When we think about ear infections, we think back to our childhood. Many children experience reoccurring ear infections. While ear infections are common among children, adults can also get them.
A chiropractor can treat some of the underlying causes to reduce or eliminate the frequency.
What Isan Ear Infection?
Ear infections, or otitis media, are caused by a bacterial or viral infection in the middle ear. The middle ear is a small part of the ear filled with air and contains the bones that vibrate to allow hearing. These infections are the most frequent reason parents bring their children to a doctor outside of regular visits.
The Causes of Ear Infections
The middle ear is normally well-ventilated. Air flows up through the nose, into the Eustachian tube, and it keeps the middle ear clean and dry. When the Eustachian tube is clogged, the middle ear becomes damp and warm, which provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
Any nasal blockage, whether caused by colds, allergies, or other symptoms, can block the Eustachian tube. Your adenoids also rest near the Eustachian tube, and they are often particularly vulnerable to swelling due to infection. Swollen adenoids can block the Eustachian tubes.
A child’s Eustachian tube is in the early stages of development. It is often too soft or immature to function normally, so it has a hard time staying open.
The Symptoms of Ear Infections
When the Eustachian tube becomes blocked, and the middle ear is infected, it can cause severe pain. Fluid builds up in the middle ear, putting pressure on the inner ear and causing pain. Here are symptoms of ear infections in adults:
- Sharp ear pain followed by fluid discharge
- Feeling like your ear is full
- Muffled hearing
The symptoms of an ear infection are harder to detect in children, especially young children because they cannot accurately describe what they are feeling. Here’s what to look for when you suspect a child has an ear infection:
- Tugging at the ear
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Ear draining
- Crying when lying down
The Treatment of an Ear Infections
Most ear infections clear up on their own, without medical treatment. Over the counter pain medication is a great tool to alleviate the discomfort that accompanies an ear infection. If the infection does not clear up, you may need treatment from a doctor.
Poor neck and spine alignment can disrupt the body’s normal function, and that can interfere with the Eustachian tube’s proper draining and aerating functions. Many parents bring their children to a chiropractor to alleviate chronic, repeated ear infections because regular adjustments can lessen the occurrence.
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