Meniere’s disease – Severe vestibular disorder
What is Meniere’s disease?
Meniere’s disease is a chronic vestibular disease. In the 1800s, French physician Prosper Meniere first described this disease. In the era when Meniere’s disease was yet unidentified and not described it was believed that vertigo, tinnitus, and impaired hearing were related to damage or pathology of the brain.
However, Prosper Meniere presented the notion that ringing of ears (tinnitus), loss of balance and equilibrium (vertigo), and hearing loss are concerned and associated with inner ear rather than the brain. This chronic condition usually targets one ear only. Since it is associated with episodes of dizziness there is a possibility that it is further linked with tinnitus and hearing loss as well.
Significance of inner ear in Meniere’s disease
Before talking about the treatment of Meniere’s disease it is necessary to first understand this disorder very well. According to the Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Meniere’s disease is a chronic vestibular disorder that is so far incurable.
It is known as an idiopathic vestibular disorder which is mainly caused by increased levels of endolymph in the inner ear. To understand Meniere’s disease thoroughly let’s first understand the basic anatomy of the ear.
The ear is not only a hearing organ but also a balancing apparatus. It is divided into three parts; out, middle and inner ear. The outer and middle ear is concerned with the reception of sound whereas the inner ear is concerned with equilibrium and not with hearing.
The inner ear consists of the membranous and osseous labyrinth. The former contains a fluid called endolymph while the space between osseous and membranous labyrinth contains perilymph.
When the number of endolymph increases in the membranous labyrinth it leads to Meniere’s disease. Once this is disturbed the structures present in membranous labyrinth work improperly thus, presenting the respective signs.
How is it caused?
Despite the achievements of medical science, the exact causes of Meniere’s disease are still unknown. However, studies indicate an increase in fluids in tubes of the inner ear due to blockage or improper drainage, autoimmune diseases, and allergies to be the causes.
What are the symptoms of this disease?
In this disease, patients complain of episodes of dizziness. The symptoms don’t stay 24/7. There are recurring episodes of violent vertigo which last from 20 minutes to several hours. Patients of Meniere’s disease suffer from episodic hearing loss. In severe cases, there is permanent hearing loss.
Tinnitus is also associated with this condition. There is constant hissing, buzzing, or clicking sounds in the ear without any external stimulus. Also, aural fullness is another symptom. Patients complain of the fullness of ear. Lastly, there is Tumarkin’s otolithic crisis in which the patient falls to the ground by losing control of posture.
Who is at risk?
Meniere’s disease occurs in individuals of all age groups. However, people who fall in the age group of 40-60 ages are more likely to develop this condition. Genes play an influential role in transferring this disorder from one generation to the next. Other than genetics, alcohol, smoking, and head injuries increase the risk of developing this chronic disorder.
How is Meniere’s disease diagnosed?
Meniere’s disease is a critical disorder that must be diagnosed correctly otherwise it can lead to severe complications. The diagnosis of this disorder requires three possible conditions;
2 episodes of vertigo. Each episode must last 20 minutes or longer but less than 12 hours.
- Loss of hearing which must be verified by the hearing test.
- Aural fullness or the feeling of fullness in-ear.
Chiropractic experts give you relief!
Among all the proposed treatment ideas the most well-known is Upper Cervical Chiropractic. Expert chiropractors claim that Meniere’s disease recovery is concerned with spinal cord involvement. The spinal cord is the part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) which connects the body with the brain.
The spinal cord being the most crucial part of the body’s neural communication system can be responsible for Meniere’s disease. Chiropractors believe that due to misalignment of the spinal cord there is a possibility of exerting pressure on the brainstem which ultimately causes symptoms to occur.
The misalignment occurs due to improper sleeping or sitting patterns, accidents, trauma to the spinal cord, or pathological interference. In the misalignment of the spinal cord, the first vertebrae called Atlas (C1) and second vertebrae called Axis (C2) are affected.
Being the first and second vertebrae they are closest in relation to the brainstem therefore they directly impair the normal functioning of the brainstem. The fifth cranial nerve called Trigeminal nerve is affected which innervates the Eustachian tube in the ear. This impairment produces a feeling of ear fullness.
Several types of research have been conducted in which victims of Meniere’s disease are provided chiropractic to align their spinal cord. First, their spinal X-Rays are taken to confirm any deformity at the level of C1 and C2.
After a few sessions of chiropractic, their symptoms are observed. It was found that their symptoms are either alleviated or completely vanished. Most of the chiropractors reveal that most of the patients of Meniere’s disease have a head or spinal injury in the past 10-15 years.
Usually, they neglect the injury after treatment but the injury turns out to have a worse effect on the ability of the body to maintain posture and equilibrium.
Therefore, chiropractors perform Upper Cervical Chiropractic upon patients in a few sessions. By the end of each session, the patient feels better. In this alternate medical technique, the patient experiences minimum pain.
Briefly, we can conclude that Meniere’s disease is a vestibular disorder that is associated which three characteristic symptoms; tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss. According to medical science, it is an idiopathic disease in which endolymph accumulates in the inner ear.
On the other hand, chiropractors firmly believe that it is due to a trauma that causes misalignment of the first two vertebrae, Atlas and Axis, of the spinal cord. The misalignment causes disturbance in the working of the brainstem.
Chiropractors believe that Upper Cervical Chiropractic is the most efficient management for Meniere’s disease recovery.