Running with vertigo

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Photo by Davon Michel on

So for days I’ve been trying to find any posts that had to do with people who had vertigo and whether or not it was okay to go running. I couldn’t find anything at all, just a few articles about people getting vertigo after a long run.

I decided to become the test subject for this and to write my findings for others like me who may be looking to run or train after developing vertigo.

I should first state that I am not a doctor, nor am I an expert in anything. I am sharing my anecdotal experience and it is entirely up to you and your medical team to determine if this is okay or safe for you to do.

One of the first questions I asked each of my doctors, the PT, the Chiro, the ER, ENT, Neuro and my primary physician was whether or not I could train after this nasty bout of vertigo. 4 out of 6 told me that I could train, the other 2 told me to take it easy and rest. All of them did express that I should be careful because a real danger with vertigo is falling. This is particularly dangerous for older folks. The falls are the biggest risks we face. I mean, obviously, don’t drive or operate heavy machinery if you are dizzy. That should be a given.

So after 2 months of rest and recovery, I decided that it was time to get back to running. At least until the gyms open soon I hope. I have to say, during my run, I didn’t really feel dizzy at all. It was no different than when I walk around.

At some points I felt a little weird, but you have to consider that not only have I been idle for nearly 2 months, I’ve gained nearly 30 pounds, and the weather is extremely hot and humid. These are all factors besides the vertigo that could make me feel weird.

Physically I am sore, my legs and lower back hurt, but again, this is to be expected as so much time off. It should also be noted that I did not ease back into it. I mean, I intended to run 2 miles and take the easy path. However, once I started running and reached the 2 mile halfway marker, it got good to me and I kept going. I also took all the hard hills and pushed myself the whole time.

I don’t recommend doing things this way, I’m just a savage when it comes to quitting. My mindset is not the healthiest when it comes to training. Here is a taste of my self talk as I struggled up the hills, “Are you going to die? If you are, then die already! Otherwise you will not stop! You will not stop! Better to die than live this disgusting way!” Yeah, I’m not very kind to myself. In fact, I’ve censored the words and language I actually use.

After my run, probably due to this aforementioned approach I had a terrible headache. It took two rounds of advil for me to be able to fall asleep. To be transparent, whenever I do that hard run, even before vertigo, I got really bad headaches. I don’t think they are related.

In summary, I was able to run and felt steady for pretty much the nearly 5 miles that I ran. I felt nice and steady even on the hills. Before doing this, you have to gauge how you are feeling lately. My vertigo appears to only happen on certain head angles, though somedays its just feisty and kicks my butt. But lately I have been well enough to try. If you are having trouble walking about, perhaps it is not yet time to run. As I mentioned earlier, check with your doctors. In my case, I had no issues and was able to run the “hard” run I was running before I took ill. Though my legs and back are paying the price today, the vertigo seems to be under control.

As a matter of fact, today I went to a zumba class at the park and didn’t feel any dizziness whatsoever after yesterday’s run. With the gyms opening soon, and the fact that I am instructor, it’s really time for me to get my act together.

Let me know your thoughts or experience with training and vertigo. Also, please remember, I’m not a doctor or expert. Do not neglect medical advice around this, it’s serious stuff. Stay safe and best of luck on your journey.

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