What is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere's DiseaseMeniere’s Disease is a rare condition that affects the inner ear, presenting with symptoms such as a feeling of pressure in the ear, tinnitus or vertigo. In extreme cases it can even result in the permanent loss of hearing. It can strike victims at any time, and is believed to affect up to 1.9 per 1,000 people. It can affect males or females, but it is thought that around 10% of people who develop Meniere’s Disease have a family history with it. In other words, it does not discriminate!

It is a sapping condition that can disrupt everyday life as the attacks can vary in severity and length, lasting from around two or three hours all the way up to days at a time. The most common complaints that arise from Meniere’s Disease are unpredictable bouts of vertigo with nausea and vomiting. The length of these spells is unpredictable and can last anywhere from minutes to hours. However, another issue with the Disease is that people who suffer from it can then go days or even years without suffering their next attack, It can come out of nowhere!

What are the signs of an attack?

Meniere’s creates damage to the hair cell receptors in the inner ear, which then spontaneously sends confused signals to the brain. This initially shows up as a kind of rumbling tinnitus sound at first. Other signs of an attack can include a feeling of fullness in the ear which is aural pressure, or the previously mentioned bouts of vertigo and nausea.

Is there a cure for Meniere’s Disease?

Dealing with Meniere’s Disease can be very difficult, as there is not a known cure for the illness at this time. Treatment is normally based around managing the condition to reduce and control the symptoms. This is done via prescription medications, or changing the dietary intake of sufferers to limit sodium.

However, Neuroworks Chiropractic Clinic in Ealing is a neurological rehabilitation centre that provides a holistic, alternative way of treating Meniere’s Disease. The Ealing Chiropractor offers a vestibular rehabilitation programme, designed to teach the patient how to retrain their balance systems to become more stable. While aimed at improving balance and mobility, it can cause an overall improvement to the quality of life for sufferers of the Disease as they learn how to balance themselves again.

What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?

Vestibular rehabilitation with the Ealing Chiropractor is a customized exercise programme that basically causes dizziness and then teaches you how to deal with it. It isn’t done to cause acute attacks of vertigo, and the physiotherapists will work with you to train your brain to recognise and overcome dizziness and imbalance. Think of it a bit like getting your sea legs! While these exercises won’t prevent attacks of vertigo, they will help with the long term symptoms of dizziness and imbalance, and give confidence that you can recover from the vertigo attacks caused by Meniere’s in the future.

Vestibular Rehabilitation for Ménière’s Disease

menieres diseaseMénière’s disease is a chronic disorder of the inner ear that produces a group of recurring symptoms. These include attacks of vertigo, disturbances in balance with feelings of dizziness and light-headedness, hearing loss, sensitivity to sound, headaches and increased pressure within the ear.

There is no cure for Ménière’s disease so treatment is, most usually, to relieve the symptoms with prescription medication to help control the build-up of endolymph fluid within the inner ear. In some cases, changing to a low sodium diet and taking prescribed diuretics can also bring relief of symptoms for some patients.

Ealing Chiropractors, Johan C. Jeronimus and Jake Cooke offers a third treatment option at his Neuroworks practice, Vestibular Rehabilitation. This is an exercise-based program, designed to improve balance and to reduce the problems associated with dizziness in Ménière’s disease and other conditions affecting the inner ear (the Vestibular region).

The holistic approach at Neuroworks is to tailor any treatment program to the specific needs of the individual and aims to produce the best possible results for each patient. The benefits of this, individual approach, are borne out by the Ménière’s Society, who say on their website that with regard to Vestibular rehabilitation,

“The more customised this balance training is to the individual, the better the results.” (1)

Johan and Jake also strongly agrees with their statement that:

Although the medication is essential in treating acute episodes of vertigo, they are not for long term use.” (1)

To find out more about Vestibular rehabilitation and to make an initial appointment, please call your Ealing Chiropractor at the Neuroworks practice on 020 8566 3757 today.

What Can Vestibular rehabilitation do for me?

Your Ealing Chiropractor will work with you to create a customized exercise programme. The specific exercises prescribed for each patient are those identified as making them dizzy. By performing these exercises and retraining their balance system, patients are able to cope with these feelings of dizziness.

As the patient improves, the exercises no longer provoke dizziness, so harder exercises will be prescribed to enable further improvement. It has been shown that those who are able to undergo a personally customised Vestibular rehabilitation program, do better than those who undertake more generic exercises.

In a downloadable PDF on Balance Retraining, published by the Ménière’s Society, they state that four out of five people who learned and performed the balance retraining exercises reported they felt better within just a few months. However, by comparison, those who did not learn these exercises did not experience any improvement in their dizziness. (2)

How Can Your Ealing Chiropractor Help?

It is important to understand that the exercises cannot prevent the attacks of vertigo associated with Ménière’s, but they can help with the long-lasting problems of dizziness and imbalance. Ménière’s disease causes changes in the inner ear that result in vertigo and changes in the signals sent to the brain.

For those with Ménière’s disease, the exercises help the brain to adjust to these changed signals, giving patients confidence that they will be able to recover from attacks of vertigo more quickly by using the exercises to clear up the persisting symptoms of dizziness and imbalance

Vestibular rehabilitation exercises take persistence and dedication to achieve results, your Ealing Chiropractor can help by teaching you exercises that will be of specific benefit to you, helping you to progress to harder exercises as your dizziness improves and to help you with the motivation you need to achieve the best possible result.

 (1) http://www.menieres.org.uk/information-and-support/treatment-and-management/vestibular-rehabilitation
(2) http://www.menieres.org.uk/files/pdfs/balance-retraining-2012.pdf