Upper Cervical Care and Meniere’s Disease

Upper cervical care has shown significant consistent positive outcomes for people suffering from Ménière’s disease.  Dr. Michael Burcon, an upper cervical chiropractor who has published a number of research papers and lectured internationally at Ménière’s Disease conferences, has shown consistent outcomes through correcting misalignments in the upper neck. In one published study, he showed a 97% dramatic improvement of vertigo symptoms in 300 consecutive patients.  He also found that all of these patients had a history of whiplash an average of 15 years before the onset of Ménière’s.  It is the consistent nature of improvement through upper cervical care that has caught the attention of the medical community, shedding light on the importance of the upper neck in Ménière’s disease.

The Problems Behind the Condition

There have been many mechanisms proposed for the cause of Ménière’s disease.  These causes are often symptomatically addressed one by one.  However, Dr. Burcon has identified six primary issues associated with the symptoms of Ménière’s that are intimately connected to a misalignment of the craniocervical junction (the joints between the skull and the upper neck).

Tension on the Eustachian Tubes

The Eustachian tubes help regulate the air pressure within the ear.  A misalignment of the craniocervical junction affects Eustachian tube function, causing fullness in the middle ear.

Tension on Cranial Nerves

The lower brainstem and spinal cord are suspended in the spinal canal with small ligaments called dentate ligaments.  A misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae can put tension on the nerves that control hearing and balance.

Diminished Brainstem Blood Flow

The vertebral artery supplies blood to the brainstem, which controls functions like balance, influences coordination, and more.  A misalignment of the craniocervical junction can cause spasm or compression of these vertebral arteries, leading to balance issues and contributing to vertigo.

Inflammation of the Upper Neck Joints

A whiplash injury, which is strongly associated with Ménière’s Disease, can injure the joints of the upper neck.  This ofter leads to inflammation, joint adhesions, and nerve irritation that can cause symptoms including neck pain, headaches, dizziness, and hearing loss.

Turbulent Cerebrospinal Fluid

The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by a protective fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  A misalignment of the craniocervical junction can cause the CSF to become forceful and irregular, leading to irritation of nerves that control balance and eye movements.

Poor Immune Function

Nerves from the upper neck control the immune function of the inner ear.  A misalignment of the craniocervical junction can send sympathetic signals to the inner ear, leaving it vulnerable to infection over time.

Comparable Results

Much of the medical literature still acknowledges that the cause of Ménière’s disease is still largely misunderstood, but treatments are still consistently proposed.  Some of these treatments include:

  • Low salt diets
  • Surgical shunts to the inner ear
  • Ventilation tubes to the middle ear
  • Symptomatic management of vertigo with steroids
  • Cutting the vestibular nerve

Although there have been improvements in vergtigo with these treatments, they are quite invasive, often destructive, and have potential negative side effects (except for salt regulation).  Upper cervical chiropractic care has shown repeatable improvements with hundreds of consecutive patients and is becoming increasingly well known.

Correcting the Root

Aligning the craniocervical junction through the Advanced Orthogonal technique used at the Atlas Family Health Center can open the Eustachian tube, decrease tension on cranial nerves, improve blood flow to the brainstem, reduce inflammation in the upper neck joints, improve CSF flow and restore immune function to the inner ear.  Proper upper cervical care will focus on ensuring the long term stability of the craniocervical junction, which keeps these functions working properly.  The combination of these improvements over time can lead to improvement in Ménière’s disease.  This is why upper cervical care is one of the most essential parts of recovery from Ménière’s disease.

Seek the Expert

Dr. Brian Neidenthal in Columbus, OH has a unique focus on correcting misalignments of the craniocervical junction that can lead to brain and body dysfunction.  His post-graduate training prepares him to identify subtle misalignments in this area and correct it using a variety of gentle and precise corrective techniques.  Designed to be a long-term solution, Dr. Neidenthal’s goal is to correct and stabilize the upper cervical spine to restore the integrity of the nervous system.  If you have concerns about you or your family’s health care, contact Atlas Family Health Center in Columbus, OH.

References

Burcon MT. Health Outcomes Following Cervical Specific Protocol in 300 Patients with Meniere’s Followed Over Six Years. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, June 2, 2016:13-23. 

Burcon MT. Upper Cervical Specific Protocol and Results for 139 Patients with Medically Diagnosed Meniere’s Disease. J Vertebral Subluxation Res, November 14, 2010:1-10.

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