What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition where a person experiences perceived noises or ringing (high or low pitched) in the ears or head when there is no external source for that sound. The sounds which have been described are whistling, chirping, clicking, screeching, hissing, static, roaring, buzzing, pulsing, whooshing or musical. It can occur on one side or both, can be intermittent or continuous. Usually it gets worse in quiet environments.
What is The Common Treatment for Tinnitus?
Most physicians and audiologists claim that tinnitus comes from an ear or auditory problem, and state there is nothing which can remedy the problem, only manage it. This mainly involves partaking in healthy lifestyle choices such as - exercising, healthy eating, good sleep habits, stop smoking, stress management and relaxation techniques. For some people, tinnitus can be debilitating and can cause, or occur with - insomnia, poor concentration and depression. (I ask myself ‘Are all these symptoms connected to a common underlying condition?’)
A Novel View of Tinnitus
Approximately 20 % of people with tinnitus are due to causes involving ear damage (such as from surgery, infection, long history of being in noisy environments with no ear protection or congential abnormalities). In this case, the ear is indeed damaged and prognosis is usually poor. However, for the other 80% of people (often older people over 60 years of age), the cause of tinnitus has been poorly understood.
Dr. Mark Rogers in his co-authoured book ‘The Pain Truth’ explains his view of tinnitus as being a result of brain micro lymphoedema. Explained more simply, he believes that when there are severe knocks and injuries to the neck and head areas, soft tissue injuries occur, which in many cases do not heal correctly. This leaves the person with a chronic soft tissue injury which is in a continual state of inflammation. Inflammation usually causes pain and swelling where the lymph system cannot drain away fluids properly from the area. This also causes a blockage to the micro-circulation of blood in the area. In short, the injuries cause inflammation and swelling, which causes brain tissue to malfunction.
Most tinnitus sufferers can backtrack and remember a major injury to a neck or head area, and most commonly, they also suffer some form of chronic pain (especially of neck regions) accompanying by mood or concentration problems.
Dr. Mark Rogers explains that if inflammation can be treated and resolved, the tinnitus disappears also. He also explains that tinnitus ringing is not a sound, but inflammation in parts of the brain that sense vibration, which causes the molecules in the brain tissue to vibrate at a higher rate which causes a perceived sound.
How To Treat Tinnitus Naturally
Using Low Level Light (or Laser) Therapy to treat tinnitus has been remarkably successful at the Adelaide Cold Laser Pain Relief Clinic. Treatment is aimed at removing inflammation and healing old neck and back injuries first. This includes the use of tri weekly Near Infra Red therapy to neck and occiput (where neck meets the cranium) areas.
Additionally NIR (Near Infra Red) therapy is used transcranially on specific locations on the skull, around the ears and also part way into the auditory canal using a specialized laser probe.
This treatment combined with gentle lymphatic drainage in the neck and shoulder region (using a vibratory massage with suction) has helped cure tinnitus in numerous cases where no other therapies have been successful.
For further success, taking anti-inflammatory herbs, such as Tumeric, is also beneficial. Other substances which improve blood flow to neck and head areas, can also be applied topically to assist in the progression. This would include DMSO and Magnesium Chloride Oil. In some cases, Frankinsense Essential oil can also be helpful if applied at the base of skull, on specific acupuncture points located around the ears and 1 drop inside at the roof of the mouth.
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) recognizes several different type of tinnitus – it is generally classified into 2 different types – an Excess type and a Deficient type. Excess is usually in the form of ‘Excess Fire Rising’ and the Deficient type is usually from a ‘Kidney Yin Deficiency’. Both types are treated with different acupuncture points and Chinese herbal formulae accordingly.
When NIR therapy, combined with lymphatic vibratory massage, anti-inflammatory herbs, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are all used congruently, optimal results can be achieved for this often difficult to treat condition.