Monday, January 7, 2013

How many of you suffer from ringing in the ears? Tinnitus is at best an irritant but can make some sufferers feel alienated, distressed and in some cases suicidal. Tinnitus is characterized in many ways; often high-pitched ringing, squealing, hissing, clicking, roaring, buzzing or whistling in the ears, it can drive tinnitus sufferers mad!

Tinnitus is best described as the perception of noise in the absence of any acoustic stimulus. (Hearing something from inside your head instead of from outside it.)

Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss and it’s causes have been discussed for centuries. Tinnitus is common. Almost everyone experiences a mild form of tinnitus once in awhile that generally lasts from a few minutes to a few hours. I’m sure most have you have been to a rock concert or night club and the following day suffered fuzzy ears!

In some of the world’s oldest medical texts­­—papyrus scrolls from ancient Egypt, clay tablets from Assyria, Brazilian rock paintings—people complain about noise in their ears. In each of these locations in the distant past doctors offered all sorts of strange cures for it. The Assyrians poured rose extract into the ear through a bronze tube. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder suggested that earthworms boiled in goose grease be put in the ear. Medieval Welsh physicians in the town of Myddfai recommended that their patients take a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven, cut it in two, “and apply to both ears as hot as can be borne, bind and thus produce perspiration, and by the help of god you will be cured.”

Early physicians based these prescriptions on what they believed tinnitus to be. Some were convinced it was caused by wind that got trapped inside the ear and swirled around endlessly, so they tried to liberate the wind by drilling a hole into the bones around the ear or using a silver tube to suck air out of the ear canal. The treatments didn’t work and were horribly painful and damaging, but they did have a naive logic.

Current research throws new light on the problem as reported last year by The Journal of Neuroscience that the noises are a by-product of the brain ‘turning up the volume’ to cope with subtle hearing loss.

“Tinnitus is clearly a disorder of the brain, not the ear”, says study coauthor Roland Schaette of the University College London Ear Institute. One convincing piece of evidence: Past attempts to cure the condition by severing the auditory nerve in desperate patients left people completely deaf to the outside world — but didn’t silence the ringing.

Whether the tinnitus happens because of exposure to loud noise over a period of time, ear infection, foreign objects or ear wax in the ear, Meniere’s disease, high blood pressure, allergy or anemia, it is a problem that is occurring from compromised nerve function.

Alcohol, caffeine, antibiotics, aspirin, or other drugs can exacerbate ear noises.

Typically, your medical doctor will prescribe an antidepressant. This might well address your ability to cope with an annoying problem but the associated problem of taking strong medications and their effect on your body seem to be a high price to pay-especially when the drug does nothing to solve the symptoms.

As a Gonstead Chiropractor, it is my job to ensure that there is no interference on any of the nerves that exit from the spine. I do this by realigning the spine where it is ‘Subluxated’.

A subluxation is misaligned vertebrae causing swelling (physiological changes) that interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses at the point where they exit from the spinal cord traveling to vital organs, tissues, and cells in our bodies.

A friend of mine underwent extensive dental surgery last year, received a very large impact to the middle of her back and has been anemic for some time.  All these problems have been linked to the causes of the tinnitus from which she was suffering.

I have given her treatment for the last six months; initially the ringing would disappear for 2 to 3 days at a time. As the months have gone by, I am happy to tell you that she can be symptom free for 3 or more weeks at a time, one day she will wake and there will be no sounds again.

Now she in turn knows a friend who refuses to come in for treatment for the same symptoms as he thinks Chiropractic care couldn’t possibly help…strange, just think - a possible antidote to the discomfort and annoyance of consistent noise is at hand, (just remember how good life is without it!) but this guy won't try it for himself!

Yours in Health

DR. J B Whitlow

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