A ringing in your ears that just won’t quit.
A ringing in your ears that just won’t quit, that pesky mosquito that constantly swarms, but never bites. Tinnitus, the high frequency annoyance that 32% of the US population deals with on a day to day basis. The worst part about tinnitus, according to Healthline, is that it is viewed as incurable. Traditional recommendations include “managing the perception of the sound in your head.” Such treatments include, but are not limited to hearing aids, sound masking devices, behavioral therapy, and some would go as far to take drugs such as antidepressants, but what if there was something different? Something more natural that not only decreases the episodes, but stabilizes the condition. Something more than just masking the symptoms of ringing.
Something like…. Chiropractic?
To understand how chiropractic can help with tinnitus, let’s discover a cause of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of compression on the vestibulocochlear nerve or simply the Auditory nerve. Auditory is derived from the Latine word audire meaning “hear.” The auditory nerve is 1 of 12 nerves that travel outside of the spinal column and are referred to as cranial nerves. This particular nerve exits the skull and runs into the ear to pick up on sounds as a special sensory nerve.
If there is compression in the region around the nerve as it exits the skull, it can cause malfunction between the brain and the inner ear resulting in a high pitched ringing or buzzing. Just like if you have compression on the sciatic nerve in your lower back, you can have pain in the leg. As a chiropractor our goal is to remove any interference or compression on the nervous system, cranial nerves included. A result of chiropractic care, is a decrease in symptoms associated with that nerve.
Let’s take this recent in office case study as an example of how chiropractic can help with tinnitus. This is the case of a 25 year old female who presented to our office with tinnitus. The ringing in her left and right ear began after a dental procedure. Ringing was more prominent in the left ear than the right. Over the course of a year, the patient had been to two Primary Care Physicians and three Ear, Nose, & Throat specialists previous to presenting to our office. After multiple diagnostic testing, she was told “there was nothing wrong” with her and that it was, “something she would have to deal with.” This patient decided to try an alternative method, chiropractic, even though she had never been to a chiropractor before. Our office gathered a detailed history, performed an examination, and recommended x-ray analysis of the cervical spine (the neck). The xray analysis revealed a neck curve reversal, early signs of degenerative joint disease, and an anterolisthesis (forward slippage) of the second cervical (neck) vertebrae on the third cervical vertebrae. Her neck was in serious distress and putting extra tension on her skull. The patient committed to a 3 month care plan, which included gentle spinal manipulation of the cranial sutures (the skull), internally inside the jaw and externally along the base of the skull, and of the cervical spine. During the course of her care plan, patient was only using chiropractic care. By visit 14 the patient had a significant drop in tinnitus pitch and frequency of episodes, and for the first time in a year had no ringing at all in the ear for a night. Patient finished her care plan and continues at maintenance with little to no ringing in her everyday.
Of course, tinnitus could be caused from trauma on the nerve where someone has damaged the inner ear, but with a thorough history and examination we would be able to see if chiropractic can help with your tinnitus! Call or email the office for more information.
Sara Trefnoff, DC