Could the car accident you had 15 years ago have anything to do with your diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease? Research shows a very strong connection.
A paper, published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, looked at 300 patients- all medically diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease- over the course of a 6 year period. The researchrevealed that all 300 of these patients also had evidence of neck trauma seen on x-ray, specifically whiplash injuries. Furthermore, research revealed that the average time between trauma to the neck and the onset of symptoms was 15 years. (2) Some of these traumas may be long forgotten about or were not thought of as significant at the time of the injury.
Anyone experiencing Meniere’s Disease is undoubtedly familiar with the complexity of symptoms ranging from vertigo or dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and ear pressure to hearing loss. What we also see when we take a deeper look are secondary conditions relating to the eustachian tubes, the upper cervical spine, the temporomandibular joints and the autonomic nervous system. (1)
Let’s look at the domino effect between trauma to the spine, the resulting structural misalignments and how it can lead to the collection of symptoms known as Meniere’s Disease:
A misalignment in the bones at the top of the neck (your C1 and C2 vertebrae) can result in pressure on the base of the brain stem. This area of the brain stem controls many significant body functions such as breathing, balance, blood pressure regulation and sleep centers.
Pressure on the brain stem can negatively influence any or all of the functions previously mentioned.
Cranial nerves, specifically CN 8 (the vestibulocochlear nerve) that controls both the hearing and balance systems, can become irritated. Problems with the cranial nerves can affect many functions of the head and neck area like proper swallowing, facial expression, equilibrium and hearing. When the top bones of the neck misalign, especially after long periods of time, muscles in the area tighten and inflammation can set in within the joint.
This swelling can put pressure on the adjacent middle ear structures, eustachian tubes included. (2)
Other irritations that can result include problems with cerebral spinal fluid flow, blood flow into and out of the brain and the endolymphatic sac. (3) Basically, congestion in the brain…no bueno.
So, what do problems with the ears have to do with the neck? A lot actually!
At Precision Chiropractic we are very deliberate and specific in our approach. We measures displacements in the upper cervical vertebrae with accuracy, utilizing precise X-rays. These X-rays are used to determine how to correct the upper cervical misalignment in order to achieve the best result possible. Objective measurements are taken before and after the correction to make sure the spine was properly aligned and that it is fortifying and stabilizing in its correct place.
Especially after a head or neck trauma, the upper cervical misalignment can often be a missing piece of the puzzle in what is contributing to Meniere’s Disease. If you or someone you know is suffering with Meniere’s Disease and have yet to find help (beyond managing the symptoms with medications and injections) or have recently had surgery suggested as an option (a vestibular nerve section or endolymphatic sac procedure), we strongly recommend you look into upper cervical chiropractic.
Precision Chiropractic is the only facility of its kind in Vermont focusing on Upper Cervical Specifc Chiropractic Care.
To Schedule a Consulation at the office in Williston, call: (802) 557-0527