Finding Balance Through Acupuncture
Vertigo isn’t simply standing at the edge of a tall building and feeling scared. Instead, when the sensations your body is receiving about your location don’t match what your eyes are seeing, or the rest of your body perceives, the dizziness, nausea, unbalance, and discomfort of vertigo can become debilitating.
Maybe you woke up, and even before you sat up, the room felt like it was spinning wildly. Or perhaps after a car accident, you’ve had persistent dizziness. Vertigo can come on suddenly or slowly over time, depending on the exact nature of the presentation. It can make even simple daily activities much more challenging, from moving around familiar spaces to eating and drinking. Some patients even report that lying down in bed results in unpleasant vertigo, nausea, and dizziness.
What Causes Vertigo?
Understanding vertigo requires understanding how the brain processes information for balance. Rather than relying on outside cues, the brain takes information gathered from the human body to determine its position relative to space. This bio-information comes from tiny crystals floating in the encapsulated labyrinth of fluids deep within the ear canal. The position of these crystals tells the brain all it needs to know. However, as with any labyrinth, it is easy to get lost, and sometimes the crystals wander. When this happens, the brain begins receiving conflicting information, which it then interprets as vertigo.
Other causes are swelling in the ear canal, reducing the small crystal's ability to move freely, other inflammation in that area of the body, head trauma, sinus issues, dehydration, low blood sugar, or side effects from other medications. Vertigo can also be caused by the other end of the ear-brain connection. When the brain suffers from issues such as migraines, multiple sclerosis, certain types of tumors, or strokes, the brain’s ability to correctly process the information it receives is impaired, leading to vertigo.
Vertigo can develop as the result of simple aging or be a sign of a more severe illness. These causes can be equally, frustratingly broad, anywhere from a long-past childhood illness to a co-occurring symptom with migraines to diseases such as Meniere’s. Meniere’s disease involves fluid build-up in the inner pathways of the ear and does not currently have a cure. Patients with Meniere’s must seek treatment but know their symptoms will inevitably resurface.
Managing Symptoms of Vertigo
Due to the myriad causes of vertigo, there isn’t one simple treatment that universally cures every case. For certain types of vertigo, treatments like changes in medication, anti-inflammatory medication, or simple time can be helpful. Suppose the ear crystals have simply wandered out of place. In that case, a professional may help the patient through a series of specific positional changes, called the Epley Maneuver, to help shepherd them back into place. However, the treatment is only effective on a few of the causes of vertigo and can worsen others, so it is essential to rule out more significant health issues before beginning.
Often vertigo comes on suddenly and debilitatingly, landing you in the emergency room. The number one complaint of all people who come into the ER involves some form of dizziness or vertigo. Of course, many of these are side effects of other, more severe diseases. Once those have been ruled out, your doctor or medical professional may recommend first-line treatments, such as medications, which carry their own potential side effects. But what if there were another way, a safer treatment that was effective on many causes of vertigo with no side effects?
Acupuncture for Vertigo
An acupuncturist can use acupuncture to reduce the duration of vertigo symptoms, irrespective of the cause. While acupuncture treatment may not cure the underlying cause of vertigo if it is a long-term disease or ailment, the cessation of the symptoms of vertigo can have a profound, positive impact.
Many of the longer-term ailments that lead to vertigo are accompanied by heart rate variability, which is a serious concern, particularly in patients with underlying health issues. Research has shown that acupuncture improves heart rate variability, as well as reduces the symptoms of vertigo, making it a safe and effective treatment for most patients.
Regardless of the cause of vertigo, patients suffering from this persistent dizziness in emergency and non-emergent situations can find relief in acupuncture, stimulating the body's healing energy and unblocking channels of energy flow. Aside from the medical understanding of vertigo, the brain-ear connection, the body’s own energy, can also explain feelings of dizziness when a person’s energy is unbalanced. This more metaphysical unbalance can lead to literal feelings of unbalance. Treating the body’s energy field through acupuncture manipulation can create smooth flows instead of blockages, reducing vertigo symptoms. Acupuncture also treats vertigo by stimulating the body’s own healing, reducing inflammation, and rebalancing a person’s energy.
Any time a person suddenly experiences vertigo, serious health problems should be ruled out first. After that, however, safe, effective treatment with acupuncture from a professional acupuncturist is an amazingly successful treatment route with very few, if any, negative side effects.
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!