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Natural Way to Manage Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that is considered to be related to the buildup of excess fluid in the inner ear. It happens most often in people between 20 and 50 years of age. Symptoms can develop suddenly, and include the following:

  • Disabling vertigo attacks
  • Fluctuating hearing loss
  • Ringing in the affected ear (tinnitus)
  • The sensation of fullness in the ear

The duration of these symptoms can be between 1 and 6 hours. Meniere’s disease sufferers will often get an attack following a feeling of fullness in the ear. Tinnitus may either begin or worsen prior to a vertigo attack. These vertigo attacks can be disabling, and due to the severity of them, they can also cause nausea, vomiting, and a loss of balance.

What Causes Meniere’s Disease?

The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is still unknown for the most part. Some evidence indicates that an abnormal level of fluid in the inner ear is the culprit. Within the inner ear, fluid is constantly being secreted and reabsorbed to maintain a consistent fluid level. Two ways that fluid can build up in abnormal quantities are from an excess amount of fluid being produced or from a decrease in fluid reabsorption. Other risk factors include a family history of the condition, allergies, recent illness, and certain prescription medications.

Natural Ways to Cope with Meniere’s Disease

Thankfully there are a number of drug-free, non-invasive treatment options available for Meniere’s sufferers that could potentially reduce the frequency and/or severity of episodes. Most of these natural ways of handling Meniere’s disease focus on maintaining a healthy fluid balance in the body:

  • Low-sodium diet – because salt increases fluid retention in the body, reducing your dietary sodium intake can help limit the buildup of excess fluid in the inner ear by helping the body maintain a normal fluid balance. Excess salt intake can lead to increased fluid retention and more severe symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol – alcohol can affect the quantity and composition of the fluid in the inner ear. Just a single drink can have a negative impact. Therefore, avoiding it completely or limiting intake to infrequent, special occasions can be helpful.
  • Eliminate caffeine – caffeine consumption can make ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, associated with Meniere’s disease far worse. Limiting caffeine intake is a good idea.
  • Quit smoking – quitting smoking has a number of benefits for the body. Did you know that nicotine constricts the blood vessels in your body, leading to an increase in Meniere’s disease symptoms?
  • Manage stress levels – having chronic, high levels of stress can increase a person’s risk for developing Meniere’s disease or make those already affected feel even worse. A few effective stress reduction techniques are meditation, music therapy, going for a walk, individual or group therapy, and yoga.
  • Drink adequate water – managing your water intake and making sure you’re drinking it throughout the day (and not all in one sitting) can help promote more stable inner ear fluid levels.

Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease

Most of our Meniere’s patients say that vertigo is their most debilitating symptom. The episodes of vertigo that are associated with Meniere’s disease can be intense and sudden. The signals from your body’s vestibular system help you brain to properly maintain its sense of balance. When there is excess fluid built up in the inner ear, it can disrupt the signals that inform your brain where your body is positioned in space relative to gravity, which can result in a vertigo episode.

Finding Hope and Relief with Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

There have been big breakthroughs for Meniere’s disease sufferers who are looking for lasting relief. Upper cervical chiropractic care specializes in the uppermost vertebrae in the spine because the position of these bones can have major effects on the vestibular system. In a study of 300 Meniere’s disease patients who received a course of upper cervical chiropractic care, the following was found:

  • All 300 patients had experienced some kind of whiplash trauma in their history, caused by incidents such as car accidents, sports injuries, or falls. Some injuries were mild, others severe.
  • All 300 patients were found to have a misalignment in their upper cervical spine.
  • 97% of the patients stated that they had a significant improvement that made it possible for them to go back to their normal day-to-day activities (driving a car, going to work, having a normal social life, etc.).

One interesting factor to consider is that it took an average of 15 years from the time of the head or neck trauma before the development of Meniere’s disease symptoms occurred.

The vertebrae of the upper cervical spine, the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) are directly below the skull where they have the ability to interrupt normal nerve function, blood flow, and fluid drainage. Adjusting misalignments located here could, as shown in the study above, bring the needed relief for Meniere’s disease symptoms.

Due to the precision of upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, they are surprisingly gentle, not requiring a great deal of force, while also being highly effective. If you have any past head or neck injuries and have also developed any of the symptoms of Meniere’s disease (tinnitus can be an early warning sign of the condition), then getting your neck checked by an upper cervical chiropractor would be an excellent next step.

References:
https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/inner-ear-disorders/meniere-disease
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/menieres-disease

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