Visual Snow - A unique treatment approach

Visual snow or visual static is transitory or persisting visual symptom where people see snow or television-like static in parts or the whole of their visual fields, constantly in all light conditions even visible in day-light. There is no available treatment medically but we think there may be some connection to TMJ Dysfunction

Visual Snow - A unique treatment approach

Postby themsforum.org » Sun, 18 Oct 2015, 8:38 am

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[centre]By Dr M. Amir[/centre]
Published in Positive Health Magazine January 2015

Visual snow is a transitory or persisting visual symptom where people see snow or television-like static in parts or the whole of their visual fields, 24/7 that is everywhere and in all lighting conditions. It is a persistent disturbance in the entire visual field resembling the static of an analogue TV set. A large proportion of 'Visual Snow' patients have bilateral continuous tinnitus.

The severity or density of the "snow" differs from one person to the next; in some circumstances, it can inhibit a person's daily life, making it difficult to read, see in detail and focus correctly. You can get a good idea from this link and perhaps can use it to ascertain your exact scores in different lighting conditions.

No cause for visual snow has been identified, and anecdotal reports point to a multitude of associated conditions, possibly rendering it a non-specific symptom. Insofar as sufferers of visual snow have undergone ophthalmic, neurological and psychiatric examinations, no systematic problems besides the visual snow have been identified and hence no treatment is available.

I came across such a patient and noted that she has a terrible neck problem, IBS and TMJ dysfunction. We started treatment with little resolution of the symptoms in the early stages but her IBS started resolving. Gradually her neck started improving and the visual snow symptoms started abating a little. The patient did not see any improvement until she lost her dental appliance when she realized that her ‘Visual Snow’ deteriorated rapidly to the original state. On restarting the appliance the 'visual snow' symptoms again subsided slightly as before.

What could be the explanation?

Correcting the TMJ improves the neck muscles. Some deep muscles in the middle of the base of the head play an intimate role in proper eye function. The deepest layers of muscles (the suboccipital "star") are crucial and have the highest number of stretch receptors. Their connection, from eye movements to coordination of the rest of the back musculature, is remarkable.

These muscles have been shown to have 36 muscle spindles/gram of muscle tissue. The gluteus maximus, by comparison, has 0.7 spindles/gram. That is a 50-fold difference.

To feel their connection to eye movements, put your hands up on either side of your head with your thumbs just under your skull at the back middle of the head. Try and feel past the superficial muscles to get to the deep ones under the occipital ridge.

Close your eyes and then turn your eyes to the right and left while your other fingers keep your head from moving. You will feel those little muscles changing tonus under your thumbs even though your head is not moving. These little primary muscles are responding to your eye movements.

Look up and down and you will feel other muscles within this set engage in a similar way. Try to move your eyes without these muscles moving and you will find that it is impossible. They are so fundamentally connected that any eye movement will produce a change in tonus in these sub occipitals.

It appears that the hearing and vision senses are intimately affected by the state of these deep suboccipital muscles. A disturbance in the muscle tone at the base of the mid occiput perhaps upsets the ocular and auditory pathways causing in some the effect perceived as 'Visual Snow'. In many patients 'tinnitus' is a frequent accompaniment.

The picture also shows how the back spinal muscles are literally suspended from the areas controlled by the suboccipital muscles. We have repeatedly seen how correcting the Atlas vertebrae immediately corrects the asymmetric hips most people suffer from - also known as the short leg phenomenon.

The tension in these muscles is also the cause of most headaches and migraines.

The way these muscles interact with the eyes is exemplified by a falling cat which always lands on its feet

When a cat finds itself in the air, it uses its eyes and inner ear to orient its head horizontally. This puts certain tensions into these suboccipital muscles, which the brain "reads" from the stretch receptors. Based on this reading the brain "unwinds" the spinal muscles to organize the entire spine from the neck down, so that the cat's feet are under it before it ever hits the carpet.

Apart from improving the TMJ dysfunction and bringing about Cranio-dental symmetry to resolve the tension in the sub occipital muscles it is also advantageous to have a little bit of daily sub occipital release which can easily be accomplished by visiting an alternative practitioner.

A patient wrote on the internet:

“I've had visual snow for as long as I can remember............ I only occasionally get tinnitus; not ringing but more like I'm a mile away from a rock show. Sometimes I still look around wondering "Where is that music coming from?!" only to realize I'm the only one vaguely hearing it.............. I was studying massage therapy and was getting a head/neck massage from one of the 2nd year students. She worked on the muscles in my neck then did a sub-occipital release. Your sub-occipital muscles are literally the muscles that move your eyes, and "releasing" them is just literally stretching them out causing them to relax.

I don't know if it worked right away. However, I do remember going outside to catch the bus home. It was night... and I just looked around, totally amazed. No snow in the darkness! The headlights of the cars and the street lights didn't have monstrous halos!”

Another patient replies:

"I am suffering with muscle tension every day and I do get that feeling like when you hold your breath and try to make your head red (pressure type feeling) that is actually just caused by blood that isn't flowing through enough...
I suffer from very heavy VS. Can't go outside to do anything anymore without getting back with a headache that lasts for days! all I can do is relax at home...
it started with pain in my neck my VS increased like 80% "

Another comment by a reader:

I saw an ophthalmologist a year or so ago who had spent 5 years researching visual disturbances. He said he'd met people who had similar problems to me with the things moving when they're not, jumping vision, colours not being right, flashing, blind spots, halos, strobes and bright colours when you've got your eyes shut. Anyway he said they'd never found a cause but noted the similarity in other apparent symptoms and patient history, for example previous head injury, non-binocular vision, fatigue, IBS, dizziness, tinnitus and headaches.

What does this all mean?

What I deduce from extensive studies and experience with just one patient is that 'Visual Snow' is not an isolated symptom. It is part of a broader picture where patients suffer from a host of other symptoms like neck pain, fatigue, IBS, tinnitus, other ear problems, headaches and migraines all caused by bodily asymmetries. It appears that the neck in these patients is more seriously damaged through injury and/or Cranio dental dysfunction. All these accompanying symptoms are very amenable to treatment. It should therefore be possible to bring about a resolution of 'Visual Snow' symptoms. If I had sufficient patients I could probably get results very fast in a small percentage instead of 'No cure' at present for this condition.

My patient certainly has a history of illness with a number of symptoms starting at age 10. I shall put up a graphical representation soon. I suspect that in other patients VS is not a sudden onset and a culmination of a long process with many other symptoms present. Completing our questionnaire will go a long way to find a solution for your VS.

Christmas post from my first 'Visual Snow' patient:


"Thanks for all your help and support over the past year. This time last year I would not have been able to write this card"

New inquiries from patients appear to confirm my contentions:

"I have suffered with TMJ for many years, perhaps since I was as young as twelve, but around 4 years ago my symptoms became much worse. Seemingly all at once I got tinnitus in both ears, a type of "brain fog", and visual snow. At the time I had no idea what was happening to me, and I didn't know any terminology. I thought I was going mad! My visual snow relaxed after 4 months, but my tinnitus carried on as well as having serious TMJ problems. Recently, my visual snow has returned, making life very difficult."

"I have suffered with TMJ for many years, perhaps since I was as young as twelve, but around 4 years ago my symptoms became much worse. Seemingly all at once I got tinnitus in both ears, a type of "brain fog", and visual snow."

"The fact that I have visual snow, extreme jaw pressure, neck tightness etc and a history of high impact sports that were on my neck/ back, poor posture, dreams of extreme jaw grinding is giving me high suspicions that I may have uncovered something [in your article] here. "

"I, seemingly, suddenly developed trouble with my vision. Initially, I could not focus on print on page or the computer screen. This would cause me to get headaches, earache and suboccipital pain. At the same time I noticed that I was getting static-like flashing in my vision, most notable in the dark. From this I found out about Visual Snow from the internet.

For the past month my headaches haven't been constant. The earache is still present, but less severe, and my jaw is not as achy but feels a bit tight."

"I am now experiencing the onset of Visual Snow - an absolutely horrible condition and my anxiety has really returned. It's effecting my work dramatically and is now at the point where I can't read properly.

I noticed a slight shimmering effect about a year ago and since 5 months ago it has steadily increased into full blown Visual Snow.

Ive always felt my jaw was not right since being punched as a teenager. Often feeling tight.. making severe squelching or crunching sounds... tinnitus began about 3 years ago and seems very linked to my Visual Snow. Tinnitus also louder in right ear and louder still when I open my jaw.

My neck has become so tight that often I cannot sleep properly without holding it folded back in the most unnatural position. I have always had posture problems (i think I have a bit of a forward neck position) but this neck problem has really gotten worse the past couple of years." [This patient also has about 35 other symptoms around the body]

"I got visual snow after a snowboarding/whiplash fall that resulted in a neck injury and possible jaw misalignment."

"I am 25. My VS was very minor at first and I could only notice it if I was looking at the blue sky or the night sky and it really did not impede my daily life in any way. Since then it has progressed into a major part of my life. The static now is much thicker and more pronounced and is everywhere, all the time. It is never not there, not even when I close my eyes. Furthermore I have developed floaters in my eyes that are extremely impeding on my daily activities. The tinnitus has begun as well, coming and going periodically; sometimes faint and non-bothersome and other times ear piercing and frightening. My vision is also very jumpy constantly. I have been in and out of doctor's appointments since this began nine months ago and no one seems to even believe me, let alone have heard of VS. I have seen an optometrist who determined I have 20-20 vision and no floaters. I have seen a neural ophthalmologist who determined the same. I have seen a neurologist who found nothing, an MRI on my brain that showed everything was normal. I have seen my primary care physician so many times I could rent a room there. All of these doctors work in Boston's best hospitals and medical facilities and only one had even heard of VS but was not well versed on it whatsoever. I came across your article on positive health online this morning which outlines your experience with a patient with VS and your methods of resolving it. This is the first I have read of someone even being able to reduce symptoms."



See more at <a href="http://www.positivehealth.com/article/anatomy-and-physiology/treatment-approaches-for-visual-snow" target="_blank" title="Visual Snow article with comment">Positive Health Magazine</a><a href="#top" class="toparrow"></a>

Dolly wrote:
"I saw an ophthalmologist a year or so ago who had spent 5 years researching visual disturbances. He said he'd met people who had similar problems to me with the things moving when they're not, jumping vision, colours not being right, flashing, blind spots, halos, strobes and bright colours when you've got your eyes shut. Anyway he said they'd never found a cause but noted the similarity in other apparent symptoms and patient history, for example previous head injury, non-binocular vision, fatigue, IBS, dizziness, tinnitus and headaches."

- See more at: <a href="http://dramir.com/morelinks.php?t=22"'Visual Snow' is perhaps a very treatable condition"

This is very interesting. This is a third similar report that I have come across.

I am also aware that patients with migraines develop an aura which looks similar to visual snow. I feel that since all the other symptoms are amenable to treatment through TMJ and Atlas correction it should be possible to resolve the symptoms of visual snow also.

A very sceptical person wrote a comment on the Positive Health website:

"visual snow is caused by a hypermetabolism in the lingual gyrus part of the brain. Period. This article is wrong. Powerful MRI scans have proven this".

My reply was:

Neil Thank you for your contribution. I read well before writing this article. The location of the symptom in the lingual gyrus is well known. I do not dispute that. However, after extensive reading of the available information on the internet, the fact of the matter is that no treatment is available for these patients from the medical profession in spite of the readily available MRI scanners and their umpteenth resources.

Do you have something to offer for the treatment of these patients? If not, it is disingenuous on your part to get in the way of those afflicted with this awful condition.

For readers it is useful to know that the lingual gyrus is a brain structure linked to the processing of vision. Its unique position in the occipital lobe and quite close to the basi-occiput of the skull is very important. This region is prone to physical asymmetries in the presence of jaw asymmetry.

Additionally this region is susceptible to further asymmetry from an asymmetric Atlas vertebra (Please read this article: <a href="http://dramir.com/articles.php?t=3" target ="_blank" title="Article on the Atlas">http://dramir.com/articles.php?t=3</a>)

Such an asymmetry also compromises the blood flow through the vertebral artery on the affected side perhaps further causing oxygenation problems of the region in question.

My conjecture is that improving the symmetry of these structures would help nourish this area of the brain better and also remove any physical impediment to allow better function of the cerebellum and the occipital lobe. The result is pretty obvious in my very first patient.

I do however, need many more patients to confirm this hypothesis.

As a matter of fact my single patient is showing considerable improvement. Her Xmas card to me reads: "Thanks for all your help and support over the past year. This time last year I would not have been able to write this card."

I NEED 20 'Visual Snow' patients. Experience with other conditions show that in some the symptoms are likely to resolve very quickly.
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