Last week in our office we made it an educational focus to share with our patients about ear infections. The topic is sure a popular one and the questions and conversation with parents in our office inspired me to write this post.
With an estimated 10 million ear infections diagnosed in babies and young children each year, ear aches and ear infections are the number one reason for doctors’ visits. And let me tell you, ear aches hurt and for many kids can develop into a chronic and recurring problem. Many will tell you that ear infections are just a regular part of childhood. I have a different opinion; while ear infections may be “common” they are not “normal” and there are ways to avoid ear infections, the associated pain, and the repeated rounds of antibiotics and surgery that are the traditional treatment.
Almost half of all children have an ear infection by their first birthday. The typical diagnosis by an MD will be followed by a prescription for antibiotics. However, antibiotics are typically ineffective and when antibiotics fail and the ear pain persists, surgery to insert ear tubes is often the next step. As with any surgery, there are risks involved and no guarantees of success.
That’s why when there are safe and gentle solutions for prevention and treatment, parents want to hear about it; and as a fellow-parent, I want to share! So, here’s why children are more prone to ear infections and how chiropractic can offer parents a safe and natural alternative to antibiotics and tubes.
Why Children Are Prone to Ear Infections
The Eustachian tubes in children’s ears are straighter and smaller than those of an adult and that makes it easier for bacteria to enter the middle ear through the nose and throat. When the Eustachian tube becomes clogged, it fails to properly drain fluid from the middle ear. This fluid backs up behind your child’s eardrum and it can become inflamed and infected, causing pain and pressure.
The main factors that lead to otitis media (middle ear inflammation) are allergies, infection, mechanical obstruction, and nutritional deficiency. I believe there is a strong link between the birthing process and recurrent ear infection as birth trauma can cause significant stress to the spinal column, causing interference to the nerves of the cervical spine, altering function to the ears, nose and throat. I wrote on the topic of birth trauma here a few months ago in, “Misdiagnosed and Under Reported in Infants: Traumatic Birth Syndrome“.
Chiropractic is an all-natural solution that has helped countless children with recurrent middle ear infections. One promising study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicates that there is a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections.
The study involved 332 children with chronic ear infections. Each child, ranging in age from 27 days to 5 years, was given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results showed that close to 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their initial visits. The six-month period included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks.
Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly. This is important since rounds and rounds of antibiotic treatment for ear infections weaken the immune system, leaving children more susceptible for future ear infections, and other illness, to develop. This is precisely what I see in my office, in fact, one mother shared her story last fall and inspired another post here at “Health with a Healing Touch”. Please take a moment to click through and read Elise’s Story.
As a pediatric chiropractor, I’m specially trained to locate and correct spinal misalignments in children and provide gentle and safe adjustments that allow the body to heal on its own, without drugs and without surgery. But it’s important to note, I’m not interested in just treating the symptoms of ear infections; my hope is to relieve the causes of ear infections by removing any nerve interference in your child’s spine thus allowing their body to heal on its own.
If ear infections have been a problem for your child, please contact my office and learn about a new approach to bring them relief.