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Would acupuncture be beneficial for neck pain and vertigo?

Q:  I have been suffering neck pain & vertigo for 5 weeks and want to know if acupuncture would be beneficial.


A:  A great deal depends on whether these problems are related or not. If they are, then a practitioner would be asking some detailed questions about what had been happening around that time or shortly before which may have brought both problems on.
As far as neck pain is concerned, a great deal will depend on what might be the precipitating cause. In a young or younger patient, pains of this type often have very clearly indentifiable causes, whereas in the older patient there can be many osteoarthritic problems and frequently spondylosis which cause slow but long-term degradation of the joints in the neck. Over time this may create local pain and also start to have an impact on the nerves which emerge at the level of the cervical spine, causing problems with balance and headaches. If it is the latter case, mainly wear and tear, acupuncture treatment may be able to benefit someone to a degree, but the reality of the situation is that there is likely to be a recurrence of symptoms at some stage. A practitioner would have to weigh up the benefits of treatment against the cost and frequency of sessions. If it means frequent visits at great expense simply to gain short term relief, the advice may be that it is not worth pursuing.
If there has been some sort of clearly defined damage, however, like a sudden twist of the neck or a fall, then it is possible that acupuncture treatment may help with the recovery by encouraging the muscle to 'release' and go out of spasm.
Vertigo itself has a problem for which acupuncture has been used and been the subject of many trials over the years. As our factsheet shows please click here
acupuncture has generated some encouraging results in trials, but there have been nowhere near enough and robustly enough designed ones which would enable us to give an unequivocal recommendation.
In cases such as yours, which suggest a more complex pathology, there is no substitute for seeking a face to face view of whether acupuncture can help. Most of our members are usually willing to give up a little time without charge to discuss problems with prospective patients and ascertain whether acupuncture really is the best option for them. In some cases there may be alternatives such as cranial osteopathy or chiropractic which offer a more direct and potentially more successful route, although we have to say that the anecdotal evidence for using acupuncture for necks and vertigo is consistently positive. 

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