We’ve had 400, 500 Meniere’s disease patients. Meniere’s is kind of a mystery to the medical profession because they look at the ear, which is where the symptoms are, right? And they don’t see a problem in the ear, so they have a really hard time trying to figure out, well why do we have all these inner ear problems? The triad which makes up Meniere’s disease, vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and a loss of or diminished hearing, right? All three of those, combined together, give you the Meniere’s disease, which is basically some guy, Dr. Meniere, had the condition actually, founded it, and put his name on it.
If there is nothing wrong with the ear, then somewhere, the message between the ear and the brains got to be getting distorted, changed, altered, so that the brain is hearing something other than what the normal ear is transmitting to it? Your ear does two things. It sends hearing signals to the brain. That’s how you hear. And then it also tells the brain where it is in space. The fluid in there, okay? The message tells the brain where it is in space. You’ve got your own leveling system to make sure the head’s always level. It’s actually the same reflex that causes seasickness. That’s why if you have Meniere’s bad enough, you have drop attacks, your dizziness gets so bad you throw up because it’s like instant seasickness, because what happens is your eyes are telling the brain one thing, and then the ear tells the brain something else. It’s the same reflex as seasickness.
Regarding seasickness, you’re looking out on a flat horizon, so the eyes are telling the brain you’re still, but then your ears feel you going up and down, sendingmessages to the brain that you’re moving. The brain gets confused. That’s what creates the dizziness, the nausea, sometimes drop attacks and vomiting.
Interestingly, the ear is perfectly normal. It sends a message,and the hearing is fine. There’s no ringing in the ears. No tinnitus. I hear everything normally. It goes to the brain, and the brain gets the normal hearing. What about balance. Balance is okay. Our head’s level. We’re standing still. The ear sends those messages to the brain, and the brain gets it and everything’s normal. But, if the message is altered, that’s when we get the symptoms of Meniere’s.
Now, how could the message be altered? Well, there’s only one place the message can be altered, so let’s start here. There are no nerves that come off the brain. Okay? The nerves that control your vision, your hearing, your taste, your smell, the muscles in the face, your eyes opening, closing. Those are all come from 12 cranial nerves that come off down here. They come off the brain stem, go back up into the skull, and then they go to the eyes, and the ears, and your taste buds, etc.
Well, there’s one nerve that’s called the vestibular cochlear nerve. Vestibular being balanced. Cochlear being hearing, that comes off the brain stem, and it goes to the ear. At the ear, it splits into two nerves, the vestibular part, and the cochlear part. If the cochlear part is hearing everything normal and sends the message to the brain, that’s your hearing. As long as the vestibular parts gets to the brain normally, that’s your balance, but there’s one place and only one place, and that’s at the very top of the neck, up here at the brainstem, where that vestibular nerve comes out and goes back up into the head to the ear. If one of these bones here gets even a little bit out of position, that can actually close down on the nerve. It can interfere with the message getting to the brain, so it alters it.
The ear is normal. Normal function travels through the nerve, but then when it gets into the neck at the brainstem, it alters the message so that now the brain hears ringing in the ears. It hears a lack of hearing. It has an altered position which creates the vertigo, the dizziness, the nausea.
If you have a bone out of line in your neck, it can definitely alter the sensation from one ear or both ears to the brain, and you don’t have to have neck pain. You don’t have to have headaches. There’s no pain perception at the brainstem, so you don’t even have to feel anything whatsoever and still have the symptoms of Meniere’s.
Now, medications sometimes temporarily mask it, but they typically don’t do the best job at that. I’ve had patients come in and say that they had to have streptomycin therapy. That was their last resort where they’re going to go in and totally destroy the inner ear, which would mean there would be no message is going to the brain, no hearing, no balance, which means you’d be completely death, and you would totally be dependent on your eyes to know where you are in space, so your balance will be off.
If you have the symptoms of Meniere’s, the triad of symptoms we talked about, find an upper cervical doctor near you.