If you've ever experienced tinnitus, you're among the nearly 25 million Americans who have suffered from this very irritating condition in the last year. Tinnitus can range in severity from mildly annoying to completely debilitating, and there are limited medical treatments available to provide relief. Here at Meraki Family Wellness, we can offer acupuncture treatment that's been proven to lessen the severity of your debilitating tinnitus, so you're able to live life to the absolute fullest.
What is Tinnitus?
According to the Mayo Clinic, tinnitus is described as a "constant ringing or other noises in one or both ears." You can also experience sounds like
These perceived sounds aren't related to external noises and they can be very frustrating to experience. Tinnitus can range in volume from very soft to very, very loud.
Common Causes of Tinnitus
Typically, tinnitus is a symptom of bigger problems and your body is signaling that something is wrong. Sometimes an ear infection or other ear injury can cause tinnitus. In other cases, your tinnitus could be a sign that something is wrong with your heart or circulatory system. In these instances, it's best that your primary care physician helps to diagnose the underlying issue and your tinnitus will likely resolve on its own.
In other cases, constant ringing -- or non-pulsatile tinnitus -- is often caused by hearing loss. This can happen naturally as we age or it can be caused by inner ear damage resulting from exposure to loud noises. Damage can occur from constant exposure to loud sounds or from a single incident like a gunshot. Oftentimes, when part of the cochlea (the cavity in your inner ear) is damaged by loud noises, it will stop sending signals to your brain the way it's supposed to. When this happens, things can get messy and signals can get crossed -- resulting in constant tinnitus.
Non-pulsating tinnitus often doesn't have an underlying cause and medical treatment is spotty, at best. Many people find relief from this type of tinnitus after undergoing acupuncture treatment.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical treatment that has been successfully practiced for thousands of years. This natural approach to medicine has been used to treat patients with many different diseases and to provide patients with relief from chronic pain. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into pressure points in the skin. These needles are very, very thin and most patients report feeling minimal pain when the needle is inserted into the skin.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, an energy flow -- called Qi -- moves throughout the human body, keeping it balanced and healthy. There are over 2,000 pressure points on the human body's surface that correlate with your Qi, and a skilled acupuncturist can insert needles into correlating points to restore balance when you are unwell.
Western medicine recognizes the benefits of this practice and explains things a little differently. According to most Western practices, it is believed that acupuncture works to stimulate the Central Nervous System (CNS). When the CNS is triggered, it releases neurotransmitters like serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin, providing patients with healing relief from their health conditions. Although it is not completely understood, acupuncture has been regarded by the National Institute of Health as a very effective treatment for many health conditions.
Does Acupuncture Help Tinnitus?
There have been many studies performed to look at the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for tinnitus. Some of the results were mixed, but in recent years, studies have begun to suggest what we already knew -- acupuncture may decrease the intensity of tinnitus, thus significantly increasing a patient's quality of life. In 2018, a study of 88 adults found that acupuncture helped their tinnitus to decrease in volume as well as severity.
Additionally, a 2016 review was performed of existing studies and experts concluded that acupuncture most likely decreases the symptoms and severity of tinnitus. Research and studies continue on the effectiveness of tinnitus and acupuncture, but evidence continues to mount on the holistic practice's effectiveness.
Since acupuncture is a natural therapy, patients suffer few side effects. As with most holistic medicine, patients can confidently receive all-natural acupuncture treatment without having to worry about a long list of medical risks.
How Can I Try Acupuncture?
Before making an appointment for acupuncture, it's important to take a few initial steps. If you live in Phoenix or Scottsdale, give us a call and we'll be happy to walk alongside you. If you're too far to visit our office, make sure you consider the following steps.
Talk to Your Doctor
Before scheduling acupuncture treatment, make sure you discuss your thoughts with your primary care physician. Together, you can go over your individual health profile to decide whether you'd be a good candidate for acupuncture treatment. Some specific points of discussion should include:
Your current medications and supplements
Your risk of infection
If you have a pacemaker
Whether you're pregnant
Breast or other implants
Choose a Licensed Acupuncturist
Each state has its own requirements for professionals to practice acupuncture, and certification is not the same as licensure. A licensed acupuncturist has thousands of hours of rigorous training under their belt to ensure that they're the best at their jobs. Your primary care physician can help you find a licensed acupuncturist that is registered with the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
Check with Your Insurance Provider
Insurance companies are divided when it comes to acupuncture treatment coverage, and it's best to know where you stand before making an appointment. Call your provider to see whether acupuncture treatment is covered under your plan and make note of how many sessions are included. That way, you'll know upfront how much your treatment will cost and you won't have any surprises along the way.
If you're experiencing tinnitus, we'd love to help you to find relief so you can live your best life. Learn more about our acupuncture services at Meraki Family Wellness and contact us if you've got questions.