Conditions related to the vestibular (balance) nerve, such as dizziness,
are often examined in relation to Meniere's Disease. These can have varying
degrees of debilitation, the worst being "drop attacks".
Dizziness is somewhat different than vertigo. It seems to be milder. It
is also known as lightheadedness. Some people also consider
nausea to be one of
symptoms of Meniere's disease.
Dizziness is a feeling of loss or the inability to keep normal balance in
standing or sitting position. One reader described it as “the room doesn't
spin but I am always on a boat.” I think that describes it perfectly! I
think most of us have experienced some form of dizziness and know how
unpleasant it can be, especially for a prolonged period of time. In relation
to vertigo, people tell us, it’s more of an “inside” feeling.
For most people dizziness itself is not a very major
I am constantly amazed when people tell me they are dizzy most days. They
have been told there is nothing to be done. So they accept it. Maybe it’s
not such a nuisance unless you have to work in a job that requires fine
motor skills or maybe pilot a plane, or make serious decisions.
In relation to all the other Meniere's disease (balance and hearing)
symptoms, dizziness would appear to be a minor inconvenience. Having said
that, if you feel dizzy all the time, you can’t function well at anything.
It is very tiring, frustrating, and scary. You are always on the lookout for
accidents. You always feel “off” and unwell.
Plus, of course, you look very normal, so people can’t understand your
edginess. At times you are disoriented, but no one can see anything unusual,
so they can’t understand. I suspect many people look into the future for a
glimmer of relief and hope.
Here are a few (unedited) comments from some of the people with Meniere's
disease that we have helped over the years:
- “So my only symptom is dizziness which never goes away unless I am
perfectly still including head and eyes. “
- “, now i have no energy, headaches every day, dizziness every day,
neck pain daily, my eyes just don't focus so well anymore, and a whole
variety of things that are frustrating and depressing”
- “: I have unexplained constant dizziness and need some relief.”
- “I have been suffering from vertigo and dizziness for years and the
Drs. cannot come up with an answer.”
- “Very frustrated--I've been experiencing the dizziness symptoms for
almost 10 weeks now----the room doesn't actually spin but it feels like
at any moment it will---but it never does. In the past month or so my
ears definitely do feel full especially when I get to work in the
morning----I have been functioning thank G-d and haven't missed work
yet---but this constant dizziness just isn't allowing me to live
People with Meniere's disease seem to adjust their lifestyle much more
easily to a slight dizziness than a strong vertigo. However, it does impact
the family to the extent that the person with Meniere's disease might be
reluctant to drive or participate actively. Or they might be suspected to be
somewhat unsafe when they do drive. Patience and understanding by the family
It is important to point out that people don't ask for these conditions.
This is what they are "dealt" and now have to live with the results of
Meniere's disease as best they can. When they have relatively mild problems
and yet have a difficult time coping, families tend to expect them to
This may be too hard at times to do. Counseling for the entire family,
including the sufferer would be a good decision. But who can you go to?
Therapists are familiar with “Meniere's disease” and its accompanying
symptoms. The traditional belief is that there is nothing to be done outside
of the basic system treatments.
For the family members, Meniere's disease is also a very hard condition
to accept. It's most difficult to understand why this person can't go
somewhere with them. They LOOK all right. So again everyone feels defensive
and skeptical. It requires a lot of patience and understanding to cope with
A Different Way To Look At Dizziness and
Recently, I had the opportunity to consult with a couple of chiropractors
and massage therapists. I asked them if they thought their particular area
of interest had a connection to Meniere's disease. Here is what I really
wanted help me understanding. If the body's musculo-skeletal system was out
of balance, could the ear be affected in ANY way.
I asked if misalignment or injury of the neck, shoulder, or spine could
throw everything off balance and contribute to these symptoms. And they
heartily agreed it could cause imbalance and thus add to or initiate
problems of the inner ear.
They reminded me that the skull, neck, and shoulders all had moveable
parts: bones that are "hinged" and should move smoothly and naturally. The
attached muscles and other tissues should move smoothly in unison, in
alignment. However once this motion is hindered in any way, imbalance of
these structures is created, and with it comes its many challenges.
Bones can "tighten up and freeze". Blocked or impaired circulation can
prevent the all important oxygen, nutrition and body fluids from reaching
vital parts or draining them (removing waste products).
Keep in mind that “impaired circulation” could well result in less than
adequate blood supply to any part of the body, including the head, which
contains the brain. And inadequate blood supply to the brain can cause
You do not have to have any brain injury or trauma. It could be that your
body is imbalanced in its anatomical position and thus blocking some blood
vessels. Here is a link if you want to study more. Look up “hypoxia”, lack
of oxygen going to the brain.
So how much is adequate “anything"? I would think it is when you feel
fine and are not dizzy. Every single person is a little different in their
body. Try to avoid generalizations. Look only at your own situation. A
healthy body is one without problems or “issues”. So if you do have any
“issues”, you know there has to have a cause. And that cause will always
precede your “knowing” all is NOT well.
That now gives you the chance to study what you did in the previous hours
or days. At least you now have something to do, to look for. Something that
might have brought on a Meniere's Disease attack, or at the very least
triggered some of your symptoms such as dizziness.
In some areas such as the inner ear, an overabundance of fluids could be
trapped and thus put pressures on the balance or the acoustic nerves,
causing a shift of their routine pathways. This shift allows incorrect
messages to go to the brain and returns inappropriate commands, which could
lead to drop attacks, dizziness, tinnitus,
hearing loss or impairment,
vertigo, etc. Balance is vital in our cells, our
bodies, our lives.
A few short paragraphs ago I mentioned this is what people are “dealt”.
It has been our experience for years, that everyone is willing to look at
and then treat the Meniere's disease symptoms, but no one ever seriously
looks for the underlying cause. Here we have chiropractors and massage
therapists alluding to misalignment and accompanying changed circulation.
Could reduced circulation be a cause of Meniere's disease, or one of the
contributors? We have come across so many, many other possible causes. All
through this website we talk about “cause and effect”. That it is a
scientific fact and process. Nothing ever happens in our bodies without a
cause. So why not search diligently for the underlying cause? And then fix
that cause. So the idea of being “dealt” this hand of dizziness now assumes
a much less frightening and permanent role.
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.