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Whiplash and Meniere’s Disease Connection

Posted in Head Pain Disorders on Apr 08, 2020

Whiplash and Meniere’s Disease Connection

Is Meniere’s Disease a neck injury in disguise?

Clinical research suggests that Meniere’s Disease may be the result of an old whiplash injury. 

If you’ve been to Meniere’s Disease specialists - had all the tests including MRIs, hearing tests and nerve scans - but your tests have always come back as “normal,” you may be wondering how that is even possible!

Well, how many of these tests have focused on your neck? Or have they all been looking at your brain and inner ear for tumors, infections, and swelling?

If so, it is possible that your Meniere’s Disease specialists have been looking in the wrong area. Not to say that their efforts have been 

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If you have spent thousands of dollars over many years looking for answers, and if you’re just over it(!) and ready for a different approach that may be able to help you with your Meniere’s Disease, then this article is for you.

In this article, I will explain the potential connection between your neck, whiplash and Meniere’s Disease. And then I will share with you a powerful approach that is being shown through research to have a significant positive impact on supporting people with Meniere’s Disease.

If you want to learn more, read on.

 

What you may not know about Meniere’s Disease

Did you know that Meniere’s Disease is not actually a disease at all?! 

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It is a name or label that is used by convenience to describe people who experience vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and other hearing issues all at the same time.

So the label “Meniere’s Disease” does not identify the underlying CAUSE of the condition …

Because IF the cause of “Meniere’s Disease” was a tumor, infection or inflammation of your inner ear organ or nerve, your Meniere’s Disease specialist would call it by another name.

That can be one of the most frustrating things when dealing with a condition like “Meniere’s Disease.” It is because you can spend thousands of dollars and years searching for answers -bouncing back-and-forth between specialists - but never receiving an answer to that most fundamental question, “What is CAUSING my Meniere’s Disease?”

Please do not misunderstand me: the standard medical approaches including dietary modifications (low salt, caffeine, and alcohol) have a purpose and can help relieve the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease. Nevertheless, so long as the underlying cause remains, the symptoms will likely persist.

So “Meniere’s Disease” is simply the label when they cannot find what is actually going on in your brain …

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… But maybe - just maybe - it’s because the problem isn’t in your brain at all. Maybe the problem is actually in your neck.

 

What is the link between Meniere’s Disease and your neck?

Your neck aka cervical spine is the literal lifeline between your brain and body. It is comprised of 7 cervical vertebrae with special mention of the top two: your atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae, which support the weight of your skull and provide 50% of your total head and neck movement.

The relationship has been described as a heavy flower sitting on a weak stem. It is because your neck is the most important but also the most fragile area of your spine.

Even though it rarely gets any press coverage, “Neck Health” is one of the vital elements to your total wellbeing.

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The reason is that the muscles and nerves in your neck contain an extremely dense number of receptors for sensory information, which includes pain, balance and body position sense. These nerve receptors are called “proprioceptors.” They are what tell your brain where your body is in open space. 

To illustrate, proprioceptors are what allow you to walk in a straight line with your eyes closed without falling over.

However, if these exact same muscles and nerves in your neck are damaged, then they can send your brain faulty information, which is interpreted as pain, disequilibrium, dizziness, vertigo, and tight muscles.

And if the tight muscles so happen to affect your ear and sense of hearing with a sense of vertigo, that is how you Meniere’s Disease specialist comes to the conclusion that you have Meniere’s Disease.

There is an additional consideration that deserves mention. The veins that recycle blood from the base of your brainstem (where the balance and coordination centers are located) are known as the cerebrospinal veins.

These veins descend directly through passages between your C1, C2 and lower cervical vertebrae, like a garden hose winding its way around your house. It is believed that physical neck injuries may have the potential to “kink” the hose ever so slightly, and as a result, cause blood to congest within your head. 

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It is called the “chronic cerebrospinal versus insufficiency (CCSVI)” hypothesis, and it has been proposed as an additional plausible explanation for the symptoms of Meniere’s disease plus a host of other conditions including pressure inside your head, migraine headaches, vestibular migraines and even neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

As I hope you now realize, they are a series of anatomical links that may explain the relationship between your neck health and a syndrome such as Meniere’s disease. 

If you have been struggling with Meniere’s disease for a long time, it is unfortunate if no one has ever explained this potential connection before! 

Nevertheless, you are likely now wondering. “How is it possible to experience Meniere’s disease if you have not suffered a recent injury?” I will explain in the next section.

 

How can Meniere’s Disease be coming from my neck if it wasn’t in a whiplash injury?

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Dr. Michael Burcon is an upper cervical specific chiropractor in the USA, whose field of expertise is in the relationship between head-neck injuries and Meniere’s Disease. In his career, he has worked with over 600 people diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease and reports a 97% success rate in helping improve quality of life for people experiencing Meniere’s Disease. 

In his research, he has discovered a common link among people with Meniere’s Disease: 

They have suffered a whiplash-type injury approximately 10-20 years BEFORE the onset of symptoms.

Let’s look at a few things. The first is the term whiplash type of injury. Whiplash is any sudden snapping of your neck either forwards-and-backward or side-to-side. It does not have to be caused by a car accident. In fact, many common whiplash-type injuries occur in everyday life:

  • Tripping or falling down. Even if your head doesn’t hit the ground, the sudden jerk on your neck can still be great. In fact, a simple fall can produce 10-100Gs worth of force directly on your head and neck (10Gs is the threshold to cause whiplash, and 100Gs is the threshold to cause a concussion).
  • Slipping and landing on your tailbone. Like cracking a whip, your neck is the terminal end. And because it is the most fragile part of your spine, even if you don’t experience sudden pain there does NOT mean that it doesn’t have the potential to cause a significant injury.
  • Getting tackled playing sports. That includes not just the codes of football, but also cycling, skateboarding, surfing, swimming, gymnastics, and horse riding.
  • Getting in a car accident. Yes, even a 10kph fender bender in the parking lot still has the potential to put 25Gs worth of force through your neck!
  • I hope that this first point illustrates that there are a great many ways to produce a whiplash injury that does not always involve horrific accidents!

I believe that is part of the reason that we see these injuries so commonly! Not all injuries cause broken bones, bleeding or even pain! It is because our bodies are designed to adapt to stress and to self-heal. The problem is that if we have tiny injuries that don’t cause pain - even if they are only a few millimeters big - they may have the potential to cause long term damage.

Think of it like rust on a machine or an old car. A little bit of water and corrosion doesn’t cause immediate damage. However, enough water over a long period of time accumulates. The more time, the greater the damage.

The same goes for your spine. Often, when people suffer whiplash injuries unless there is major damage there is no immediate pain. Nevertheless, if you were to receive a series of x-rays to your neck in particular over a 5-20 year period, you would be able to see progressive degenerative changes appearing.

Still, your body is designed to adapt to this stress as much as possible. However, it can only adapt so long until eventually, something gives. And if that stress so happens to impact your neck muscles and nerves just the wrong way - particularly affecting those proprioceptors that we mentioned earlier, that may be well how the symptoms of Meniere’s disease finally come to evolve as the result of a 10-20-year-old injury that you otherwise would have never realized could be linked to your current circumstances.

 

There are three inescapable forces that all human beings experience:

  1. Time
  2. Gravity
  3. The continued physical stress of daily living

Even though we can’t escape or undo these forces, we are still capable of improving our circumstances. In other words, what I am saying is even if you Meniere’s Disease may be caused by an old injury - and even if you have whip.ash and physical damage in your neck - it may still be possible for your body to heal so that you can experience a much greater quality of life.

In the next section, I will share with you a different approach to healthcare called “Blair upper cervical care” that focuses on the health of your cervical spine (with emphasis on the C1 and C2) area for the purpose of allowing your body to heal and function and it's optimum without drugs or surgery.

 

The Blair technique and Meniere’s Disease

The Blair technique is a unique approach to health and healing. It is known as an “upper cervical specific” chiropractic approach in that its primary focus is on the alignment of the C1 and C2 vertebra. Unlike general spinal manipulation, the Blair technique does NOT use twisting, popping or cracking, which can stretch the muscles in your neck.

The Blair technique is a specific, custom-tailored and precision approach to restoring normal alignment with the least amount of force for the positive possible outcome.

Blair upper cervical care is based on a few premises of neurology and body healing:

 

  1. It is not your doctor or Meniere’s Disease specialist who does the healing. It is your own body that does the healing. It simply needs the chance!
  2. Your nerve system is responsible for healing in your body. Physical problems that affect your nervous system may, therefore, interfere with normal body healing and lead to health problems such as Meniere’s Disease.
  3. The C1 and C2 vertebrae, because of their anatomical relationship with your brainstem, have a particularly powerful impact in healing. Misalignments even as small as 2mm may be enough o disrupt normal nerve function and blood flow. (And if you think that 2mm is too small to make a difference on your health, remember that in 2020 a 0.000020mm virus brought the whole world to its knees!)
  4. These misalignments, which Blair upper cervical chiropractors call “subluxations” are different in every human being. It is why Blair upper cervical chiropractic doctors perform a series of detailed tests before providing care. These tests include specialized, 3D x-rays that help to reveal the exact directions and degree of misalignment in your neck. When these exact details are known, it becomes possible to correct the misalignments without twisting, cracking or manipulation.
  5. The purpose, then of a Blair upper cervical chiropractic adjustment is to precisely correct these misalignments so that your own body is able to heal itself naturally to the best of its ability.

 

In this way, the Blair technique is not a direct treatment for the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease. Nevertheless, it is an approach with a demonstrated track record illustrating its potential to support people with Meniere’s Disease to enjoy a better quality of life.

 

 

Meniere’s Disease and Blair upper cervical chiropractor Brisbane

Dr. Jeffrey Hannah is an Advanced Board Certified practitioner of the Blair upper cervical technique. He has also studied numerous additional methods focusing in the role of the upper neck (C1 and C2) with Meniere’s Disease, health and overall healing including Atlas Orthogonal, NUCCA, and the QSM3 methods.

He is an instructor for the Blair technique in Australia and New Zealand, an international lecturer and author.

Our practice, Atlas Health Chiropractor North Lakes is dedicated to providing help and hope for people in Brisbane and across Australian seeking healing from their long-term health conditions.

We understand that everyone’s condition is unique, and so if you have found this article to be of value - and this approach resonates with you - we would like to hear from you. Dr. Hannah offers a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation where he is happy to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have to decide is Blair upper cervical care may be right for you.

If you would like to schedule a no-obligation (free) consultation with Dr. Hannah, simply click the Contact Us link on this page, or call us direct at Atlas Chiropractor North Lakes on 07 3188 9329.

We wish you the best and would be privileged to assist you with your health goals.

Atlas Health Australia - A passion and purpose for helping people live life again.”

 

References

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Attanasio G, Califano L, Bruno A, et al. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency and menière's disease: Interventional versus medical therapy. Laryngoscope. 2019 Nov 11. doi: 10.1002/lary.28389. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31710712 

Boyd-Clark LC, Briggs CA, Galea MP. Muscle spindle distribution, morphology, and density in longus colli and multifidus muscles of the cervical spine. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002 Apr 1;27(7):694-701. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11923661

Burcon MT. Health Outcomes Following Cervical Specific Protocol in 300 Patients with Meniere’s Followed Over Six Years. Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ June 2, 2016, ~ Pages 13-23. https://www.vertebralsubluxationresearch.com/2016/06/02/health-outcomes-following-cervical-specific-protocol-in-300-patients-with-menieres-followed-over-six-years/

Du HG, Wei H, Huang MZ, et al. [Randomized controlled trial on manipulation for the treatment of cervical vertigo of high flow velocity type]. [Article in Chinese]. Zhongguo Gu Shang. 2010 Mar;23(3):212-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20415082

Grgić V. [Cervicogenic proprioceptive vertigo: etiopathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and therapy with special emphasis on manual therapy]. [Article in Croatian] Lijec Vjesn. 2006 Sep-Oct;128(9-10):288-95. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17128668

Kulkarni V, Chandy MJ, Babu KS. A quantitative study of muscle spindles in the suboccipital muscles of human fetuses. Neurol Indfa, 2001;49(4):355-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11799407

Ndetan H, Hawk C, Sekhon VK, Chiusano M. The Role of Chiropractic Care in the Treatment of Dizziness or Balance Disorders: Analysis of National Health Interview Survey Data. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016 Apr;21(2):138-42. doi: 10.1177/2156587215604974. Epub 2015 Sep 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26362851

Thompson-Harvey A, Hain TC. Symptoms in cervical vertigo. Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2018 Nov 28;4(1):109-115. doi: 10.1002/lio2.227. eCollection 2019 Feb. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30828627

Yang L, Chen J, Yang C, et al. Cervical Intervertebral Disc Degeneration Contributes to Dizziness: A Clinical and Immunohistochemical Study. World Neurosurg. 2018 Nov;119:e686-e693. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.07.243. Epub 2018 Aug 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30092465

Yang L, Yang C, Pang X, et al. Mechanoreceptors in diseased cervical intervertebral disc and vertigo. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Apr 15;42(8):540-546. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27438387

Yang G, Li YN, Wang N, et al [Blade needle treatment improves cervicogenic dizziness by increasing blood flow of vertebral basilar artery]. [Article in Chinese] Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2019 Jul 25;44(7):512-5. doi: 10.13702/j.1000-0607.180536. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31368283

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