Arnold's neuralgia and tinnitus: what is the link?

ear pain in the presence of cervical spondylosis

La Arnold's neuralgia can lead to the appearance of extraneous sounds from an internal source and perceived in the ears or tinnitus. This can happen when the greater occipital nerve suffers a lesion in its course within the cervical spine. It is Cervical tinnitus related to Arnold's neuralgia. This syndrome concerns 7% of cases and affects approximately 20 million French people. We will talk about it in this article.

Definition and anatomy

Cervical spine and head

The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae numbered from C1 to C7. Located just below the head, the cervical spine allows the skull gestural mobility. To form the neck, it is surrounded by muscles, blood vessels, ligaments and arteries. The mobility of the head is due to the presence of a motor nerve that promotes the movements of the muscles of the neck.

The greater occipital nerve or Arnold's nerve is a motor nerve located at the level of the atlas (C1). It is linked to the spinal nerves which run through each cervical to innervate the muscles of the neck.

It is also a sensory nerve. Arnold's nerve branches to parts of the face and ears. Thus, it innervates the back part of the scalp and the face of the head.

The head is made up of a skull and a facial bone. The latter is made up of the jaws, the oral cavity, the eye sockets and the internal and external ears.

Cervical or somatosensory tinnitus

Called tinnitus in English, tinnitus cervical or somatosensory occurs because of trauma to the cervical, jaw, skull and neck muscles. This syndrome is caused by a shock such as whiplash or cervical osteoarthritis. It can happen as a result of bad posture or muscle tension in the cervical vertebrae.

Cervical tinnitus is marked by the following signs:

  • Mild or severe headaches;
  • dizziness, regardless of the patient's position;
  • sleep disturbances;
  • burning pains in the upper back, shoulder and neck area;
  • of facial neuralgia (facial nerve damage);

In the case of cervical somatosensory associated with hearing loss, the same symptoms as those of pulsatile tinnitus, objective or subjective, are felt. The perception of sound happens differently: shrill noises in one or both ears, hissing, buzzing, grinding, hissing, humming, etc. The patient may even lose auditory sensation.

Arnold's neuralgia

Arnold's neuralgia occurs when irritation of the occipital nerve along its entire passage. This syndrome is characterized by sharp pain in the neck. A pain that can radiate to the head and scalp and that affects the back of the eye and ear.

This syndrome is also marked by a headache or migraine, followed by tingling in the head and neck. Above all, Arnold's neuralgia gives a feeling of tinnitus.

To know everything about the Arnold's neuralgia, see the following article.

What is the link between Arnold's neuralgia and tinnitus?

Basically, cervical tinnitus is due to trauma that affects the cervical spine, then causes the blockage of the cervical vertebrae. This will cause a spasm and muscle contraction in the neck. This contraction causes compression of the nerves and vessels and affects its surroundings.

This will directly impact the scalp to mark a pain in the helmet. This is when Arnold's neuralgia is diagnosed.

What can you do to reduce the symptoms of cervical tinnitus?

In order to treat this disease in a conventional way, it is advisable to approach a specialist. The aim will be to clarify the diagnosis with a view to properly orienting the management of the pathology.

Know the causes to cure tinnitus

In case of cervical osteoarthritis, it will always be necessary to go through treatment via non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, accompanied by analgesics. This treatment intervenes in the relaxation of the muscles.

Wearing a neck brace is rarely indicated in order to avoid mobilization of the vertebrae for some time. In addition, physiotherapy (physiotherapy) sessions are always a significant help.

To heal a spinal sprain, it is also advisable to calm the lesions with anti-inflammatories and analgesics. It will then be necessary to go through rehabilitation in physiotherapy and follow the indicated treatments. In very severe cases, it is advisable to directly remove the obstacles that compress the nerve through surgery.

Follow physiotherapy treatments

In the presence of pain, practitioners like physiotherapists (physiotherapists) are better able to provide relief. They study the case of a patient to deduce the appropriate treatments for it.

This way of working helps to gradually reduce pain and improve function. The methods employed are varied and may include:

  • electrotherapy
  • heat and ice
  • massage and mobilization
  • therapeutic exercises
  • postural advice
  • etc.

Adopt the right gestures

When neck and muscle strains occur often enough, a lifestyle appropriate to the situation should be adopted. To do this, start by applying heat to the area where the disfigurement or tension is occurring. This action should be taken as soon as the first symptoms appear.

It would also be necessary to practice constant physical activity such as running, walking or swimming.

On the other hand, choosing the right office equipment such as an ergonomic chair, an office table a little above the waist can help those who carry out a sedentary activity.

In addition, prefer a mattress and orthopedic pillow able to maintain good back and upper body posture.

Wearing a hearing aid during Arnold's neuralgia, is it useful?

By losing hearing, the brain adjusts a new way to process sound waves. To remedy this, it is necessary to attenuate the neuroplastic modifications adopted by the brain in the processing of sounds.

A small digital device precisely uses an amplified microphone which is used to elevate external sounds. So yes, it is sometimes necessary to use a hearing aid during Arnold's neuralgia, but the decision is always up to your doctor.


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