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Muscle techniques can help those who get dizzy when standing up

Experts say tensing the lower body muscles after sitting or standing can help regulate blood pressure and heart rate

Headache or dizziness concept
Photo (c) AsiaVision - Getty Images
Are you one of the many people who experience dizziness when first standing up? If so, then you just might have a condition called initial orthostatic hypotension (IOH). 

Consumers who have IOH get dizzy when they stand up because of a brief decrease in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate. In some cases, this can even cause consumers to pass out after standing up.

In a recent study, researchers found two muscle techniques that may be beneficial for patients with IOH to minimize feelings of lightheadedness after standing. By activating the lower body muscles, IOH patients may improve their overall quality of life. 

“Almost everyone has probably experienced some lightheadedness at some time after standing up,” said researcher Dr. Satish R. Raj. “For some people, this is a frequent occurrence and may happen several times a day, which can be very frightening and negatively affect their quality of life. We wanted to explore this further and provide novel and effective symptom management techniques with the goal of improving the IOH patient’s quality of life.” 

Improving quality of life

The researchers had 24 young adult women with IOH who had a history of dizziness and loss of consciousness after standing up participate in the study. The participants all experienced significant changes in blood pressure upon standing, and the goal of the study was to test different muscle exercises designed to help alleviate these symptoms. 

The team tested two interventions in this trial. The first was called PREACT, which involved pre-activating the thigh muscles by repeatedly raising the knees before standing; the second was called TENSE, which involved tensing the thigh and buttocks muscles through leg crossing after standing. 

The study proved that both of these methods were effective at reducing dizziness symptoms related to IOH. By doing either of these muscle exercises, IOH patients can help reduce their risk of fainting, losing consciousness, or experiencing dizziness upon standing. 

“Our study provides a novel and cost-free symptom management technique that patients with IOH can use to manage their symptoms,” said researcher Nasia A. Sheikh. “Since it is a physical maneuver, it simply requires the lower body limbs, which patients can utilize at any time and from anywhere to combat their symptoms.” 

The researchers hope these findings are useful for consumers who could be struggling with IOH. They say mplementing these strategies can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve consumers' overall quality of life. 

“Our study demonstrates the physiology of IOH and assesses the utility of physical maneuvers that can help the IOH patient manage their symptoms,” said researcher Mary Runté, Ph.D. “A diagnosis of IOH is identified by patients as their first critical step to empowering them to understand and master their symptoms and thus minimize the disruptions to daily living caused by this common, but not commonly understood, condition.” 

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