Tinnitus and the Relationship to Upper Neck Problems

Upper Cervical Chiropractor and Tinnitus

Neck pain and tinnitus

Neck pain and tinnitus? Tinnitus refers to a ringing, buzzing, whistling, or rushing sound in the ear. “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.

  • Why does tinnitus occur?
  • How could it be connected to the upper 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 tinnitus afterward. However, for many people, ringing in the ears 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. Neck pain and tinnitus frequently go hand in hand.

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.

Connection With the Upper Neck

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.

Neck Pain and Tinnitus 

An important question that patients often ask is about neck pain and tinnitus. For one thing, a misaligned atlas (top bone in the spine) 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 ringing in the ears. Therefore, even when ringing in the ears is caused by a blockage, the problem may still be in the neck.

Hypertension and Tinnitus

Upper Cervical Chiropractic has been demonstrated to help relieve hypertension. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is another possible cause of ringing in the ears and may have an underlying connection to the upper neck. This is another reason to investigate the neck if you're struggling with neck pain and tinnitus.

Meniere's Disease and Upper Cervical

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). Neck pain and tinnitus along with hearing loss and vertigo are common symptoms of Ménière's disease.

Head and Neck Injuries

Finally, we come to head and neck injuries. To the most common types of head or neck injuries that can lead to neck pain and tinnitus are whiplash and concussions. Tinnitus is just one of the many symptoms that can present after a concussion, whiplash, or other head or neck injury. Other symptoms include headaches, migraines, vertigo, dizziness, neck pain, and more.

Can chiropractic help tinnitus?

Getting Natural Help | Upper Cervical Chiropractor Tinnitus

It is clear then that people suffering with neck pain and tinnitus should seek an examination of the upper cervical spine (upper neck). 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 to determine the cervical tinnitus causes. If your atlas alignment has been held from the last visit, you won’t receive an unnecessary adjustment.

Can Upper Cervical Chiropractic Help Tinnitus?

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 for cervical tinnitus treatment. If a misalignment is detected, you may have just found the natural way to long-lasting relief 

Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Pain and Tinnitus

Can Neck Pain Cause Ringing in Ears?

Neck pain can sometimes lead to ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus. The neck and ears are connected through a complex network of nerves and blood vessels. When there is tension or misalignment in the neck, it can potentially affect blood flow and nerve signaling to the ears, leading to tinnitus.

Can Neck Cracking Cause Tinnitus?

Sometimes, observations have been made that suggest that the act of intentionally manipulating the neck to produce a cracking sound can directly cause tinnitus. If neck cracking is done excessively or improperly, it can potentially lead to strain or irritation in the neck area, which might indirectly contribute to ear ringing.

Can neck problems cause tinnitus?

Yes, neck problems can cause tinnitus. Cervical tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears associated with neck issues, can be caused by various factors such as cold snaps resulting in a stiff neck, incorrect posture, previous traumas, whiplash injury, stress, arthritis in the cervical vertebrae, and others.

What are the common co-existing problems with tinnitus and neck pain?

In problems of tinnitus, co-existing problems such as migraine headaches, TMJ pain, ear fullness, hearing loss, and Meniere’s disease are frequently seen. These issues can have their origins in cervical spine instability caused by weakened and damaged neck ligaments.

How is ringing in the ear related to jaw and neck pain?

Ringing in the ear can be related to jaw and neck pain through a condition known as temporomandibular disorder (TMJ), which often accompanies tinnitus. A neck injury can also cause tinnitus. While neck pain isn't directly causing the ringing in the ears, they both may be side effects of issues caused by TMJ.

Are there any connections between chronic tinnitus and chronic idiopathic neck pain?

A study showed preliminary evidence for the presence of central sensitization in patients with chronic tinnitus and chronic idiopathic neck pain. Patients with both symptoms often experience hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, higher psychological burden, and poorer sleep compared to those with chronic tinnitus only and healthy controls.

These FAQs provide insights into the relationship between neck pain and tinnitus, including the potential causes and co-existing problems.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Tinnitus Research

Research on upper cervical chiropractic and tinnitus suggests that while the effectiveness of this treatment is still being studied, some individuals have reported positive outcomes.

  • A study published on PubMed found that treating cervical spine disorders can reduce tinnitus, with 19% of patients experiencing less tinnitus after therapy of the third and fourth cervical nerves.
  • Additionally, a case report described the upper cervical chiropractic management of a patient with Ménière's disease, where the patient's tinnitus resolved after treatment.

While more research is needed, these findings indicate a potential connection between upper cervical chiropractic neck pain and tinnitus.

To investigate the cause of your tinnitus schedule an appointment with an upper cervical specialist in your area.

Find an Upper Cervical Specialist In Your Area

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.