Dr. Gertner Sees Recent Increase in Cases of Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease
It is well known that chiropractic helps ease chronic pain naturally, without surgery or pharmaceuticals, but many don’t realize that the health benefits of chiropractic extend far beyond the neck and back. Dr. George Gertner, DC, president of Upper Cervical Chiropractic of New York, has been in private practice for more than 20 years, in White Plains. He tells us that, within that time, the majority of cases he sees are of a muscular-skeletal nature. In the past, it was only on occasion that he would see a vertigo or Meniere’s disease case, but over the recent few years, he is seeing an exponential increase in these cases in his office. We sat down with him to learn more about what may be going on.
What is vertigo and how does it relate to Meniere’s disease?
Vertigo is a condition that can be defined as a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve. Meniere’s disease cases have vertigo, but also tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hearing loss.
What are the first things that you evaluate when working with a patient experiencing vertigo?
We look at the four components of the body that feed into the vertigo cycles. We make sure their ears are working properly, make sure their eyes are working properly, look at the jaw position and strength, look at the positioning and integrity of the cervical spine and move on from there.
What sort of misalignment could be causing this?
What we have found is that, when the upper cervical spine is out of alignment, it can cause an irritation in the nerves around the ear. As a result, vertigo and Meniere’s disease can occur. This misalignment is also a commonly overlooked cause for inner ear disorders and, left untreated, the resulting inflammation can lead to fluid blockages in the inner ear which disrupt balance and trigger vertigo symptoms.
Are you seeing success with a particular approach to this?
Upper cervical care is a good option for addressing vertigo. I perform a very specialized form of this called NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association). NUCCA is a painless spinal correction procedure that takes pressure off the nervous system and gently restores the skull, spine and pelvis back to its proper position. By correcting the upper cervical misalignment, the stress to the nerves can be reduced and many vertigo and Meniere’s disease cases can find relief.
What trends related to vertigo are you noticing in your office?
Compared to just a few years ago, the new cases of vertigo and Meniere’s disease have increased more than tenfold.
Is there something that could be causing the recent uptick of these cases?
One theory that exists for the recent increased number of vertigo cases is linked to the COVID-19 vaccine. I cannot say for certain that there is a direct link between the vaccine and vertigo, but what we have seen in our office is that patients that have been under care for vertigo who were vaccinated for COVID-19 did not have any increase in symptoms, and we were able to continue to manage their condition. On the other hand, many new vertigo patients have told us they began to experience symptoms within the first 10 days after receiving a vaccine.
Is anyone doing research on this connection?
A brief research support article entitled, “Acute Vertigo after COVID-19 Vaccination: Case Series and Literature Review,” published in the January 2022 edition of Frontiers in Medicine, discusses several cases of vertigo that occurred shortly after the vaccine. It should be noted that due to the small sample size, a definite cause-effect relationship between vaccination and vertigo cannot be completely inferred, but it is something to contemplate.
What is your take on this?
While some suggest that a relationship between the COVID-19 vaccine and vertigo may exist, it is more than likely that a post-vaccination experience of vertigo could be a manifestation or exacerbation of a previous neurological disorder.
What do you want to say to those that may be experiencing new symptoms of vertigo?
If you are suffering with vertigo you should know that you are not alone and that there are safe and effective treatments available. While the cause for so many new cases can be left up for debate, it is important to seek the care of a professional trained in evaluating and treating the upper cervical spine.
Gertner is one of only 200 doctors worldwide that perform NUCCA advanced spinal correction. His book The Gift of Hope: The Path to Healing through Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a short explanation of how the NUCCA procedure helps many patients with chronic conditions—patients that often have lost hope—get their health back naturally and permanently.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic of New York is located at 311 North St., Ste 410, White Plains, NY. For more information, call 914.686.6200, email [email protected] or visit ucc-ny.com.