“Do you hear that ringing sound, or is it just me?” If you find yourself asking this question (even if you don’t ask out loud), the problem could be tinnitus. Tinnitus refers to a ringing, buzzing, whistling, or rushing sound in the ear. However, no external stimulus is creating the sound.
- Why does tinnitus occur?
- How could it be connected to a bone in the neck?
- Is there a natural way to find relief?
We will address the answers to these questions and more in our article.
What Is Tinnitus and What Causes It?
Tinnitus is a symptom of other conditions rather than a condition all by itself. Sometimes it may be a temporary experience. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, you probably experienced some tinnitus that evening when you got home and tried to sleep. However, for many people, tinnitus becomes a chronic issue. In such cases, the following tinnitus causes may play a role:
- Blockage – If the ear becomes blocked by cerumen (ear wax) or by the fluid in the ear building up (endolymphatic hydrops), tinnitus can result.
- Side Effect – Various medications cause tinnitus as a side effect. Some of the more common ones include antibiotics, aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and quinine medications.
- Deterioration – If the cochlea or other parts of the inner ear begin to break down, this can cause a buzzing or ringing sound.
- Medical Conditions – Certain conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular issues, anemia, allergies, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and thyroid problems can all cause tinnitus. Meniere’s disease is a vestibular condition that has tinnitus as one of its primary symptoms.
- Neck injuries – Whether caused by head or neck trauma or by some other issue with the neck and TMJ (the jaw joint), neck problems are a common source of tinnitus.
As you can see, the neck is one of the main players when it comes to tinnitus. Let’s take a closer look at the structures of the neck that can lead to tinnitus and how they relate to a number of the causes noted above.
The Connection Between the Upper Cervical Spine and Tinnitus
The top bone in the neck, located right at the base of the skull, is called the atlas (C1 vertebra). This bone is positioned almost directly between the ears and jaw joints. As a result, everything in this part of the body can be affected by even the slightest misalignment. That’s why ear and jaw problems often go together, and why many who suffer from these issues may also have neckaches.
For one thing, a misaligned atlas can affect the structures of the ear. The eustachian tubes, in particular, play a vital role. These tubes drain away excess fluid from the ears so they can drain harmlessly. However, if tube function is inhibited, fluid can build up and lead to tinnitus. Therefore, even when ringing in the ears is caused by a blockage, the problem may still be in the neck.
Additionally, aspirin or anti-inflammatories may be suggested for chronic neck pain. If the neck pain is relieved, the medications that are potentially causing the tinnitus would no longer be necessary, so this is a second connection between the neck and causes of buzzing in the ears.
Third, upper cervical chiropractic can help relieve hypertension. This has been shown in clinical studies. Thus, upper cervical relief comes to the rescue again when it comes to the underlying causes of tinnitus. This isn’t about treating symptoms but about relieving the source of the problem.
Meniere’s disease is another condition that can be helped by correcting upper cervical issues. In one study that involved 139 Meniere’s patients, upper cervical chiropractic improved symptoms significantly for all but 3 of those in the study (and those three quit after just 6 weeks).
Finally, we come to head and neck injuries. This type of trauma can easily cause an upper cervical misalignment. As a result, it makes senses that relieving the misalignment can help to improve the symptoms that set in following the injury. Tinnitus is just one of the many symptoms that can present after a concussion, whiplash, or other head or neck injury.
Getting Natural Help for Tinnitus
It is clear then that tinnitus suffers should seek an examination of the upper cervical spine. If an atlas misalignment exists, this could be the major underlying factor in the occurrence of the buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound that you are contending with. What does upper cervical chiropractic care involve?
- Focus – With the focus on just the top two bones of the spine, you get precise and specific care that meets your needs.
- Precision – Modern diagnostic imaging techniques are used to pinpoint misalignments down to hundredths of a degree. This allows the practitioner to offer precision adjustments in the gentlest way possible.
- Gentle – Low force corrections are safe and long-lasting. You won’t have your spine twisted, cracked, or popped.
- As-Needed – Since adjustments last, most patients can spread out appointments, making this a cost-effective form of care. Plus, each time you visit the upper cervical practice, you will get a physical examination. If your atlas alignment has held form the last visit, you won’t receive an unnecessary adjustment.
If you are suffering from tinnitus, it just makes sense to give this natural and effective form of care a try. Contact a practitioner in your area today to schedule an examination. If a misalignment is detected, you may have just found the natural way to long-lasting relief.