Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear causing attacks of vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and a feeling of congestion or fullness in the ear. Usually, only one ear is affected. Those suffering from this condition report that the symptom of vertigo is the most disturbing and hardest to deal with. Let’s take a closer look at vertigo and what it really is. Then, we can discuss how to find relief.
Vertigo is a false sense of movement that causes you to feel like you or the things around you are spinning. Vertigo is a symptom of another condition, for example, Meniere’s disease. It is also a symptom of:
- BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: This happens when tiny crystals of calcium clump up in the canals of the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for sending signals to the brain about movements of the head and body in relation to gravity. If these signals become distorted due to the crystals being in the wrong place, vertigo may ensue.
- Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis: An inner ear problem usually connected to a viral infection. The infection causes inflammation inside the ear around the nerves that help the body sense balance.
- Head or neck injury
- Migraine headaches
- Certain medications
- Brain problems: strokes or tumors
Symptoms of vertigo
Vertigo is known for the following symptoms:
- Feeling pulled in one direction
- Feeling off balance
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Hearing loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Nystagmus (abnormal eye movement)
Symptoms of vertigo can come about suddenly and leave just as quickly, or linger around for a few hours or days.
Now that we know what vertigo is, let’s take a closer look at Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s can hit anyone at any age but is most likely seen in the age range of 20-50 years. It is considered a chronic condition but can be controlled by diet and other procedures that will relieve symptoms and minimize long-term effects.
Symptoms of Meniere’s disease:
Meniere’s is known for the following symptoms:
- Ringing in the ears called tinnitus: Tinnitus is the perception of buzzing, whistling, roaring, hissing, or ringing in the ear.
- Fluctuating hearing loss: Early on, the hearing loss comes and go with Meniere’s. Eventually, most have some permanent hearing loss.
- Congestion or fullness in the affected ear: This can also be felt on the sides of the head.
- Recurring episodes of vertigo: Vertigo usually lasts 20 minutes to several hours, but not more than 24 hours. You may also have nausea and vomiting if the vertigo is severe.
After Meniere’s goes away, signs and symptoms will improve or may disappear entirely. You may have an attack of Meniere’s and not have another one for weeks or years to come.
Causes of Meniere’s Disease
The exact cause of Meniere’s remains a mystery among medical professionals and researchers. Although there are some popular theories, they have not yet been proven completely true. One of these has to do with Meniere’s disease being the end result of an abnormal amount of fluid building up in the inner ear. However, recent discoveries have found that not everyone suffering from Meniere’s has this abnormal fluid buildup, leading us to conclude that there may be more than one reason for Meniere’s to occur.
Reasons for fluid buildup can be related to:
- Genetic predisposition
- Improper fluid drainage possibly due to a blockage or anatomic abnormality
- Viral infections
- Head or neck trauma
It is very likely that Meniere’s comes from a combination of factors, not just one.
Ways to Care for Meniere’s Disease
There are a number of ways to care for Meniere’s disease, both invasive and non-invasive.
Non-invasive therapies include:
- Limiting salt, alcohol, and caffeine
- Taking diuretic to reduce fluid buildup
- Using meclizine or lorazepam to relieve vertigo
- Using prochlorperazine or other anti-nausea drugs to reduce vomiting
- Endolymphatic sac decompression — the bone overlying the endolymphatic sac is exposed and a thin sheet of flexible plastic material is placed in the inner ear.
- Injecting a solution of gentamicin through the eardrum into the middle ear to destroy the balance function. Hearing loss is a risk.
- Surgery — cutting the vestibular nerve permanently destroys the inner ear’s ability to impact balance, usually preserves hearing, and relieves vertigo in 95% of the cases.
- Labyrinthectomy — removing the semicircular canals permanently
Meniere’s Disease Treatment Pleasant Hill
Finding Natural Relief for Meniere’s Disease
Most people suffering from Meniere’s disease just want an easy solution to the problem. Here at Evoke Spinal Care, Pleasant Hill California, this is what we offer our patients. A recent study observed 139 patients who suffered from Meniere’s disease. Each of them was given an adjustment, similar to what we use here in our practice, by an upper cervical chiropractor. Out of the 139, as many as 136 saw an improvement in symptoms, particularly in vertigo. They were able to resume their normal daily routine.
If a misalignment exists in either the C1 or C2 vertebra, this can exert pressure on the brainstem. In turn, the brainstem begins to malfunction and sends improper signals to the brain about the body’s location. The brain is also receiving signals from the eyes, ears, and nerves about body location and movement. If these signals don’t match, vertigo can be the end result. Another problem that may ensue with a misalignment in the neck is a negative impact on the eustachian tube and the vestibular nerve of the inner ear. Correcting this misalignment can be the key to feeling better overall.
We use a method that is very gentle. It does not require us to pop the back or crack the neck to get positive results. The realignment happens naturally, leading to longer-lasting results. Many patients report similar results to those in the above study without having to undergo surgery or take medication.