the object, and bring it back up. Repeat this 20 times.

Standing Exercises

  • Sit down in a chair, and practice standing up with your eyes open. Repeat this 20 times. If you are able to stand up without feeling dizzy, try it with your eyes closed. Stand up, and throw a small ball from hand to hand. The ball should be thrown above eye level. Lower the ball, and throw it back and forth at knee level. Make a 360-degree turn with your eyes open. Try it with your eyes closed once you can do it without feeling dizzy.

Moving Exercises

  • Walk across the room 20 times with your eyes open. Make sure the room is free of clutter, and walk across the room 20 times with your eyes closed. Walk up and down a flight of stairs with your eyes open. Very carefully try this with your eyes closed, but hold onto a handrail to keep yourself from falling.


  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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