How to stop Fainting: Understanding Treatments
If you have been diagnosed as having fainted, understanding what happens when we faint is the key to stopping. In this section focuses on how to turn your understanding of WHY you might faint into action which can STOP you fainting.
To prevent or reduce episodes of fainting you need to understand about the importance of:
BLOOD POOLING AND HOW TO STOP IT
Prolonged standing or sitting still often allows blood to pool downwards. The quickest way to avoid this leading to a faint is to lay down and raise your legs when you start to get warning signs. However before that think of ways to prevent it happening! Click on our explanations about how squeezing our leg muscles can help you stop fainting.
Why does squeezing my leg muscles help me stop fainting?
Unfortunately, we can’t just tell or will the blood vessels to stop blood pooling. However, we can help stop blood pooling by using the powerful muscles in our calves, thighs and buttocks to help. These are called ISOMETRIC COUNTER PRESSURE EXERCISES.
Try tensing up your calves, thigh and buttock muscles which will squeeze the blood back up towards the heart and brain to improve symptoms. Do this before you stand up OR when you are standing for a while to stop the blood pooling down.
In addition the squeezing your leg muscles, you can help prevent blood pooling by wearing Compression tights or socks. Ideally, we would suggest Grade 2 waist height compression tights. Your NHS GP can prescribe made to measured stockings or tights – although the choice of colours may be limited.
If you are not sure you can tolerate really tight compression hosiery, then try some over the counter firm support tights. Alternatively, try looking at the kind of leggings that cyclists wear.
If fashion is your concern, then there are websites where you can but tights in a variety of colours for upwards of around £35 a pair
THINGS I CAN DO TO STOP FAINTING?
The fundamental starting point and foundation of any treatment for a tendency to faint are Conservative Strategies. We call them conservative because they do not require a doctor to prescribe any medications or make any outside intervention (which have the potential to have a additional and sometime unwanted effect on you).
Drinking more water. Taking more salt. Changing position. Knowing your triggers. Avoiding certain situations. Isometric exercises. Wearing compression tights. These are all important and first line treatments for fainting.
DO NOT underestimate them just because they seem too simple and don’t come with a prescription!
However, sometimes you may require a little more help.
GETTING HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS
If you are engaging all conservative measures adequately but still not achieving good control of your symptoms, your health professional may now give you a prescription of medications which can help to boost your blood pressure and also to hold on to more fluids in your body. The common medications that are prescribed as second line treatment options are Midodrine and Fludrocortisone.
TALKING THERAPIES AND MINDFULNESS
The mechanism of blood pressure control is dictated by the Autonomic nervous system and the ‘flight or fight’ instinct which is activated when the body perceives a threat. We may not always appreciate what that threat may be. Nor might we think that our body’s response is particularly helpful (such as when we faint having blood taken!). Nevertheless it highlights how the mind and physical body and intricately connected. Moreover, how we interpret and manage both the signs and experience of vasovagal syncope can have a profound impact on our lives. For this reason, we fully support the use of Talking Therapies and activities such as meditation and Mindfulness with our patients.
Click on the video from Dr Opie
3 Tips On Coping with Fainting by our Psychologist
EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL THERAPY
Your health professional may also recommend physical therapy and exercise.This is to help improve muscle strength and tone. This in turn improves muscle contraction and the squeezing of blood back to the heart.
When people experience dizzy spells or frequent symptoms of fainting, they may (quite understandably) become less active. However this only leads to physical de- conditioning which can make the symptoms worse.
Watch the video with Dr Jane Simmons for a physiotherapist viewpoint.