Hi, I'm Dr. Ray Drury with the Upper Cervical Spine Center. Today I would like to talk to you about how Meniere's disease, and other inner-ear-type symptoms, can be started, or aggravated, from a whiplash-type of injury. What happens is that the message from the ear travels to the brain via a nerve called the vestibulocochlear nerve. Vestibular = balance. Cochlear = hearing.
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Most of the time with Meniere's disease, patients will go to an ENT or another medical doctor, and they will check the inner ear and say, "Hey, there's nothing wrong with your ear." But, somehow or another, the symptoms you have are unrelated, right? The balance, the hearing, the ringing in the ears…
If the message from the ear to the brain traveling via the vestibulocochlear nerve gets interfered with, then the normal message leaving the ear and traveling down the nerve can be changed before it gets to the brain. The brain senses something other than what the ear is trying to send it. There is one place that can happen and that is at the top of the neck or the brainstem area.
When people come to us with Meniere's disease, we can almost always relate it back to some sort of trauma, like a fall, accident, or whiplash. Whiplash seems to be the most common, when you are still and your head keeps going, or when your head is still and your body keeps going. This usually occurs in car wrecks, or other accidents when the head or body is abruptly jerked.
We have this big heavy head that weighs 10 to 12 pounds. It sits on top of a bone that weighs about three ounces. You can imagine how easy it is to have that big bowling ball bounce back across that tiny little bone. If that happens, that puts pressure at the brainstem. Pressure on the brainstem interferes with the messages from the body to the brain. In this case, the inner ear, which can create the vestibulocochlear symptoms - the balance problems, hearing problems, and ringing in the ears.
Therefore, if you have Meniere's disease or symptoms related to Meniere's disease, then there is a good chance that some type of accident is what initially created it. If you have had Meniere's for a while, then there was an accident somewhere midterm that can actually make it worse.
If you have Meniere's disease, regardless of whether you can put your finger on a specific whiplash or accident that may have started it, you should find an upper cervical doctor near you. If you live in the Charlotte-area, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Pineville, Matthews, Belmont, Gastonia, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, we are the doctor. Give our office a call, (704) 588-5560, and we will get you in as soon as we can. We will do a full upper cervical evaluation to determine if you have an upper cervical problem that could be causing your Meniere's. If so, we will explain to you what we need to do to fix it. If not, we will find someone else that can or another specialist that can help you.
If you do not live in the Charlotte area, Google “upper cervical doctor” near you. Let's get to the root cause of your Meniere's. Let's get this thing squashed once and for all. I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully, one day, we will get a chance to meet. I am Dr. Ray Drury. We will meet you soon. Have a great day.