Can Physical Therapy help Tinnitus?

Can physical therapy help tinnitus?
Can physical therapy help tinnitus?

Can physical therapy help tinnitus is a common question we get as neck health experts.

Tinnitus has a prevalence of 15% among the adult population.

The problems are normally due to the ear but approximately 40% of these tinnitus patients suffer from somatic tinnitus due to somatosensory changes of the cervical spine or temporomandibular area (Michiels et al 2016).

Somatosensory tinnitus involves problems of the musculoskeletal system rather than of the ear. There are many authors now that underline the involvement of non auditory centers in the pathogenesis and regulation of tinnitus.

Therefore, this could be a sole reason for your tinnitus or a secondary reason for your tinnitus.

We consider this population to have “somatosensory tinnitus” as the patient could have dysfunction in both the neck and the jaw. Therefore, having a specialist who can treat both of these regions is truly beneficial, providing you with an optimal treatment approach.

Can Physical Therapy help Tinnitus?

Somatosensory tinnitus is a subgroup of tinnitus that is responsive to manual-based tinnitus treatments by your physical therapist. Considering the somatic tinnitus population is a rather large group (almost half of all tinnitus patients!), PhysioFit of North Carolina offers tailored and individualized treatments to the cervical spine and jaw.

A multimodal cervical physical therapy treatment can have a positive effect on tinnitus complaints in some patients with a combination of tinnitus and neck complaints.

We recommend 1:1 sessions with your therapist to determine cause:effect of any neck or jaw movements and address those complaints immediately.

To back up our claims, here are two studies showing treatment to the cervical spine with manual therapy, exercise and education:

  • Bakker et al 2012 found that a significant decrease of tinnitus after 12 sessions of physical therapy in 62.9% of the patients.
  • Michiels et al 2016 found 53% of the patients perceived substantial improvement of tinnitus immediately after a 6-week treatment period. This effect was maintained after the follow-up period in 24% of the patients.

These results do show still a portion of patients did not show improvement. At PhysioFit of North Carolina, we not only treat the cervical spine to treat somatosensory tinnitus, but also treat the jaw and face. This is coined TMJ treatment.

If you suspect somatosensory tinnitus or experience any of the mentioned symptoms, we recommend seeking professional evaluation and guidance to better understand and address this unique form of tinnitus.

Patients presenting with tinnitus should consider specialized physical therapy.   We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Somatosensory Tinnitus Relief Program.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!

Tinnitus Treatment