On April 27, 2020, the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a case study documenting the improvement of Meniere’s disease with chiropractic. Meniere’s disease was discovered in 1861 by Prosper Meniere and still remains loosely studied and not fully understood today.
According to the NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe dizziness (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear. Meniere’s disease usually affects only one ear.” They estimate that approximately 615,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and 45,500 new cases are diagnosed each year.
This disorder can happen at any age but is most common between 40 and 60 years of age. This condition is considered a disability by the Social Security Administration and diagnosed people who suffer from this can qualify for disability benefits.
In this case, a 68-year-old woman went to the chiropractor because she was suffering from severe dizziness and vomiting that would occur every 3 weeks for up to 8 hours at a time. She was suffering with this problem for the past 8 years. She also reported a secondary issue of occasional minor neck pain. Two years prior to seeking chiropractic services, her Ear, Nose, and Throat physician (ENT) had diagnosed the woman with Meniere’s disease.
The woman described her episodes by explaining that she would start hearing a continuous “roar” in her left ear that shortly developed into 5 to 8 hours of crippling dizziness and vomiting. For the following 2-3 days after the episode, the woman commented that she felt as if she were intoxicated with alcohol.
A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed specifically looking to see if there was a subluxation in the woman’s upper neck. The results of the examination and x-rays revealed that the top bone in the neck, the Atlas (C1), was mispositioned leading to the conclusion that a subluxation was present at C1.
With these findings, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were performed over the following 13 months. The goal of the adjustments was to reduce the subluxation found at the woman’s C1 vertebrae. Follow-up post x-rays were performed during care to access the correction of the atlas from the adjustments.
At the woman’s first reassessment, it was recorded that the woman had not suffered a single episode of Meniere’s disease since she started chiropractic care. After that time, the woman reported only one minor episode of dizziness and three to four short occurrences of feeling intoxicated at times. During the woman’s 2nd reassessment, she claimed that she is doing 95% better since starting chiropractic care.
In their study conclusion, the authors commented, “After the first adjustment, the patient has not had any major MD episodes, with only one short occurrence of dizziness. Her ENT confirmed that the she is no longer showing signs or symptoms of MD (Meniere’s disease).” They added, “The improvement in the patient’s Meniere’s Disease symptomatology while solely undergoing upper cervical care to reduce her atlas subluxation suggests that MD symptomatology may be related to the atlas subluxation.”