When most people think about chiropractic, they think about neck and back pain. Although with chiropractic we see amazing results with neck and back pain, we know that it is so much more. Actually, the very first adjustment in 1895 given by the founder of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer, was given to restore a man’s hearing! We know that chiropractic, and especially upper cervical care, is so much more than neck and back pain. It truly restores function throughout the entire body.
How was an adjustment, or a force given to a bone, able to restore a man’s hearing? When we look at the brainstem, there is a nerve coming off called the vestibulocochlear nerve. This is cranial nerve number eight. What “vestibulo” means is balance, and “cochlear” is hearing, and we know that this nerve travels to the inner ear. When people suffer from ear disorders, whether that be Meniere’s disease, hearing loss, vertigo, etc; we usually see that there is nothing wrong with the ear itself. Doctors check out the ear and they do not see anything wrong, but the person is still experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and vertigo, or severe dizziness/balance issues. Some experience drop attacks, or dizziness that is so bad that the person experiences nausea, throwing up, and he or she literally cannot do anything because the world is just spinning.
If nothing is wrong with the ear, what could possibly be wrong? What we have found in our office with upper cervical care is that something is wrong with this vestibulocochlear nerve. What we found is that a misalignment in the top of the neck that puts pressure on this brainstem can also put pressure on the vestibulocochlear nerve. Even though there is nothing wrong with the ear, the brain is interpreting that something is wrong with the ear, due to the pressure on the vestibulocochlear nerve.
However, we do not know what this pressure causes. Sometimes it is tinnitus; sometimes it is vertigo; we do not know. We just know that if we can take the pressure off the brainstem, allowing that vestibulocochlear nerve to function and get the correct messages from the brain to the ear, and vice versa, everything starts to work correctly. That is why those with Meniere’s symptoms, those with vertigo, and those with hearing loss who experience upper cervical care many times get their symptoms relieved.