Meniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Abnormal headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hearing loss
- A feeling of congestion in the affected ear
Meniere’s often starts by affecting only one ear. Over time, the other ear may be affected too. Those suffering from Meniere’s sometimes have drop attacks or the sudden falling to the ground while still conscious. Episodes of Meniere’s disease may persist anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. The duration between episodes differs, and hearing loss and tinnitus may become constant if ignored. Meniere’s most often afflicts people between 40 and 60 years of age. Women tend to have it more often than men. It affects approximately 1 in every 1,000 people.
The Origin of Meniere’s Disease
In the early 1800s, people used to believe that the brain was causing this condition until Dr. Prosper Meniere discovered that the symptoms linked with the disorder were coming from the inner ear. He also established that it was a single disorder that included several symptoms. Eventually, his theory became widely accepted, and the name Meniere’s disease was coined.
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Possible Causes of Meniere’s Disease
Little is known about Meniere’s disease, including its exact cause, but it is often attributed to both genetics and environmental factors. Many theories are considered as to why it occurs, including:
- Viral infections
- Blood vessel constriction
- Autoimmune reactions
About 10% of Meniere’s cases run in families. Symptoms are connected to an irregular build-up of fluid in the labyrinth and inner ear. A hearing test and discussion of symptoms with a doctore must be completed before a diagnosis is made. Other conditions that share the same symptoms with Meniere’s are vestibular migraines and transient ischemic attacks.
Self-Care Tips to Get Relief from Meniere’s Disease
There are no approved methods to prevent attacks from occurring. The first step to getting relief from Meniere’s is to ease each symptom. Prescription medications can be taken to stop nausea and anxiety. Other recommendations are listed below:
- Maintaining a low-sodium diet
- Diuretics to decrease fluid retention
- Physical therapy to help with balance
- Counseling to help with anxiety
Surgeries and Treatments for Meniere’s Disease
For severe cases, injections in the ear or even surgery are recommended by doctors, but only if all other options do not seem to work. These are last resorts due to the risks involved. Some of these risky treatments are as follows:
- Surgery to decompress the endolymphatic sac. This includes implanting a shunt and removing the sac to reduce vertigo. However, there’s the risk that the shunts may displace. That’s why doctors only recommend using it when nothing else works.
- Labyrinthectomy may also be done in cases with acute hearing loss and vertigo. A drug is inserted into the ear to kill part or most of the vestibular apparatus. However, in most cases, hearing is almost always lost in the affected ear.
- Tympanostomy tubes are put to those who have Meniere’s and eustachian tube dysfunction. However, studies found little evidence to support that they are effective in treating Meniere’s.
- Vestibular neurectomy cuts the nerve to the part of the inner ear that controls balance. Through this procedure, hearing is preserved. It’s dangerous though as doctors have to cut open the lining of the brain. Hospitals require patients to stay for a few days after surgery to monitor progress.
Natural Ways to Control Meniere’s Disease
There are other steps you can take to manage your Meniere’s disease without taking medications. These ways can be done by changing some aspects of your lifestyle.
- Balance carbs and proteins: When carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream surges. Protein, on the other hand, causes the body to release glucagon to regulate the amount of insulin.
- Keep a low sodium diet: Having too much salt in the body can cause inflammation – a top contributor to the onset of Meniere’s. By lowering your salt intake, fluid retention can be reduced.
- Drink lots of water: This may seem ironic as we have mentioned getting rid of the excess fluid in the body. However, a virus, bacteria, or pathogen may be triggering the fluid build-up to occur. Drinking plenty of water flushes out the body and balances the water contained within.
- Avoid inflammatory foods, sugar substitutes, and MSG: These foods are hard to digest and can cause inflammation and further problems. Aspartame and MSG have been reported to aggravate Meniere’s.
- Avoid caffeine: Caffeine-containing fluids and foods such as coffee, tea, and chocolate have stimulant properties that may make your symptoms worse. Caffeine also makes tinnitus louder and triggers episodes.
- Reduce the amount of stress in your life: Being exposed to stress increases your risk of getting an attack of Meniere's disease that may extend for hours. Manage your stress gracefully.
Correct Spinal Alignment Cures Meniere’s Disease
One underlying cause of Meniere’s disease that doctors are looking at is a misalignment in the top bones of the neck – the C1 and C2 vertebrae. A misalignment in this area puts the brainstem under pressure and causes it to send incorrect signals to the brain. It also impacts the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This can be the culprit for the fluid build-up and the onset of Meniere’s.
A study observed 139 Meniere’s patients before and after they received care from an upper cervical chiropractor. All of them had prior trauma to their head or neck, such as whiplash or a trip and fall. Every one of these patients saw a significant improvement in their symptoms after having their neck bones realigned.
Here at Mountain State Wellness in Morgantown, WV, we use a very gentle method that does not require us to pop or crack the spine. Instead, we encourage the bones to realign naturally. Our patients report similar results as those in the above study. If you are looking for a natural way to relieve your vertigo or Meniere’s disease, give us a call today.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lucas Watterson or Dr. Amy Watterson call our Morgantown office at 304-292-7740 You can also click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.