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Can Neck Problems Cause Inner Ear Problems?

Posted in Hydrops, Meniere's Disease, Tinnitus, Vertigo, Vestibular Disorders on Dec 31, 2016

Can Neck Problems Cause Problems With Your  Inner Ear?

Many chronic health problems can be caused by inner ear problems. It is also true that neck problems can cause inner ear problems. Vertigo, hydrops, tinnitus, hearing loss, and Meniere’s disease can all be coming from the neck.  These health problems are related to nerves that either exit the brain-stem or have their nuclei in the brain-stem.   

Dr. Michael Burcon and others have shown how  important the upper neck is in the function of inner ear conditions. In this blog we will outline how many health problems have their roots in your neck. Dr. Michael Burcon has shown that upper cervical spine injuries can result in Meniere’s disease and the symptoms that associate with it . (1) 

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In a paper published in 2006 Dr. Burcon showed that correction of upper cervical misalignment was responsible for 134 out of 136 cases with Meniere’s disease. Once these individuals had their upper cervical misalignments corrected they either mostly or completely recovered with their Meniere’s disease. 

Other research shows that there is a relationship between the Eustachian tube and the upper cervical spine(2). One of the most common symptoms Meniere’s patients talk about is a clogged  or “stuffed “ ear. There is evidence that this symptom is the result of dysfunction of the neurology that controls the tone of the muscles that line the eustachian tube. 

Burcon points out that the average onset of Meniere’s disease is 12.5 years after a neck injury.  Other research suggests that neck injury can result in tightening of the suboccipital muscles(muscles at base of skull).  A muscle of interest, rectus capitis oblique minor, has been tied to spinal cord interference(3) 

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It appears that neck injury has several mechanisms in which it interferes with normal neurology of the upper cervical spine. This may be what is the underlying cause of Meniere’s disease, some vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss.

What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic?

Our upper cervical chiropractic offices here in Los Angeles have been helping people with vestibular associated health problems for years. While we do not have all the answers for every patient, it has become clear that the upper cervical spine plays a major role in these conditions. 

The upper cervical procedure's goal is to locate spinal misalignments that interfere with the central nervous system.  Objective tests are run to determine which spinal level is causing interference. Once located, precise x-rays are taken of the individual joints of the neck. 

This allows the doctor to precisely visualize the joint misalignment. Measurements are taken off the joint because each person is built differently, and then used to make a precise, gentle correction.  The correction’s aim is to restore normal biomechanics and to reduce irritation to the spinal cord.  

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Over time the patients are monitored each visit to determine whether they are holding the correction or not. Over time the soft tissue repairs, the spine returns to its normal structure, and the healing of the tissues affected by the irritated nerve tissue follows. 

Our adage is, “nature needs no help-just no interference”. Are you suffering from Hydrops, Tinnitus, vertigo hearing loss?  Have you had a neck injury that may have predated your symptoms? 



  1. Dan Murphy DC
  2. NCBI
  3. The Neck Joint