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human ear anatomy with detailed diagram
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Meniere’s Disease, Cochlear Hydrops, Tinnitus, hearing loss, chronic ear infections and even vertigo can frequently be related to trauma to the nerves from the upper neck (lower brain stem area) that go into the ears.  Upper neck trauma can lead to a variety of different ear problems due to the neurological connection.  Dr. Michael Burcon in Michigan has done excellent work in researching the connection between the upper neck and conditions like Meniere’s Disease, tinnitus, vertigo and others.

Burcon has established a link to these conditions with whiplash injuries that misalign the base of the skull with the top of the neck creating a lesion affecting the Eustachian tube. About half of these traumas are caused by car crashes and the other half from injuries involving head trauma. Burcon believes that the correlation was not made because it takes an average of fifteen years from the time the patient was injured until the onset of symptoms.

Patients typically get diagnosed with these conditions in middle age. Their injuries most often happened during high school or college years from a car accident, sports injury or fall on their heads. Few patients list these old injuries on their doctor’s admission paper work. In fact, they have often forgotten about them, believing they were not hurt if they were not admitted to the hospital.
It is possible to have fewer than the four classic symptoms of Meniere’s Disease (hearing loss, fullness, tinnitus, and vertigo) yet be diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease; this is sometimes said to be “atypical” Meniere’s Disease.  Some Meniere’s Disease patients experience hearing loss, fullness, and tinnitus with no vertigo at all, a condition sometimes described as “cochlear hydrops.”

That is the situation with one of our recent patients.  Will had been diagnosed with Cochlear Hydrops by his EENT and told that it would continue to get worse and there wasn’t much he could do about it.  After reading an article that I wrote about upper cervical and Meniere’s disease, he found some hope.  After his initial 6 weeks of care Will had noticed a 90% improvement in his ear symptoms and chronic neck pain!

When the cause is addressed amazing recovery can take place.  But the cause has to be identified and addressed.

Have you been diagnosed with Cochlear Hydrops, Meniere’s, vertigo or other ear related conditions?

Have you ever had your upper neck thoroughly evaluated to see if the underlying cause could be there?

In Southern California give us a call 760-945-1345 or go to www.nuccawellness.com

Anywhere else in the world go to www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.org

Correct the cause and end the suffering!
Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Vista Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com

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Meniere’s Disease is defined by www.mayoclinic.com as a disorder of the inner ear that causes spontaneous episodes of vertigo along with fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear.   

Vertigo is the most distressing symptom of Meniere’s disease. Vertigo is a sensation of rotation or spinning. The vertigo can last from ten minutes to 24 hours. It may also be associated with nausea and/or vomiting. After the vertigo has gone away, most patients have imbalance and fatigue for one or two days until returning to normal.  Hearing loss is also an associated symptom of Meniere’s disease. Hearing loss usually fluctuates. In most cases hearing loss is only in one ear, but in rare instances, hearing loss can be in both ears. The hearing loss is typically in the low tones. If left untreated, hearing can drop until there is permanent loss in that ear. Pressure and/or fullness in the diseased ear are another complaint. This can occur before or during an attack. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear, can also occur. This is often a result of the hearing loss.  

Some famous people thought to have Meniere's include Alan Shephard, Vincent VanGogh, Martin Luther, General Robert E Lee, Jonathan Swift and Julius Caesar.

Most normal individuals cannot appreciate the devastating impact of vertigo. The patient perceives that the world is spinning around them. Vertigo disrupts every aspect of life since the patient loses the ability to do anything normally, especially when movement is involved. It can totally incapacitate the individual, often confining them to bed. 

The Merck Manual states that the cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown; the pathophysiology is poorly understood, and the treatment empirical. Idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops is used interchangeably with Meniere’s disease in the literature. “What would cause an over production of endolymphatic fluid?” 

A theory proposed in the Upper Cervical Chiropractic community is that the most common cause of Meniere’s disease is a structural problem, i.e., an atlas (top bone in the neck) misalignment that is irritating the origin of a nerve that controls both equilibrium and hearing in the ear (Cranial Nerve VIII).  Misalignment between the atlas and Occiput can cause swelling in the immediate area, putting pressure on the nucleus of CN VIII and/or the auditory (Eustachian) tube.  Recently Dr. Michael Burcon investigated the effects of upper cervical specific chiropractic management of one hundred and thirty-nine patients medically diagnosed with Meniere’s disease.  

After upper cervical specific chiropractic care, one hundred and thirty-six out of the one hundred and thirty-nine patients presented with an absence or dramatic reduction of symptoms, especially vertigo…that’s 97%!. After two years, on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 representing the absence of the symptom and 10 being the worst imaginable, vertigo was lowered from an average of 8.5 to 1.4.  Prior to the onset of symptoms, all one hundred and thirty nine cases suffered cervical traumas; most from automobile accidents, resulting in previously undiagnosed whiplash injuries.                  

These improvements made a significant difference for 135 out of 139 patients, effecting whether or not they could work, drive and/or have a positive relationship with their spouse.  They might get dizzy, but would not have vertigo. They might get nausea, but would no longer vomit. For those that still had attacks, they occurred less often, lasted for a shorter duration and were not as intense. Recovery time was also significantly shorter. 

 Here an Example from Dr. Burcon’s study of a Typical Case History with Results  

 “Jack first presented with left-sided Meniere’s on June 11, 2001. He was diagnosed by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist based on the results of a normal MRI of the brain, positive audiological examination for hearing loss, and an abnormal bithermal caloric test (ENG). He was referred to the Michigan Ear Institute, where endolymphatic sac decompression surgery was recommended. He declined surgery and received a letter recommending that he apply for disability benefits, which were granted by the State of Michigan. 

Case history included a rear ended type of automobile accident at 45 mph in 1980. Meniere’s symptoms started in 1994 with frequent bouts of vertigo lasting from one day to one week, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Complaints included constant ear fullness and tinnitus, and frequent neck pain and headaches. 

Jack presented with a 1” short left leg relative to his right.  The next week he presented with his legs balanced and was vertigo free. His wife said that his voice had changed. He reported being able to walk four times as far.  At six weeks, according to his Meniere’s questionnaire, vertigo was down to 2 from 10, nausea/vomiting down to 0 from 10 and ear pressure 1 from 10 (10 being the worst possible). He went just over one year with no vertigo.”

 All patients with a history of vertigo or dizziness should be questioned about a history of trauma, especially whiplash from an automobile accident, contact sports injury, or serious falls. Patients often forget these accidents, thinking that they were not hurt because they did not break any bones and were not bleeding. Patients with a history of both vertigo and trauma should be referred to an upper cervical specific chiropractor for examination.

To find an upper cervical specialist in your area go to www.upcspine.com or if you are in the San Diego County area and are suffering with Meniere’s or Vertigo…call my office to arrange an evaluation…go to www.nuccawellness.com for more info. 

Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Carlsbad Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com  

References: 

http://www.burconchiropractic.com/g5-bin/client.cgi?G5button=626&subcategoryID=2355 

Cervical Specific Protocol and Results for 139 Meniere’s Patients, Michael T. Burcon, B.Ph., D.C. 

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