Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder of the inner ear or vestibular system. It is thought to be a form of endolymphatic hydrops having specific symptoms due to abnormally large amounts of fluid, called endolymph, in the inner ear. The symptoms associated with this disorder are:
- Vertigo – the sensation that you or the things around you are spinning
- Tinnitus – a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear
- Intermittent hearing loss which may become permanent if not cared for
- A feeling of congestion or fullness in the affected ear
The disease got its name from French physician Prosper Meniere who theorized the attacks associated with these particular symptoms were coming from the inner ear rather than the brain, the generally accepted idea at the time. As the idea gained popularity, the name Meniere’s disease followed.
Meniere’s disease can occur at any time to anyone. However, it is most often seen in adults age 40 to 60 years of age. It is hard to determine exactly how many people suffer from Meniere’s disease because there is no official reporting system. The National Institute of Health estimates that around 615,000 people have Meniere’s in the United States. They also report that 45,500 new cases are re-diagnosed each year.
What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
The exact cause of Meniere’s remains a mystery to the medical community. There are many theories as to why it occurs:
- Circulation problems
- Viral infections
- Autoimmune reactions
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and vertigo download our complimentary e-book How to Naturally Relieve Vertigo without Drugs by clicking the image below.
It is not really understood what causes an attack of Meniere’s to suddenly come about. But it seems to be related to the increased pressure in the inner ear due to the abnormally large amount of fluid and from the presence of potassium in part of the ear where it does not belong. This is possibly due to a tear in the membrane separating the endolymph from the other inner fluid, perilymph. There are certain triggers that have been noted to cause an attack in some people. These are:
- Emotional distress
- Other illnesses
- Certain foods
- Too much salt
- Pressure changes
Another possible cause being investigated is the connection between blood flow, the brain, and Meniere’s disease. This may actually be due to an upper neck misalignment. The vertebrae contained in the neck play a vital role in facilitating the flow of blood to the brain. The vessels in this area are called vertebral arteries, reflecting the connection to the vertebrae.
The vertebral arteries are the major arteries of the neck. They originate from the subclavian arteries. Each vessel lies on each side of the neck and merges within the skull to create the single midline basilar artery. The vertebral arteries supply blood to the upper spinal cord, the brainstem, the cerebellum, and the posterior part of the brain. If the C1 and C2 vertebrae are misaligned, these arteries and vessels may not perform at their peak.
The C1 and C2 vertebrae can easily become misaligned due to their location and mobility. They carry the weight of the head and give it the ability to move freely on the neck. A number of things can impact the alignment of these bones from something as simple as a trip and fall to as serious as being hit from behind in a vehicle causing whiplash. Sports accidents and any type of overstretching of the neck muscles can also cause these bones to misalign. When this occurs, major problems can ensue, such as Meniere’s disease.
The misaligned bones can act as a sort of blockage preventing blood flow from properly getting to and leaving the brain. The brainstem can also be put under pressure by these bones and begin sending improper signals to the brain. Any of these things can cause Meniere’s disease to ensue.
The Breakthrough with Meniere’s Disease
Dr. Michael Burcon, an upper cervical chiropractor, has made a major discovery when it comes to Meniere’s disease. He began to notice, as he worked on his patients over 16 years ago, that they very quickly recovered from Meniere’s disease and vertigo. He established a connection between both Meniere’s disease and trigeminal neuralgia with patients who endured whiplash misaligning the top of the neck and the base of the skull. This creates a lesion on the Eustachian tube and the trigeminal ganglion. The accidents that cause this kind of problem are vehicle accidents and head trauma. So, why has this not been discovered before? Dr. Burcon’s opinion is that it takes an average of 15 years from when the trauma sets in until the onset of symptoms begin. Therefore, many patients forget to mention their previous trauma to their doctors.
Finding Help for Meniere’s Disease
We can see from the above information the importance of having a properly aligned neck. Upper cervical doctors have been specifically trained to find the small misalignments in your neck that are wreaking havoc on the body. The entire structure of the neck is compromised when you have a misalignment. We begin by examining your neck for indications that you may have misaligned vertebrae. After discovering the location of the problem, we employ a gentle method that allows the bones of the neck to move back into place naturally, without having to resort to popping or cracking the neck. This also allows the bones to stay in place longer, leading to fewer office visits. We may have you come in for a check up on occasion to make sure that the bones of the neck have not moved out of their original place. Our patients and those in case studies can attest to the fact that this type of procedure really does improve the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
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