Nystagmus As a Symptom of Meniere’s Disease

Nystagmus, how long does Ménière’s disease last

Meniere’s disease is one of the most chronic inner ear disorders, yet it remains largely misunderstood. As a result, answering questions like how long does Ménière’s disease last can be quite a tricky thing to do. Also, many wonder how an inner ear problem causes nystagmus, an uncontrollable movement of the eyes. Is it a common symptom among every patient with Meniere’s? What happens when you experience nystagmus, and how do you find relief? Let’s try to dig deep and trace the connections between Meniere’s disease, nystagmus. 

An Overview on Nystagmus

Essentially, nystagmus is a symptom that causes involuntary eye movement. If you have Meniere’s and suffer from nystagmus, you might observe horizontal or rotary nystagmus movements during the initial phase of your vertigo episode. Also, the direction of the eye-jerking tends to beat towards the unaffected ear. Then, during the recovery period, the eye movements' direction shifts to the other side of the body. 

This symptom occurs because the eyes and the inner ears, muscles, receptors on your skin work together to perceive balance and motion. The eyes help your brain establish awareness of the surroundings, such as objects approaching while you walk and how your body orients with everything else around you. 

As a result, when your body perceives false motions, your eyes respond by assessing the area around you. They could jerk in various directions to grasp what’s happening with your body. 

Visual Consequences of Nystagmus

Although the nystagmus symptom that occurs when you have Meniere’s disease isn’t long-term, it can still cause several problems. For starters, it can negatively impact your balance whenever you suffer from a vertigo episode. Also, because the eyes play a pivotal role in sensing your body’s current orientation, nystagmus can cause other problems, like:

  • Reduced depth perception and eye focus
  • Trouble coordinating body movements
  • Difficulty in seeing where you are going

If you start experiencing nystagmus or other Meniere’s symptoms, you should avoid doing activities such as walking around or crossing the road. These could only make you prone to accidents and injuries. Try to wait until the episode stops, which usually lasts approximately 15 minutes to 24 hours. 

So, now that you have a good grasp of nystagmus as a Meniere’s symptom, let’s look into the answer to the question, how long does Ménière’s disease last?”. 

How Long Does Ménière’s Disease Last?

Many patients grapple with the unpredictable nature of Ménière's Disease. It's a chronic condition, meaning it's ongoing and doesn't simply disappear. However, its impact varies widely.

Some individuals experience infrequent episodes, with symptoms lasting a few hours to a full day. Others face a relentless barrage, leaving them feeling dizzy and off-balance for days on end. Sadly, over time, the hearing loss and balance problems associated with Ménière's can become permanent.

The good news? While we can't erase Ménière's, we can often manage it. Many find relief through medication, lifestyle changes, or therapies aimed at reducing fluid pressure in the inner ear. You can also try the following techniques:

  • Using inner ear injectables like antibiotics, especially for cases that stem from a bacterial infection
  • Reducing salt consumption to lessen water retention that may contribute to the ear congestion
  • Lessening caffeine consumption to minimize the impact of tinnitus
  • Practicing stress management tactics to curb anxiety and stress levels 
  • Getting rid of smoking habits which could affect one’s overall health
  • Taking anti-nausea medications or sedatives like promethazine and diazepam
  • Trying physical therapy maneuvers like the Epley Maneuver  

Ear Congestion – Another Known Symptom of Meniere’s Disease

Indeed, Meniere’s disease can cause ear congestion. The excess fluid builds pressure inside the ears, congesting the canals and impacting the ear’s balancing and hearing function. Sometimes, the ear fullness stems from a viral or bacterial infection of the inner ear. You will have to wait for your condition to heal before you can experience relief from ear congestion in such cases.

Other cases, on the one hand, arise from poor fluid drainage because of a neck misalignment. As a result, many patients who get diagnosed with Meniere’s seek upper cervical care.

Generally speaking, ear congestion usually doesn’t require immediate medical attention. While it can impact your routine and comfort, it’s not as concerning as other Meniere’s symptoms. Many of the patients consulting with a chiropractor for vertigo and other Meniere’s symptoms note worse experiences.

Meniere’s Can Cause Other Symptoms

The ears function is not limited to helping you hear sounds around you. Unknown to many, the ears also serve a critical role in maintaining and perceiving balance. With the tiny bones inside the inner ear or the vestibular system, your brain receives information about your head’s movement and orientation.

Unfortunately, when you have Meniere’s disease, your ear's vestibular and auditory functions become impaired. As the pressure in the inner ear section increases, the more problem you have with your sense of balance and hearing. Here’s a brief overview of the usual symptoms that people with Meniere’s disease observe:

Tinnitus

Over 50 million Americans have tinnitus, and a large fraction of these cases occur because of conditions like Meniere’s disease. This condition causes you to hear irritating buzzing or ringing sounds in one ear. The worst part about this condition is that many think that the sounds aren’t real or that people experiencing tinnitus are hallucinating.

Loss of hearing

Nothing can be more worrying than hearing no sounds at all. Singer-songwriter Jessie J recently shared on social media about her Meniere’s diagnosis. Among the symptoms she experienced was temporary hearing loss. Fortunately, her symptoms have improved over the years. Some patients aren’t too lucky because they have long-term hearing loss. On the other hand, others recover but can only hear a limited range of tones and pitches.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion among patients with Meniere’s disease is not limited to the physical aspects. More often than not, patients also complain about how mentally taxing Meniere’s can get. Many people with Meniere’s feel burnt out because it’s challenging to resolve the symptoms.

Migraines

Did you know that about a third of migraine cases report vertigo and other symptoms of Meniere’s? One of the reasons this occurs is that migraines and Meniere’s likely develop due to a neck misalignment. That’s why it’s not surprising to find a significant fraction of people turning to a chiropractor for vertigo for help.

Vertigo

Because Meniere’s disease affects the inner ear, it also triggers other vestibular problems such as vertigo. This symptom causes spinning sensations even when you’re quietly sitting or standing by the corner of a room. It can last for a few minutes but can easily stretch to several hours, depending on its root cause.

Sweating

It is another symptom that appears due to vertigo attacks. It can be due to a classic hormonal tendency. It will often go away as soon as the vertigo bout subsides.

Drop attacks

These can happen, and as a result, people fall abruptly without reason. However, you do not lose consciousness. In general, you can get up without any lingering side effects. About as few as ten percent of those with Meniere’s disease suffer from these drop attacks.

Sensitivity to sound

People with Meniere’s disease are also prone to having sound sensitivity. As a result, certain noises can be quite painful for them. High-frequency sounds can be intolerable as well as soft noises from a specific pitch or frequency. Sensitivity to certain sounds is one of the more frequently occurring symptoms of Meniere’s disease.

Irregular heartbeat

When a vertigo attack due to Meniere’s disease commences, it causes palpitations and irregular heartbeat. Why this happens is a complete mystery. However, it is quite a rare occurrence and happens only in the advanced stages of Meniere’s disease. The heartbeat returns to normal when the vertigo attack ends.

How to Effectively Address Meniere’s Symptoms

Besides the remedies and lifestyle changes enumerated above, you can also look into upper cervical chiropractic adjustment. It’s among the leading remedies used to manage the impact of Meniere’s Disease. This approach focuses on correcting faulty spinal alignments, one of the primary factors that aggravate a patient’s Meniere’s disease symptoms. 

Studies point to the flexible nature of the neck bones as a possible culprit of various health problems such as Meniere’s and Nystagmus. If you notice, your upper cervical bones allow maximum movement of the head. You can turn left to right, tilt your head up and down and even do sideward movements. Unfortunately, even the slightest pressure on these bones could cause them to shift their position. 

If you previously had a neck or head trauma or a poor posture because of prolonged sitting, you might actually have misaligned neck bones. Unknowingly, your neck bones might be pressing on your brainstem, a critical part of the spinal cord that connects it with the brain. It also regulates all the processes in the body, such as eye movements. 

Additionally, the neck bone misalignment can impede the flow of fluids from your head. This results in abnormal fluid buildup, leading to ear congestion and the vestibular nerve's irritation or compression. Unless you address the cervical subluxation, the problems would persist and cause you more discomfort. 

Relief Through Upper Cervical Chiropractic

When it comes to discussions about relief options for Meniere’s disease, a less talked about but effective natural form of care is upper cervical chiropractic.

Meniere’s May Originate in the Spine

Before we explain how this niche in the chiropractic profession can help bring long-lasting relief for Meniere's disease symptoms, we would like to first explain the role of the spine in all this, especially the bones at the very top of the neck.

In general, the spine protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord works as the communication highway between the body and the brain, and the bones of the spinal column add an extra layer of protection to keep its normal function.

Your atlas (C1 vertebra), the topmost bone in the neck, is the most special and movable bone in the whole spine. However, it is very prone to misaligning. Any injury or accident can cause it to move out of its normal alignment, causing damage to that area of the spinal cord. The C1 and C2 vetebrae surround the brainstem, which connects the spinal cord and the brain.

In addition, the atlas is very close to the inner ear, and and atlas misalignment can have an impact on the ear drainage and communication. As a result, it may affect the nerves that link the inner ear and brain, which aid the body in keeping its balance.

Study Backs Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

2016 study has recognized the contribution of an atlas misalignment in the development of Meniere's disease. For six years, the researchers monitored 300 patients with Meniere's disease, all of whom received upper cervical chiropractic care. They all had an atlas misalignment.

As a result, 97% of the patients reported significant improvement in their Meniere's disease symptoms. They were able to bring back their normal family and social life, as well as do activities they used to do without difficulties such as driving and working. The remaining patients had fewer and less intense episodes of Meniere's.

Upper cervical chiropractic care is an effective therapy done with precision and accuracy. Upper cervical chiropractic doctors make low-force adjustments to correct atlas alignment. This allows the healing and return of the normal functions of the body.

Start getting upper cervical chiropractic care to resolve your Meniere's disease symptoms by clicking the button below.

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