Meniere’s disease is considered a rare vestibular condition with about 0.2% of the US population being officially diagnosed. However, it is becoming more common as over 45,000 cases are diagnosed per year. What is Meniere’s disease? How does it start? Is there a natural way to find relief? We will answer these questions and more in our article.
What Is Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease is considered a vestibular disorder. In other words, it is a condition of the inner ear. One common symptom is that the affected ear feels full. This has led doctors to the idea that Meniere’s is caused by having too much endolymph – the fluid in the inner ear that helps with balance. This is called endolymphatic hydrops. Other symptoms of Meniere’s include:
- Vertigo – This is a false sensation of movement that is often characterized as a spinning feeling. Vertigo that is associated with Meniere’s disease is often more severe than other cases of vertigo. For example, vertigo faced by Meniere’s sufferers is severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting as well as falls (called drop attacks). Where most cases of vertigo last a brief amount of time, vertigo connected with Meniere’s can last all day.
- Tinnitus – This is the technical term for ringing in the ears. Anyone can get this from time to time, especially after hours of being exposed to loud noises such as in a factory or at a rock concert. However, the tinnitus associated with Meniere’s disease can be deafening. Many describe it as a rushing wind or wave sound that is far louder than the light buzzing most of us associate with tinnitus.
- Hearing Loss – Hearing may fluctuate or be completely lost in the affected ear. For the great majority of Meniere’s suffers, only one ear is affected. However, in the rare case of both ears being affected, the hearing loss can be even more debilitating. Many Meniere’s patients end up needing hearing aids to combat this symptom along with tinnitus.
What Is the Underlying Cause of Tinnitus?
Most doctors would say endolymphatic hydrops. But take it one step further. Why do some people have too much fluid in the inner ear? Why is it only one ear in most cases? What causes the condition to appear “out of the blue” when a person is middle-aged (since most cases are diagnosed between ages 40 and 60)? There must be something deeper going on.
One upper cervical chiropractor took it upon himself to see if a misalignment of the atlas (the top bone of the spine) could inhibit the function of the Eustachian tubes. Since these tubes are the way that extra fluid drains from the ears, it would make sense that such an injury could gradually cause a problem that leads to Meniere’s. What were the results? Could this possibly be the underlying cause of Meniere’s disease that researchers have spent over a century searching for?
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research and Meniere’s Disease
139 patients with Meniere’s disease took part in the first study, the results of which were published in 2010. In this study, 136 of the 139 patients saw significant benefits in just 6 weeks, and an average vertigo severity of 8.5 (out of 10) was reduced to just 1.4 by the end of the 2-year study. The three patients who did not see benefits dropped out of the study after only 6 weeks. It is important to note that all of these patients had suffered neck injuries in accidents (mostly car accidents), though they were never diagnosed with whiplash. This fact, along with the results of the study, makes a strong claim for the link between Meniere’s disease and upper cervical injuries.
The second study began immediately following this one. It lasted 6 years and involved 300 Meniere’s patients. This larger study was designed to see if the results from the first study could be repeated. It was published in 2016 and helps to confirm the connection between the atlas (C1) and Meniere’s disease. Again, 97% of the patients saw a 90% improvement in vertigo and other symptoms. The patients were selected from among those who had suffered head or neck injuries in car accidents and in other ways that could have caused a C1 misalignment. The average time from the injury in a patient’s history to a diagnosis was 15 years. No wonder the average doctor would have discounted the injury as having long since been healed, but upper cervical misalignments can have long-lasting effects.
The Importance of Correct Atlas Misalignments
The importance of correcting an atlas misalignment cannot be understated. Clearly, it can gradually affect the Eustachian tubes. Over the course of 15 years, a lesion can form that leads to vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. These misalignments can also affect brainstem function, blood flow to the brain, and cerebrospinal fluid drainage. Such conditions can cause all sorts of symptoms. Plus, when the atlas is out of place, the rest of the spine shifts in an attempt to balance the head. This can lead to issues throughout the entire spine.
Upper cervical chiropractic focuses specifically on the atlas with precise examination techniques and extremely gentle adjustments that are safe for the whole family. If you are suffering from Meniere’s disease or any other condition that causes vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, this may provide the natural relief you’ve been searching for. To learn more, contact a practitioner near you.
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