Meniere’s disease is a condition that affects the inner ear. There are typically four hallmark symptoms of Meniere’s – severe vertigo, ringing in the ears, loss of hearing, and a sensation of congestion in the ear. The symptoms of Meniere’s can be unpredictable. For some people, the attacks can come out of nowhere and then not return for an extended period of time. For others, attacks can occur multiple times over a period of several days or weeks. This can be incredibly difficult to cope with, and the anticipation of an attack can cause anxiety that interrupts normal day-to-day activities.
Why Does Meniere’s Happen?
The symptoms of Meniere’s disease arise from a buildup of excess fluid within an area of the inner ear called the labyrinth. The labyrinth has components that are responsible for both balance and hearing. The excess fluid, called endolymph, which collects in the labyrinth interferes with the normal signals that give the brain critical information about balance and hearing. This interruption in the normal communication of messages over the nerves is what leads to Meniere’s symptoms.
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What Are My Treatment Options?
Most treatment options recommended for Meniere’s patients are aimed at symptomatic reduction. Prescription drugs are often a first line of defense to combat the dizziness and shorten the attack. Diuretics are recommended to reduce the body’s overall fluid retention, and dietary changes such as limiting salt, caffeine and alcohol are encouraged. More invasive measures may include injections of an antibiotic into the middle ear and surgery if other treatments failed at relieving the dizziness.
How Can Upper Cervical Chiropractic Help?
Upper cervical chiropractic is concerned with optimizing the function of the nervous system by addressing specific spinal misalignments. Why is fluid building up abnormally in the inner ear? If the topmost bone in the neck, the atlas, is out of alignment, it can easily prevent normal signaling between the brain and body via the brainstem. In the case of our Meniere’s patients, an atlas misalignment can be contributing to their vertigo attacks. If an atlas misalignment is present, we work to gently correct its position so that the body’s normal healing process can take place. In a study of 60 chronic vertigo sufferers, all were found to have atlas misalignments. After a period of upper cervical chiropractic care, 48 patients were completely symptom-free, and the remaining 12 reported an improvement in the severity and/or frequency of their episodes.
Elster E, Sixty patients with chronic vertigo undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care to correct vertebral subluxation: A retrospective analysis. J Vert Sublux Res 2006; Nov:1-9.
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