One of the reasons I got into upper cervical chiropractic is because it provided a possible solution that was able to make a big difference in the lives of people with rare illnesses. One rare illness that I really enjoy seeing are people with Meniere’s Disease. It’s an illness that affects less than 200,000 people each year, but in the small number of people that I’ve seen, the results have been pretty astounding. Here’s an example of a case we took on recently:
42 y/o female
Meniere’s onset 2 years ago, diagnosed by ENT
Fullness/partial hearing loss in right ear, daily episodes of vertigo, fatigue, poor balance
The woman presented to our office after reading a review about Meniere’s Disease on our Google listing. She states that she had a severe episode of vertigo 2 years ago, and since then has had progressive hearing loss in the right ear. She has had almost daily episodes of vertigo that aren’t as bad as the original episode, but they make her cautious about sudden movements. She also says that her balance overall feels very shaky.
Before visiting our office, she had been under the care of an ENT using diuretic medication and steroids with minimal improvement. She has also tried acupuncture and vestibular therapy with no change in vertigo status.
After the first correction, the patient noticed a slight reduction in the muffled sensation in her ear. Through one week, she only experienced 2 episodes of vertigo compared to daily episodes prior to her chiropractic examination.
After 1 month, and 2 adjustments, the patient reported a 40% improvement in hearing and decrease in muffled sensation in the ear. She also had 0 episodes of vertigo following her first week of care.
Chiropractic Findings – (Read only if you’re into nerdy things like objective measurements)
- Significant right head tilt and right sided neck deviation
- Low right shoulder 2 degrees, right low hip 1.5 degrees
- X-ray: Straightened cervical curve, 56mm of anterior head syndrome, Right atlas displacement 2.75 degrees with 3 degrees of forward rotation
- 9 lbs heavier on the right leg compared to the left in a standing position
- Reduced head tilt and negligible neck deviation
- Level shoulders and hips
- Right atlas displacement 0.80 degrees with 1 degree of forward rotation
- 2 lbs heavier on the left leg compared to the right in standing position
Why Does it work?
The short answer is that no one really knows why Meniere’s Disease happens to begin with.
Scientists believe that the build up of pressure in the inner ear may be linked to autonomic dysfunction, abnormal cerebral blood flow, eustachian tube dysfunction, infection, genetics, or immune dysfunction.
We don’t know if it’s one of these mechanisms, or maybe it’s a combination of them. What we do know is that problems in the cervical spine can affect all of these pathways because of the affect of the neck on the brain. The neck can affect cerebral blood flow which can affect the autonomic nervous system, which can have an impact on the function of the eustachian tube.
While we don’t know how, we do know that many upper cervical chiropractors see as many as 90% of their cases of Meniere’s Disease improve.