Vertigo and dizziness are very common, affecting about 20 to 30 percent of the general population. The problem is three times more likely with women as it is with men, and it can affect any age.
Vertigo is the result of a mismatch between the signals in the ear and eye. This confuses the brain, resulting in the sensation of feeling off balance. There are two main categories of vertigo: peripheral (resulting from an inner ear issue) and central (resulting from disease or damage to the central nervous system, particularly the brain).
Types of Vertigo
Peripheral vertigo is the most common category. It typically results from the following conditions:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Meniere’s disease
- Vestibular neuronitis
Twenty percent of vertigo is central vertigo. Central vertigo may result from a stroke, brain tumor, migraine or multiple sclerosis. It can also be from a sports-related injury or a virus that affects the brain. This type of vertigo is more intense and longer-lasting than peripheral vertigo.
Vertigo can also be categorized by its perception of symptoms. These categories are:
- Objective (the person has the sense that stationary objects are moving)
- Subjective (the person feels he/she is moving)
- Pseudo-vertigo (the person has a strong sense that there is rotation within the head)
Acupuncture as a Treatment Option for Vertigo
Acupuncture, an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is a widespread treatment for dizziness and vertigo. Practitioners of acupuncture believe that dizziness and similar ailments are a result of the body’s imbalances. They use this TCM practice to alleviate symptoms by restoring that balance.
In addition, acupuncture is also tied to the concept that disease is the result of a disruption of the flow of qi (energy) in the body. Qi is believed to flow through the pathways (meridians) in the body, creating 350 acupuncture points.
The Western perspective of acupuncture contends that the needles stimulating the acupuncture points lead the nervous system to release hormones and endorphins (the “feel good” brain chemicals) in the brain, muscles and blood stream. It is understood that these chemicals can alter the experience of pain, as well as stimulate the body’s natural healing ability.
The acupuncture points selected to treat dizziness are determined by the individual being treated and can differ from patient to patient. These points depend on the practitioner’s understanding of the patient’s symptoms. However, a common location to place the thin acupuncture needle for dizziness is on top of the foot. This location is used to relieve a variety of symptoms in addition to dizziness, including anxiety and headaches.
The Impact of Acupuncture on Vertigo
The impact of acupuncture on vertigo was exemplified in a study where 34 patients suffering from Meniere’s disease were treated with acupuncture and saw their condition greatly improve.
Meniere’s disease is one of the aforementioned sub-categories of peripheral vertigo. This is an inner ear disorder that causes a sense of spinning, tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and, ultimately, hearing loss. It mostly affects those between 40 and 60 years old, occurring in one in every 1,000 people. The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, but vertigo appears to be the most distressing symptom.
In any event, after a few acupuncture sessions, vertigo stopped in all 34 cases in the study. This was after multiple medical treatments were tried without satisfactory results, proving that acupuncture had a profound effect.
At Spinal Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, we are experts in assessing patients with relevant conditions and administering acupuncture treatments when indicated. We offer a fully integrated approach to care. With years of combined experience, our specialists collaborate together in order to provide high-quality, customizable care using techniques from acupuncture, physical therapy, massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation.
For more information on acupuncture for vertigo or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.