Meniere’s Disease: Getting Back Control of Your Life

menieres-disease-getting-back-control-lifeMeniere’s disease falls under the category of an inner ear condition. It was named after Prosper Meniere, a French doctor who discovered that it was actually a condition of the ear, rather than the brain (the popular theory at the time). He recognized there is a group of symptoms that accompanies this particular problem. They include:

  • Tinnitus: a ringing or other noise in the affected ear*
  • Vertigo: a false sensation of movement as if you or the things around you are spinning*
  • Intermittent hearing loss*
  • A feeling of congestion or fullness in the affected ear*
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and possible vomiting
  • Sweating

*To be diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, you must have at least two or three of these symptoms.

Diagnosing Meniere’s Disease

When you visit your primary care doctor with complaints of tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss, he or she will probably have you go through some testing to see exactly what is going on. The doctor may order the following tests:

  • Hearing test: This determines if you actually have any hearing loss and is referred to as an audiometry test. You will put on headphones and hear noises in a variety of volumes and tones. You will tell the one running the test when you can hear certain tones. This will help determine not only hearing loss but also what tones you can hear. You may also be asked to listen to words and repeat them, first hearing them in one ear and then the other so that it can be determined which ear has the hearing loss.
  • An electrocochleography: This measures the electrical activity in the inner ear, as hearing loss can come from here or from a problem in the nerve in the ear.
  • An auditory brain response (ABR): This is used to test the function of the nerves that assist with hearing and the hearing centers in the brain.
  • Balance tests: These are ordered to test the function of the inner ear, as those who have Meniere’s disease will have a reduced balance response in one ear. The most common test used for this is electronystagmography (ENG), which envolves putting electrodes around your eyes to detect eye movement since abnormal eye movements are the response of the inner ear to balance issues. While undergoing this test, hot and cold water will be pushed gently into your ear. The water initiates the balance function of your ears. Then, the involuntary movements of the eyes will be tracked. Any abnormalities will show that there is an inner ear problem.
  • Rotary chair testing: Used less often, this can indicate if the problem you are experiencing is coming from the inner ear or the brain. This test works in conjunction with the ENG because the results of the ENG can become skewed if the ear is damaged or ear wax is blocking one of your ear canals. The chair is moved and eye movements are recorded.
  • VEMP (vestibular evoked myogenic potential): This is used to test for the sound sensitivity of the vestibule of the inner ear.
  • Posturography testing: In order to determine which area of your balance system isn’t functioning properly, you wear a safety harness and stand barefoot on a platform while it is gauged how you react to certain balance changes.
  • Other tests: Your doctor will probably order a few other tests for you to undergo so as to rule out other illnesses. Some illnesses that can mimic the symptoms of Meniere’s disease are multiple sclerosis or brain tumors. MRI’s or CT scans may be done to determine possible issues in the brain.

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Caring for Meniere’s Disease

Traditional care for Meniere’s disease often results in a suggestion from your primary care doctor for a prescription or possible surgery. If medication is recommended, it will be to care for one of the symptoms of the condition because there is no medication for Meniere’s disease as a whole. Motion sickness medication is often recommended to ease vertigo, nausea, and vomiting.  Anti-nausea (antiemetic) medicine may be prescribed. A diuretic may be prescribed to decrease the amount of fluid the body contains. Or the doctor may suggest getting an injection of medication to deaden the nerves in the inner ear.

Vestibular rehabilitation exercises can be helpful with reducing vertigo. These exercises train your brain to accept the difference in balance between your two ears and are often taught by a physical therapist. Hearing aids may be suggested as well.

Surgery isn’t often required for Meniere’s disease unless it is extremely severe and no other options have been seen to help. Surgery can be done on the endolymphatic sac to decrease the amount of fluid produced. Or a vestibular nerve section procedure to cut the nerve that connects the ear to the brain may be done. This reduces vertigo while preserving hearing. As a last resort, a labyrinthectomy is done to remove the inner ear, impeding the balance and hearing function of that ear.

A Natural Option for Meniere’s Disease that Works!

A study observed 139 people diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. When asked to rate their vertigo on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the worst), they came up with an average of 8.5. After a course of care for 2 years by an upper cervical chiropractor, the number dropped to 1.4! This study shows that this type of chiropractic care does work to help with Meniere’s disease symptoms. Why is this the case? Another clue came from this same study. It was found that each of these 139 patients had a misalignment in the bones of their upper cervical spine due to previous trauma, mostly vehicle accidents.

Here at Crowder Specific Chiropractic is McKinney, Texas, we use a similar method to the one used in the above-mentioned study. It is gentle and precise. It helps realign the bones in a more natural way than popping or cracking them. This leads to a longer-lasting adjustment and many see relief from their symptoms of Meniere’s.

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