The Role of the Upper Cervical Spine in Meniere’s Disease

Upper Cervical Spine influences balance

Meniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear, patients with this diagnosis typically experience a feeling of fullness in the ears, tinnitus, dizziness, and bouts of vertigo sometimes called drop attacks. These symptoms can range from mild to debilitating and will often have a significant impact on the person’s life.The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is not known and management of the condition is not widely agreed upon. Medications are often prescribed to try and control the dizziness with varying levels of success. 


Sufferers of Meniere’s disease will often have been through extensive investigations to rule out other causes of their symptoms such as vestibular migraines before being given the diagnosis of Meniere’s; this testing  may include blood tests, MRI scans of the brain, hearing tests, vestibular testing. Many of our patients will report to us that these tests were inconclusive and will have been told that they must just live with their condition. This can be a frustrating situation as their lives are significantly impacted by the unpredictable nature of the condition. At Top Chiropractic we take a different approach and have seen significant improvements in our patients' condition.

How does the Upper Cervical Spine impact Meniere’s Disease?

The Upper Cervical spine is composed of the C1 and C2 vertebrae, these bones form the most moveable joint of the spine. Because of this increased mobility these bones are more susceptible to misalignment. This is important because of the nervous system structures which pass through this area. The upper cervical spine protects the lower part of the brainstem and upper part of the spinal cord. In addition to this the vertebral arteries that pass through the upper neck deliver blood to the brainstem and cerebellum (responsible for balance and postural control). 


Misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae can negatively impact neural communication to and from the ears as well as blood supply to key areas of the brain responsible for balance. We have found that when we bring these vertebrae back into proper relationship nervous system function begins to normalise and healing can occur at a more optimal rate. When this happens patients start to experience improvement in their Meniere’s symptoms. Typically the first changes patients experience are a reduction in intensity, duration or frequency of vertigo attacks. This has a huge impact on their day to day life as they are able to function more normally without fear of an attack. Following this we usually begin to see fluctuation in the ear pressure as their body is better able to regulate air pressure through the eustachian tubes. At the same time the nature of their tinnitus can begin to change, often fluctuating at first before reducing over time. 


Each Meniere’s case is different and requires in depth specific assessment the nervous system and upper cervical spine. This is done during the initial examination, we examine brainstem function using neurological assessment and paraspinal thermography. We correlate these findings with spinal assessment and specialist imaging which will guide us as to what specific corrections need to be made to the upper cervical spine. Each care plan is tailored to the patient’s needs. 


Meniere’s Disease is one of the top three conditions people come to see us with and we have increasing experience of how to manage this condition and help people using our specialist approach. If you or someone you know is struggling with Meniere’s Disease or similar vestibular issues get in contact with us to find out more about how we can help.

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