Vertigo and Dizziness

Vertigo is a feeling of spinning dizziness.  People with vertigo have the illusion that the environment is moving about them, or that they are moving with respect to the environment.  

The condition usually originates in the peripheral nervous system, which can affect the inner ear and, as a consequence, balance.  The most common causes include:

  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – where specific head movements cause vertigo
  • labyrinthitis – an inner ear infection caused by a cold or flu virus
  • vestibular neuronitis – inflammation of the vestibular nerve
  • Ménière's disease – a rare inner ear condition, which sometimes involves ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or loss of hearing
  • migraine
  • some types of medicine – check the leaflet to see if it's listed as a side effect
  • pathology in the Central Nervous System (CNS), such as haemorrhages and ischaemia
  • CNS tumours and infection
  • trauma

Sometimes, however the cause is unknown.

How acupuncture can help

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress.

Studies have shown that Acupuncture may help to relieve vertigo by:

•activating the left superior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, and dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus, and stimulating the release of acupuncture-specific neural substrates in the cerebellum (Yoo 2044);

•increasing blood flow velocity in the vertebral-basilar artery, thus improving cervical vertigo (Li 2011; Qi 2011; Kang 2008)

•increasing endorphins (Han 2004) and neuropeptide Y levels (Lee 2009), which can help to combat negative affective states;

•stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987; Zhao 2008; Cheng 2009);

•reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007);

•increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling

(Please contact me if you would like details of the research)

Dizziness Vertigo Steve Coster Acupuncture