According to the Mayo Clinic's website: Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes spontaneous episodes of vertigo — a sensation of a spinning motion — along with fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In many cases, Meniere's disease affects only one ear.
That's all a little abstract to most people, so let's break it down a bit. The inner ear is where the real magic of hearing happens, behind the eardrum. Those smallest of the bones in your body conduct sound vibrations to the neural tissue that turn the vibrations into information in your brain.
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Problems in this part of the ear are obviously going to cause some interference with your ability to hear well and even cause you to hear some sounds that aren't really happening.
This is where Tinnitus comes in. Tinnitus is, essentially, Latin for inappropriate ringing in the ear. So if you can imagine, or, perhaps you don't have to, a persistent ringing or static sound that obstructs other sounds you actually need to hear. Different people experience different patterns and pitches with Tinnitus, but the effect is the same: a maddeningly persistent sound that follows you to sleep.
Most people also experience a sensation of fullness in the ear. It's not normal, so it is pretty distinct from having water in your ear. Many compare it to that feeling you get while gaining elevation right before your ears 'pop' to compensate for the difference in air pressure. This feeling of pressure is attributed to an excess of fluid in the inner ear.
These fluids vary from person to person. Some are experiencing an infection; some are not getting the proper drainage from the natural fluids found within the inner ear. These fluids all do the same thing when in such volumes: impinge on the function of the ear. The ear isn't just responsible for hearing, though; it is also a key player in keeping you standing upright.
You see, the brain receives information from the ear about where your head is as far as whether it is tilted, upside-down, and when you rotate to one direction or the other. Now, take that information and scramble it; how do you think that would feel? This is what is referred to as 'Vertigo.'
Suddenly, your brain gets all sorts of inappropriate feedback from the inner ear on tilt and rotation. Just like when you were little and got spun around in a chair or went through a looping and twisting roller coaster, you can get nauseated from such episodes and feel the need to vomit.
Many people with Meniere experience these sorts of symptoms in episodes that build up from the fullness in the ear to hearing loss, tinnitus, and finally, a wave of vertigo that can really stop a person in their tracks. These episodes are 'triggered' by various causes. Some include allergies, viral infection, fluid drainage blockage, and head trauma.
Since this disease can lead to permanent hearing loss, it isn't something to sit on and hope it goes away. Finding a Meniere's specialist in your area and having yourself checked out can be the difference in whether you'll suffer from long-lasting damage to the inner ear. Considering the treatment options out there right now, you don't want just anyone probing around in your ear.
Most doctors will advocate a less invasive approach at first, leaving risky surgeries for the last option. This is wise as even a successful surgery can lead to further complications down the line, including permanent hearing loss. Some early approaches include physical therapy, diet adjustments, lifestyle changes, and upper cervical corrections.
Many people aren't familiar with that final approach listed. Upper cervical care is a healing modality focused on correcting the misalignment of joints in the upper neck. Dr. Burcon, a Meniere's specialist out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has published articles in peer-reviewed journals about the effects of this sort of intervention on Meniere's disease.
Essentially, freeing up the joints in the neck relieves the stresses of the muscles and nerves in this area and allows for that healthy drainage of the fluids from the inner ear. This approach is non-surgical and non-medical, requiring no drugs whatsoever. Simply relieving interference from the body so that it can heal like it's made to.
Dr. Burcon studies the patient's individual anatomy with the Blair upper cervical system of analysis. This is especially interesting as it considers that not everyone is built the same, so it makes sense that one person may be more prone to these sorts of disorders than another.
After all, why would you find two people with similar allergies and sinus complications, even similar trauma history, but only one of them has Meniere's?
Dr. Burcon claims that 291 of 300 had experienced complete relief of their symptoms; that's pretty good in our book. The best part is that this type of care doesn't carry the residual side effects as are possible with drugs or surgery. So, where can you find this type of specialist in your area? Give us a call, and we'll help you out.