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Acupuncture for vertigo

Vertigo is feeling like everything around you is spinning. It's worse than dizziness.

Vertigo can be caused by a problem with your inner ear called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Other causes of vertigo include sudden head movements, inflammation within the inner ear, viral or bacterial inner ear infection, ménière disease, vestibular neuritis, tumours, decreased blood flow to the base of the brain, multiple sclerosis, head trauma, neck injury, migraine and headaches and complications from diabetes.

In traditional Chinese medicine vertigo can be caused by intense anger or a chronic lack of blood.

Symptoms of vertigo

Symptoms of vertigo vary from person to person and can include:

  • A sensation of disorientation or motion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Hearing loss
  • A ringing sensation in the ears
  • Visual disturbances
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • A decreased level of consciousness
  • Difficulty walking

Treatment of vertigo

A popular complementary and alternative medicine treatment for vertigo is acupuncture. Research has shown that acupuncture is able to help relieve symptoms of vertigo.

Acupuncture may help to relieve vertigo by:

  • Activating the left superior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, and dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus
  • Increasing blood flow velocity in the vertebrobasilar artery
  • Increasing endorphins and neuropeptide Y levels, which can help to combat negative affective states
  • Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling

Factsheet

Download my vertigo factsheet.

References

Ai-ping, W. Research progress of acupuncture in treating cervical vertigo. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 2, 57–60 (2004) doi: 10.1007/BF02861420.
WANG Chuhuai, ZHUO Dahong. A preliminary evaluation of symptoms and functions of patients with cervical vertigo. CHINESE JOURNAL OF REHABILITATION MEDICINE, 1998-06.
Chiu, C., Lee, T., Hsu, P. et al. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for dizziness and vertigo in emergency department: a pilot cohort study. BMC Complement Altern Med 15, 173 (2015) doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0704-6.
Qiong HUANG. Fifty Cases of Vertebrobasilar Ischemic Vertigo Treated by Acupuncture, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Volume 29, Issue 2, 2009, Pages 87-89, ISSN 0254-6272, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0254-6272(09)60038-8.
Zhang, X. Treatment of 65 cases of cervical vertigo treated by acupuncture plus medication. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 4, 339–341 (2006) doi: 10.1007/s11726-006-0339-8.
Xue-ying, Z., Gui-zhen, Y. Treatment of 40 cases of cervical vertigo by acupuncture. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 1, 41–42 (2003) doi: 10.1007/BF02850952.