When there is a sense of movement without the body actually moving, this is known as "vertigo". Although many patients complain of "dizziness", it is more helpful to distiguish between vertigo, which is a sense of spinning or rocking when the head and body are not moving, and lightheadedness, when the patient feels faint when standing from sitting or sitting from lying down.
Both lightheadedness and vertigo may be treated successfully with Oriental medicine.
Unusual sensitivity to motion or movement of the patient in a car, or boat, or airplane is known as motion sickness. Nausea, vomiting, and difficulty with walking or coordination are symptoms often associated with motion sickness, and the patient can suffer from vertigo in addition. Some persons also are affected by extreme fatigue when they suffer from motion sickness.
A focused medical workup is necessary to rule out serious disorders that can cause vertigo, imbalance, decreased coordination, ringing in the ears, and motion sickness, but when these have been eliminated from consideration, the use of acupuncture or other techniques from Chinese medicine may be helpful.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a type of vertigo that appears suddenly, and is not associated with serious disease. Symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo are triggered by specific changes in the position of your head, such as tipping your head up or down, and by lying down, turning over or sitting up in bed.
Another source of vertigo is thought to be inflammation of the inner ear, sometimes called "labyrinthitis". The labyrinths of the ear have two components: The cochlea, which relays sounds to the brain and is responsible for hearing, and the vestibular system, a complex set of fluid-filled channels responsible for your sense of balance.
Viral illnesses and some other disorders can be associated with labyrinthitis, and when the cochlea is involved, there can be disorders of hearing in addition to vertigo or motion sickness. As with isolated motion sickness, disorders of the inner ear can result in nausea and vomiting.
Vertigo and motion sickness can also be treated through the tendinomuscular channels, either with needles and moxabustion, or by stimulating reflexive responses by gentle massage of muscles without needles or moxabustion.
Treatment for vertigo and motion sickness by Western medicine usually involves drug therapy. Unfortunately, significant numbers of patients do not achieve satisfactory relief or suffer too many side effects from the drugs that are used.
Acupuncture, moxabustion and tendinomuscular massage have very few risks, and are generally very tolerable for the patient. For this reason, they represent a realistic alternative for those who do not want to take drugs or have not responded to Western medical treatments.
If you have been suffering from vertigo or motion sickness and have not found a solution for these extremely unpleasant feelings, call our office to learn more about our approach and possibly to set up an initial consultation.
Dr. L.B. Grotte, M.D., was the first physician in Ohio to be board certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbology. He has studied Oriental medicine since 1972 and has practiced Oriental medicine in Cleveland for more than 32 years. Our small practice specializes in creating individualized treatment plans combining Western and Oriental methods. Call us at 440-461-7488 to make an appointment or visit our website for more information.