I’m frequently suprised at the waxing and waning of symptomology that comes into my clinic. What I’m referring to is the number of patients that come in around the same time with the same complaint. Just in the past week I have had three patients come in with complaints of vertigo and dizziness. The ages of ¬†the patients are between 29 and 79 and the causes of onset very different, but the symptoms are very similar.

In one case, the patient has been to numerous doctors and given medications which have not helped over six months. In another case, the patient was diagnosed with digestive problems due to the nausea, then determined it is inner ear related from shingles. The third case was diagnosed with having a virus in the ear.

Vertigo is a very unsettled and disturbing feeling of ¬†whirling or a reeling dizziness; a feeling that you are about to fall. With the complaint of vertigo comes other symptoms like hearing problems, ringing in the ear(s), headaches or heavy head and flowery vision, like the eyes can’t focus.

In Chinese medicine, vertigo is frequently related to the liver and gallbladder channels. Accompanying symptoms will determine the Chinese medicine diagnosis. Vertigo is the Western diagnosis. In TCM (Chinese medicine), this could translate into damp heat in the liver channel, liver Qi stagnation with blood deficiency, or liver yang rising, just to name a few potential reasons. So, it is not cookie cutter medicine. In TCM we not only treat the symptoms, but the root cause which once treated also addresses the symptoms. It’s a beautiful way to treat the cause and symptom and balance the body at the same time.

In the first case of the 79 year old woman, she reports that the intensity of her vertigo has come down 50% after 4 treatments in one and half weeks. Her energy is up and she is able to move around better with less dizziness. The second case of a 30 year old man reports that the dizziness, heavy head, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and energy have all improved after 3 treatments in one week. I am now focusing on treating the flowery vision and the difficulty he has on focusing his eyes. Both of these patients reported feeling improvement on the table during their first treatment. This is very important as vertigo is so unsettling that improvement gives one hope again.

The third patient has only been in for the first treatment, so I will keep you posted. Feel free to share in the comments your experiences with vertigo and/or acupuncture.

OK. As promised, here’s the follow up report of the patients described above. The older women reports that her vertigo is almost all gone. She is able to get off the table without getting dizzy and we are now focusing the treatments on her hip pain. The young man with shingles reports he is continuing to get better and the last patient who I had only treated once has reported he is much better and not in need of further treatments.

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