Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, hearing loss, a feeling of congestion in the affected ear, and tinnitus. It commonly affects only one ear. Some individuals experience a single attack of vertigo with a long duration of rest in between another attack. Bouts of dizziness may show without warning or could come about after a quick period of tinnitus or subdued hearing. Others have episodes close together within a few days.
Some vertigo attacks can be so severe that some patients lose their balance and fall. This occurrence is called a drop attack. People do not fall unconscious but fall to the ground suddenly. Meniere’s disease may afflict anyone at any age but is most common in people age 40 to 60.
Why Does Meniere’s Disease Occur?
Meniere’s disease can be associated with a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, specifically the labyrinth, one of the compartments of theear. This labyrinth consists of the following:
- Organs of hearing: the cochlea
- Organs of balance: otolithic organs and semicircular canals. It has two sectors:
- The bony labyrinth
- The membranous labyrinth: is filled with endolymph, a fluid that stimulates receptors in the balance organs whenever the body moves. These receptors then transmit signals to the brain concerning where the body currently positions and how it moves. In the cochlea, the fluid becomes compressed in reaction to sound vibrations, which excite the sensory cells and send off signals to the brain.
When Meniere’s disease occurs, the endolymph fluid builds up in the labyrinth and disrupts hearing and balance signals between the brain and the inner ear.
How Do People Get Meniere’s Disease?
The exact answer to this question remains unclear. Various theories try to answer this query. Some researchers say it has to do with the constriction of blood vessels, which is the same reasoning behind migraines.
Others in the medical community believe it may have a connection with a genetic component as it appears to run more among families. Still, some others believe it is a result of various types of allergies, viruses, or an autoimmune reaction.
Taking Care of Patients with Meniere’s Disease
Here are some of the recommendations most likely a primary care physician or ENT doctor would give to help alleviate the disorder:
The most life-disturbing symptom of Meniere’s disease is vertigo. Medications that can help with dizziness are diazepam, lorazepam, meclizine, and glycopyrrolate.
Getting an injection of gentamicin into the middle ear can be a great help with vertigo symptoms. However, this does increase the risk of losing your hearing because gentamicin includes a risk of damaging the tiny hairs of the inner ear. Some doctors may choose to use a corticosteroid shot in its place because this has lesser side effects and can reduce dizziness.
Salt restrictions and diuretics
Reducing the level of salt you have in your diet can assist in lowering the fluid volume that builds up in the ear. Also, water pills can help with this concern. Thus, it can help further reduce pressure in the ears.
Other suggested changes
Some people discover that limiting or eliminating alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine can effectively reduce symptoms. Finally, giving up smoking can also help produce positive results.
It is talk therapy that helps you to focus on how you can react appropriately to life experiences. Some people find this to be very advantageous when it comes to coping with the sudden and severe attacks of Meniere’s disease.
Pressure pulse care
The FDA recently approved a device that can help patients with Meniere’s disease. It fits in the outer ear and delivers an irregular air pressure pulse to the middle ear that interacts on the endolymph fluid to help stop vertigo.
This should be the last resort option. It can involve decompressing the endolymphatic sac or cutting off the vestibular nerve to stop vertigo from occurring.
How is Meniere’s Disease Diagnosed?
How do doctors diagnose Meniere’s disease accurately? Your family physician will most likely recommend visiting an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor, also known as an otolaryngologist. There are no particular tests that can rule out or confirm Meniere’s disease. A diagnosis is given depending on your detailed medical history, and also if you have the following symptoms:
- Temporary hearing loss
- A sensation of fullness in one ear
- Two or more vertigo attacks that happened for at least 20 minutes
Some doctors may carry out a hearing test to investigate just how extensive the hearing loss can be. CT and MRI scans can help rule out other likely conditions.
Reducing Vertigo and Other Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
A clinical case study involved 60 people with Meniere’s disease and vertigo. Out of these patients, 56 had trauma to the neck or head before the start of their Meniere’s disease. These traumas or injuries included such things as sporting accidents, whiplash, trips, and falls, and car accidents.
All the patients underwent examination. Later, they discovered they all had a misalignment (subluxation) in the bones from their upper cervical part. To sum up, each patient received a personally customized adjustment by an upper cervical chiropractor. All 60 participants reported experiencing a significant improvement in their symptoms. Most importantly, 48 people witnessed their Meniere’s disease go away entirely.
Upper cervical chiropractors use a similar procedure used in the study. Frequently, Meniere’s disease is a consequence of a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. Such a misalignment puts the brainstem under stress, causing it to send the wrong signals to the brain. As a result, it negatively impacts the eustachian tube involved with balance and hearing.
The gentle and precise method that upper cervical doctors use can help realign the bones of the neck without using force. Many patients experience long-term relief from various symptoms of vertigo and Meniere’s disease after only a few adjustments.
Find an upper cervical chiropractor nearest you today to say goodbye to your vertigo.