Monday, November 9, 2009

Meniere's Disease: Discussions and Conclusions

by Michael T. Burcon, D.C.

All three Meniere's patients had a history of an automobile accident. All three showed evidence of upper cervical subluxation upon neurological examination, and all exhibited both evidence of a history of whiplash and an existing atlas subluxation in radiographs. All three had posterior and inferior left atlas listings.

It is possible that the anterior tubercle of atlas is irritating the nerve root of CN VIII as it exists from the upper lateral portion of the medulla oblongata, just anterior to the midline of the brain stem. Two patients reported that their ear problems were predominately on the right, the third case was bilateral. If atlas subluxates to the left, it could apply pressure on the right nerve root.

Medical research has established a connection between spinal trauma and numerous neurological conditions besides Meniere's disease, including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy and migraine headaches.

Physicians often make the mistake of thoroughly examining only the area of chief complaint. When relevant, I believe it is prudent to start at the nucleus of the cranial nerve or center that supplies function to that area. For example, the brain stem, for balance disorders(CN VIII), irritable bowel syndrome (CN X, Vagus), high blood pressure (vasomotor center) and sleep disorders (reticular formation).


A case study is limited in its ability to provide conclusions. It is possible that the patients recovered through spontaneous remission or because they believed their problems had been discovered and improved, creating a placebo effect. The time span before chiropractic intervention and the long-term, clinically documented, neurophysiological improvements after initial adjustments weigh against these affects.

All patients with a history of vertigo and/or dizziness should be questioned about a history of trauma, especially whiplash from an automobile accident, contact sports injury, or serious falls, etc. Patient often forget these accidents, thinking that they were not hurt because they did not break any bones and were not bleeding. Patients with a history of both should be referred to an upper cervical specific chiropractor for examination.

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