What Is Labyrinthitis (and What Is It Not)?


What is labyrinthitis? What other conditions are commonly confused with labyrinthitis? How can upper cervical chiropractic help provide natural relief from vertigo, one of the primary symptoms of labyrinthitis? We’re going to cover a full spectrum of vertigo issues with the ear, including viruses and vertigo with ear infection

What Is Labyrinthitis? 

Let’s start our discussion by explaining what this inner ear disorder actually is – that will allow us to compare it to other conditions that are often confused for labyrinthitis. In this case, we are speaking about inflammation in the inner ear. It refers to the inner ear as a labyrinth, which makes sense because it is made up of a few small tubes, almost like a maze. 

Various viruses or infections can lead to inflammation in the inner ear. When swelling occurs in this part of the ear, it is called labyrinthitis. The suffix -itis is a reference to the inflammation. This swelling can, in turn, cause vertigo, even after the virus of infection has cleared up. However, the swelling usually goes down within a couple of weeks, and that leads to a resolution of vertigo and other symptoms. 

Vestibular Neuritis – A Commonly Confused Condition 

We should take a moment to discuss vestibular neuritis because many people, even doctors and medical websites, confuse these two conditions. What are some similarities that result in the confusion?

  • Genesis – Vestibular neuritis often has a similar start as labyrinthitis. There is some type of virus or infection that leads to inflammation. 
  • Symptoms – The two conditions have many similar symptoms, including vertigo. Other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, ringing in the ear, and temporary hearing loss in the affected ear. 
  • Resolution – Both conditions usually clear up within two weeks after the infection or virus resolves. 

So what is the difference between these two conditions? There is one significant difference – the location of the swelling. As we have already mentioned, the name labyrinthitis comes from the inflammation caused in the inner ear. With vestibular neuritis, the inflammation is in the vestibular nerve. This is the eighth cranial nerve, the one that sends information about balance and spatial orientation from the ear to the brain for processing. 

So while the two conditions are similar, they should not be confused for one another. Here is another common misconception.

Is It the Same as Vertigo with Ear Infection?

When most people use the term ear infection, they are talking about middle ear infections. It’s the kind where the doctor looks in your ear with a scope, sees that it is red and swollen, and provides you with an antibiotic. Is this the same as labyrinthitis? 

Remember that labyrinthitis is inflammation of the inner ear. A middle ear infection may be the ultimate cause of the swelling, but a middle ear infection is not the same thing as labyrinthitis, and it is essential to note that the inner ear swelling is what is causing vertigo. So anyone who gets vertigo with ear infections is either having swelling in the inner ear or the vestibular nerve as a result of the disease. 

A Side Note About Online Medical Research 

We can’t tell you how often these conditions get mixed up, even on reputable medical websites. It’s an important reminder that even when a medical professional writes an article for a website or the post is checked by a doctor, that doesn’t guarantee they will always be accurate. Just like your doctor can get it wrong a few times before finding the right diagnosis and treatment, the Internet can get it wrong over and over, especially since many people are just copying and spinning content from other websites. 

It is vital to do research, and don’t automatically trust medical information on the Internet just because the first site or two that come up on Google say the same thing. Get a third or fourth opinion. Better yet, talk it over with an actual doctor rather than trying to diagnose yourself and come up with your own treatment online. 

That said, we would like to introduce you to a natural form of care that has helped many vertigo patients in case studies and that may introduce you to a doctor who can provide long-term relief. Here are a few things you should know about upper cervical chiropractic care and vertigo. 

Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic and Vertigo 

When it comes to vertigo, there is one thing that is extremely likely to create the right conditions for this symptom to occur, and that is an upper cervical misalignment. This is because the top bones in the neck can affect both ear function (potentially keeping the ears from draining correctly) as well as brainstem function (affecting the signals sent from the ears to the brain). As a result, vertigo can become frequent, regardless of whether you have been sick recently. 

If you experience frequent bouts of vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, it just makes sense to see an upper cervical chiropractor. You may find that these gentle and precise adjustments to the upper neck are just what you needed.

To learn more, use the search feature on this site to find one of our preferred doctors in your area. A no-obligation consultation may be your first step on the path to better overall health and well-being. You may even be able to conquer vertigo for good.

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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.