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Tinnitus caused by neck degeneration

Updated: Aug 20, 2023


Tinnitus is one of the symptoms that are commonly observed in many diseases and conditions. However there aren't many treatment options available other than the hearing aids, which only helps by suppressing the symptoms rather than treating the cause itself.


In Headache and Neck Clinic we aim to target the neck misalignment, which could be the root cause of the tinnitus.


If the cervical spine (neck) is misaligned/displaced (typically caused by traumatic events such as) , the affected joint becomes dysfunctional and ultimately gets fixated. Once the fixated joint is untreated and left alone, due to the deformed shape of the joint capsule, the normal joint articulation is lost/compromised. Compromised joint articulation can lead to the acceleration of the joint degeneration (Spondylotic changes).


In 2018, Henk M. Koning et al published an interesting paper on the International Tinnitus Journal. The study discovered that the larger the size (Very specific size) of the spondylotic change (degenerative change) at the lower cervical spine has potential to disrupt the certain nerve (superior cervical ganglion) therefore responsible for the tinnitus symptom.


What does this mean? It means if there is a certain size of the bone growth at the frontal aspect of the neck (degenerative change), it can compress the nerve physically and can cause the tinnitus symptom.


In Headache and Neck Clinic, this finding is quite common and the primary management and treatment is to correct the mechanical lesion caused by the neck displacement/misalignment.

The aim of the treatment is to secure certain space between the spine and the nerve.


Following are CBCT scans showing examples of typical findings in the tinnitus patients:






Unfortunately not all spondylosis (degenerative changes) induced tinnitus can be improved at Headache and Neck Clinic. If the degenerative change is so severe, and the joint is nearly or completely fused, we found that the outcome is not as effective.


So if you are suffering from tinnitus, tried everything and reached to the dead-end, please contact us for an assessment/investigation to find out if it can be managed or helped.


Reference:

Koning, Henk & Koning, Mark & Koning, Nick & Ter Meulen, Bas. (2018). Anterior Cervical Osteophytes and Sympathetic Hyperactivity in Patients with Tinnitus: Size Matters. International Tinnitus Journal. 22. 97-102. 10.5935/0946-5448.20180017.






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