A Case of Extreme Vertigo

Extreme VertigoThis post is a little more technical than I usually get. If you suffer from extreme vertigo, I would encourage you to share this with your acupuncturist, or call me for a phone consultation.

Recently I treated a 65 year-old female patient presenting with extreme vertigo. She had suffered from the vertigo on and off for about 10 years but it had flared to the point that she was unable to work and was on temporary disability. After being home for a month, she had had enough. She contacted me through a friend who’d had great results from Chinese herbs I had prescribed. She wanted herbs too.

Along with the extreme vertigo, the patient had a very low appetite and had been losing weight for months. She was constantly thirsty, peeing a lot. Bowel movements were only possible with a suppository and even then, they were hard to pass. Occasionally she had silent migraines (with only aura and visual disturbance, but no pain).  The patient would run hot and then cold and had occasional vomiting or retching. All lab work was normal.

Medications include 800 mg ibuprofen before bed to cope with pain, so she could sleep, 40 mg nortryptaline for fibromyalgia, prilosec daily for heart burn, 50 mg metclisine (dramamine), which was discontinued because it didn’t help with the dizziness.

For the Chinese herbalists reading this post, you probably guessed by now that my diagnosis was Shao Yang. And because of the constipation I went for a Da Chai Hu Tang which includes a purging herb to open the bowels. I also subbed out the Ban Xia for Tian Hua Fen and Mu Li which is a classical modification when there is a lot of thirst.

For the lay person reading, Shao Yang is considered a pivot between internal and external disease. It means that the body is too weak to fix the problem, but is strong enough to keep disease from becoming a serious internal medicine disease. It’s like standing on a teeter totter – move either direction and you tip downwards. These types of cases are extremely common and most of the time just cause the patient to feel rotten, with no real western diagnosis or applicable western medical remedy. The solution is relatively simple. It involves a process we call harmonization, which strengthens the weaknesses while clearing the excess.

The patient found that the formula caused her to have multiple bowel movements that would be become runny and incompletely evacuate (meaning leakage). She blamed an underactive anal sphincter for the leakage. I lowered the dose but ended up with the same result, it just took longer to happen.

I changed the formula. I went for a Xiao Chai Hu Tang which eliminates the purging element, and incorporated a si ni san to help regulate the anal sphincter and subbed out the Huang Qin for Bai Shao Mu Dan Pi-classical modification for abdominal pain. It also turns out that she has some issues with her lungs, constant post nasal drip and an occasional cough along with mild asthma. I added in a Ling Gui Zhu Gang Tang plus Gan Jiang Wu Wei Zi.

After a few weeks of taking this formula, the patient’s vertigo was almost gone and the patient could return to work. Today, after two months of taking the herbs, the vertigo is gone. The patient wrote me this note:

Hi Summer,
I have my energy coming back and my appetite has returned.
I just ordered my refill of my herbs, I now have a BM every 2 days with no suppository and not hard dry pebbles. The bowel leakage is gone because it all gets eliminated. I am feeling pretty good thanks to you and your power of healing. Still keeping the refined sugar at bay and swimming 3 times a week.
I wanted you to know how much it means to me that you are there to help.
It means a lot, thank you so much.

If you are living with vertigo, and western medicine doesn’t have a medication that is working for you, try Chinese herbal medicine! It works well and fast and can also resolve other long-term health issues.

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