Few people understand the nature of Meniere’s disease. It is an inner ear disorder which often affects only one ear and is known to cause several conditions such as vertigo or dizziness, tinnitus (ringing of the ear), ear congestion, and fluctuating hearing loss. As a vertigo chiropractic doctor in Pittsburg, we have treated patients with Meniere’s disease and other causes of vertigo.
Vertigo or the false feeling of spinning may follow tinnitus. Some people only experience one episode of vertigo, while some may have recurring attacks over a few days. Vertigo can be so severe that it impairs your performance of daily tasks such as walking, since it may cause loss of balance and falling. Associated with Meniere’s disease is a condition called a “drop attack” where you fall to the ground unexpectedly, which may feel like someone pushed you from behind.
While Meniere’s disease may occur at any age, it often affects people ages 40 to 60 years. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), around 615,000 Americans have Meniere’s disease, and 45,500 cases are newly diagnosed each year.
What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
The most common belief on the cause of Meniere’s disease is the buildup of fluid in the compartment of the inner ear called the labyrinth. This compartment is where the semicircular canals and otolithic organs (the organs responsible for balance), as well as the cochlea (responsible for hearing), are located. The labyrinth sends signals to the brain regarding the location and movement of the body. When a person has Meniere’s disease, the fluid buildup in the labyrinth interferes with the sending of signals to the brain, and therefore, affects the sense of balance and hearing.
However, researchers have found that not all cases of Meniere’s disease involve a buildup of fluid in the labyrinth, which raises the question of the true cause of Meniere’s disease. One thing that people with the disease often have is a misalignment in the upper cervical spinal bones. In this article, you will find out how this can cause Meniere’s disease.
What Are the Possible Treatments for Meniere’s Disease?
Currently, there is no clear-cut cure for Meniere’s disease, but fear not because there are certain options that you can try to ease its symptoms and help you cope, such as the following:
Out of all the symptoms of Meniere’s, vertigo is the most debilitating one. Although there are no medications at the moment that can cure all the symptoms of the disease at once, medications such as meclizine, glycopyrrolate, lorazepam, and diazepam can help alleviate vertigo.
Diuretics and a low–salt diet
Limiting your salt intake and increasing your water intake by taking water pills have been proven to be effective in relieving the symptoms, since it helps reduce the overall fluid volume in the body, including the ears.
Behavioral and other dietary changes
Avoiding food and beverages that are said to amplify the symptoms such as chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol can help. Quitting smoking is also another way to help alleviate the symptoms.
Injections of the antibiotic gentamicin into the middle ear can help control vertigo. Beware, however, as this can significantly raise the risk of hearing loss as gentamicin can cause damage to the microscopic hair cells of the inner ear that aid in hearing. To avoid this, doctors may suggest using corticosteroids instead.
While this may not address the symptoms directly, cognitive therapy helps people with Meniere’s disease regulate their reactions to life experiences. This helps them deal with the stress caused by the symptoms of Meniere’s.
The use of alternative medicine such as acupuncture, acupressure, tai chi, and herbal supplements such as gingko biloba, niacin, and ginger root have been proven effective to several patients despite the lack of scientific evidence proving their effects. Before undergoing any alternative treatment, make sure to consult your doctor about the possible drug interactions with your current medications.
Surgery is only suggested as a last resort when all other alternative cures have failed. It may involve decompressing the endolymphatic sac or cutting the vestibular nerve, with hearing loss as a possible complication.
Is There Any Natural Cure for Meniere’s Disease That Works?
Most people do not realize the obvious connection between Meniere’s disease and upper neck problems. However, these two often go hand in hand. The top bone of the neck called the atlas is located very close to the structure of the inner ear. If these bones misalign, several possible problems may occur. Draining of the ear may be impaired, which can lead to a buildup of fluid and the transmission of faulty signals to the brain regarding the body’s location and movement.
Damage to the upper neck can also put pressure on the brainstem, which is protected by the atlas bone. When the altas vertebra is misaligned, the brainstem can fail to function properly, and it can send faulty signals to the brain.
Here at Tranquility Specific Chiropractic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we employ a gentle and precise method to aid the natural realignment of the bones without popping and cracking the neck or spine. The bones reposition by themselves naturally and are only guided by us. This way, it helps them stay in place longer than when using force. Many of our patients who have had Meniere’s disease reported noticeable improvements with their symptoms, particularly vertigo, after a few adjustments.