Vertigo and Dizziness
Diet And Lifestyle Considerations
A low-sodium diet is a well-established treatment for Ménière’s disease (Foster 2015; Berlinger 2011). Some evidence suggests large fluctuations in sodium intake may exacerbate symptoms in certain cases of Ménière’s. Consistent moderate sodium restriction may be effective in such cases (Rauch 2010; Foster 2015).
Certain food additives or constituents may trigger migraines in susceptible individuals. These include nitrates, nitrites, tyramine, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, or sulfites, as well as caffeine and alcohol (Sun-Edelstein 2009; Millichap 2003). Examples of common foods that contain these migraine triggers include red wine, beer, chocolate, cheese, aged or pickled foods, citrus, and dried fruits (Foster 2015; Millichap 2003; Leclercq 2000). Some practitioners advise patients under the age of 50 who have Ménière’s disease to eliminate these foods (Foster 2015). More information is available in Life Extension’s Migraine protocol.
Some studies have discovered an association between positional vertigo and abnormalities in glucose and insulin metabolism. A diet rich in whole foods from plants, such as the Mediterranean Diet, which helps improve blood sugar metabolism, may have potential as an adjunctive treatment in positional vertigo (Agrawal 2013; Schultz 2015; Webster 2015; De Natale 2009; Nadeau 2014; Esposito 2015).
Individuals suffering from vertigo are more likely to experience depression and anxiety or another psychological condition (Lahmann 2015). Autogenic training, a body-mind technique that uses imagery and body awareness to induce a relaxed state (UMMC 2013b), has shown promise in case reports and preliminary research in people with Ménière’s disease and psychogenic vertigo (Goto 2011; Goto 2008b; Goto 2008a). Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, relaxation response training, and cognitive-behavioral stress management have shown therapeutic benefits in managing emotional stress (Crawford 2013), and may prove useful for treating vertigo-related conditions. Life Extension’s Stress Management protocol describes additional relaxation strategies.
Some research indicates manual spinal mobilization may effectively treat some types of dizziness (Bronfort 2010). Case studies have highlighted its potential benefit in individuals with Ménière’s disease and vertigo after brain surgery (Emary 2010; Haller 2015).
A pilot trial found manual therapy performed by a physician reduced symptoms in 16 subjects with vertigo lasting three months or longer (Fraix 2010). Other research has shown that accurate diagnosis and treatment of cervical spine dysfunction with manual mobilization methods can effectively alleviate vertigo (Galm 1998; Fang 2010; Heikkila 2000). In one study, physiotherapy treatment was more effective than medication for relieving cervical vertigo (vertigo induced by particular neck positioning) (Olszewski 2007).
In a series of case reports, 49 of 50 subjects with vertigo caused by poor circulation to certain parts of the brain were treated with multiple acupuncture methods, and 39 of those cases exhibited complete resolution of symptoms (Huang 2009).
One report on 34 cases of Ménière’s disease treated with acupuncture recorded symptomatic improvement in all cases (Steinberger 1983). Results from a pilot trial in patients with cervical vertigo suggest electroacupuncture may be a useful addition to regular acupuncture for this condition (Li 2011).