Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear known for episodes of a spinning sensation (vertigo), a ringing, roaring, or buzzing noise in the ears (tinnitus), a feeling of congestion or fullness in the affected ear, and hearing loss that may become permanent if not cared for in a timely manner resulting in the suffering needing something like a hearing amplifier to help with their hearing. Initially, only one ear is usually affected. However, as time passes, both ears can become involved. In 15 percent of patients, both ears are affected. Episodes will more than likely last from 20 minutes to 3 or so hours. The time in between episodes is unpredictable. Hearing loss occurs mainly during the attack of vertigo. Loud noises may be distorted and bring a sense of discomfort. Hearing loss is usually confined to the lower pitches but can affect all pitches eventually. Hearing loss and tinnitus may become permanent after months or years of dealing with Meniere’s disease.
Another name for Meniere’s disease is idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops. It is one of the most common reasons for dizziness having to do with the inner ear. The condition usually starts in the age range of between 20 and 50 years. Both men and women are affected equally, but each case is unique to the person experiencing it.
What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
The cause of this condition is unclear, but surgeons from the Hospital for Special Surgery believe that it is probably due to both genetic and environmental factors. It seems to be related to an abnormally large amount of fluid that has built up within the inner ear. This fluid builds up due to excessive production or it is not absorbing into the body properly for some reason. In those who have both ears showing symptoms of Meniere’s disease, their condition may be contributed to allergies or autoimmune disorders. There are a few other conditions that have symptoms similar to Meniere’s disease, such as vestibular migraines and transient ischemic attacks. It is theorized that Meniere’s can be due to a constriction in blood vessels or viral infections. About 10 percent of cases run in families.
How Meniere’s is Diagnosed
As of 2015, there are diagnostic criteria for definite Meniere’s disease and probable Meniere’s disease:
- Two or more episodes of spontaneous vertigo that last for 20 minutes to 12 hours
- Low to medium hearing loss in the affected ear at least once before, during, or after the attack of vertigo
- Fluctuating symptoms of hearing loss, congestion, and tinnitus in the affected ear
- No other fitting diagnosis
- Two or more episodes of vertigo or dizziness lasting 20 minutes to 24 hours
- Fluctuating symptoms of tinnitus, hearing loss, and congestion in the affected ear
- No other fitting diagnosis
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and vertigo download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.
Tips to Help You Better Cope with Meniere’s Disease
- Low sodium diet: Having the proper balance of salt in the diet is important when it comes to fighting inflammation, a major contributing factor to Meniere’s disease. Lowering your salt intake lowers fluid retention in the body, including the ears.
- Avoid inflammatory foods: Foods that are hard on the digestive system or cause irritation should be avoided. In other words, a mild diet is probably a good bet.
- Balance your carbs and proteins: Simple sugars are produced when carbohydrates are consumed, and this increases the amount of insulin in your blood. Proteins, on the other hand, releases glucagon which regulates the level of insulin in the body. Keeping your blood sugar and insulin in control will help you cope with Meniere’s.
- Avoid food additives: Things like aspartame or other sugar substitutes and MSG have been shown to encourage the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
- Keep well hydrated: Does it sound counterintuitive to drink a lot of water when fluid buildup is one of the main problems of Meniere’s? Not if the cause of the fluid is a virus, bacteria, or pathogen in your system. Drinking lots of water helps keep the water balanced in your body by removing excess salts and toxins through urination.
- Manage your stress levels: When you undergo stress and anxiety, certain hormones are released that can trigger Meniere’s disease. Stress relieving activities or seeking professional care for your stress can help.
- Avoid nicotine and caffeine: These substances are both stimulating and can intensify the symptoms of Meniere’s. They can both extend the duration of your hearing loss, make vertigo worse, and make tinnitus louder. Avoid these if at all possible.
Natural Relief for Meniere’s Disease
An interesting connection has been seen between Meniere’s disease and misalignments in the bones of the upper neck. A study was able to link 259 patients with Meniere’s to issues that were resulting from the upper cervical spine. Another study of 139 people with Meniere’s proved that upper cervical chiropractic care can reduce or even eliminate some of the symptoms associated with Meniere’s, particularly vertigo. How is this possible?
The bones of the upper neck have an intricate relationship with the brain, the nervous system, and the ears. They are also very susceptible to misalignment because of their location and mobility. They allow the head to move in all directions, and this causes them to be more easily misaligned. When a misalignment exists here, it puts pressure or stress on the brainstem as it is located in the same region. This can affect a number of different things. The brainstem is the communication highway of the body. It sends and receives signals from the body and brain. If it is malfunctioning, it can send improper signals. This can affect how fluid drains from the ears, the onset of vertigo, and hearing loss. By correcting this misalignment, the body can begin to heal from the damage done.
Using a gentle method, here at Lazar Spinal Care in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we are able to help correct these small misalignments, and this has a huge impact on our patient’s overall health. Many patients report similar results as those mentioned above.
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if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.