Every year nearly 45,000 individuals are suffering from Meniere’s Disease symptoms currently. Patients who are experiencing a complex of ear-related issues may take years to arrive at a proper diagnosis. Meniere’s disease symptoms range from mild to severe and occur in combination including:
Every year nearly 45,000 individuals are diagnosed with a condition called Meniere’s Disease. In fact, over 600,000 individuals are suffering from Meniere’s symptoms currently. Patients who are experiencing a complex of ear-related issues may take years to arrive at a proper diagnosis. Meniere’s disease symptoms range from mild to severe and occur in combination including:
- Episodes of vertigo
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- Progressive hearing loss
- Fullness in the ear
The combination and severity of Meniere’s disease symptoms are variables depending on the individual, and current treatment recommendations are mainly palliative rather than curative. Understanding key factors influencing Meniere’s symptoms is essential for addressing root cause issues and obtaining optimal recovery.
What produces Meniere’s Disease symptoms?
Since Meniere’s Disease symptoms are focused mainly on the neurological system of the body, and particularly on the structures of the middle and inner ear, understanding the structures involved is essential for identifying potential treatment options.
The inner ear on the left and right sides of the head contains a structure called a vestibular apparatus which works as a three-directional compass to keep your body balanced and within “equilibrium.” These structures contain endolymph, a type of fluid that helps to transmit the sensation of head and neck movements into nerve impulses to the brain.
This information is cross-checked with the visual system (eyes) and structural system (joints and muscles) in order to keep you balanced in an upright posture. Discrepancies in the information between the left and right sides of the body will cause confusion in the brain about your spatial awareness, resulting in vertigo.
Fullness in the ear is one of the most common Meniere’s Disease symptoms and can be attributed to eustachian tube dysfunction. The eustachian tube is the canal of the inner ear that helps to keep the pressure within the ears equalized. For example, when ascending in an airplane your ears “pop” when pressure changes occur in the eustachian tube.
This tube is surrounded by muscles that squeeze or release to perform this function. The muscles of the eustachian tube are supplied by vital cranial nerves called the Vagus Nerve and the Trigeminal Nerve. These nerves start in the brainstem and provide branches to this delicate muscle and middle ear structures along with the Vestibulocochlear nerve.
Tinnitus is one of the first and most common of Meniere’s symptoms and involves a high-pitched ringing or a buzzing sound in the ear. This symptom can also be a side effect of sensorineural hearing loss – which essentially means nerve deterioration and subsequent hearing loss.
Now that we’ve identified the structures involved in producing Meniere’s Disease symptoms, we need to consider what they all have in common.
What causes Meniere’s Disease symptoms?
Many authorities lack agreement about the cause of Meniere’s symptoms, and so treatment options are usually focused on symptom alleviation rather than cause eradication.
A common thread runs through all the Meniere’s Disease symptoms described above – neurological system imbalance or irritation. The nervous system of the body consists of the brain, brainstem, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. It is called the nervous system because it is excitable and highly sensitive. It acts as the electrical communicating system of the body and is comprised of nerve circuits between the brain and body.
Consider a light flickering in the living room of your house. There are various causes to consider:
- Is the lightbulb failing? (end of the line)
- Is the switch in the wall faulty? (middle of the line)
- Is the electrical circuit from the fuse box malfunctioning? (mainline cause)
Without starting at the fuse box and working down the line, there is always the potential to overlook a more serious and dangerous problem. Simply replacing the lightbulb over and over is futile when the electrical circuit is malfunctioning.
In the same way, Meniere’s symptoms very commonly occur without trauma, damage, or irregularity of the ear structures themselves. These are simply the “end-organ” or “end of the line” symptoms of a circuit that is malfunctioning in the nervous system.
We must then consider, if the nervous system is transmitting these Meniere's Disease symptoms, how is it being negatively affected?
The Most Commonly Overlooked Cause of Meniere’s Disease
Advances in chiropractic care have identified the often-overlooked cause of Meniere’s Disease symptoms in many individuals: whiplash injuries to the cervical spine. The cervical spine is the neck portion of the spine that supports the head and provides a great deal of mobility (twisting, turning, bending).
The upper cervical spine is the most mobile and susceptible to injury. This area of the spine also shares direct attachments to sensitive nervous system structures including the brainstem, cervical spinal cord, and spinal canal. Disruptions of the alignment and mechanics in the upper cervical spine produce local irritation and inflammation commonly associated with the nerves that are affected in Meniere’s Disease symptoms.
Displacements of the upper cervical spine occur through falls, car accidents, sports injuries, or concussions. Many patients who are experiencing Meniere’s Disease symptoms have a history of these types of injuries. While not a big deal at first, if left uncorrected these injuries have compounding effects that get worse with time. For example, is it not uncommon for patients with Meniere’s Disease symptoms to have a whiplash injury 10-15 prior to the gradual onset of their symptoms.
How do I fix these problems?
The Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic approach is uniquely designed to identify and correct improper structural alignment of the cervical spine. Through diagnostic testing, Blair Upper Cervical chiropractors can identify structural displacements, nerve irritation, and body imbalance secondary to trauma. Many patients with Meniere’s Disease symptoms have found lasting relief by addressing the structural injuries underlying their nervous system symptoms.
To consult with a qualified Blair Upper Cervical chiropractor near you, simply complete a request for a consultation or search our directory of Doctors.