For any parent whose child has suffered from chronic otitis media or ear infections, the onset of yet another painful episode can be upsetting. Not only is it difficult to see one’s child in agony, but the repetitive nature of the infection can be frustrating for children, parents, and caregivers.
Otitis media in the pediatric population is known for producing disproportionate amounts of pain for being an infection that is mild and easily treatable. For this reason, parents are often concerned when recurrent infections are not treated, or the therapies their health care provider is suggesting are not preventing further infections.
One effective treatment for chronic ear infections that few people think to try is making an appointment with their chiropractor. In as little as one visit, your chiropractor may be able to entirely resolve the current outbreak as well as preventing further infections.
Here we review the current chiropractic treatment for otitis media in the pediatric population, how it works, and suggest when it may be helpful when other therapies are unsuccessful in their treatment of the condition.
The Causes of Your Child’s Ear Infections
Ear infections happen when the Eustachian tube, a small tube-like structure of the inner ear, swells up and becomes blocked. This prevents fluid from draining from the inner ear, and when it builds up, it can become extremely inflamed and painful.
Babies and children are inherently predisposed to the development of otitis media ear infections because of the small size and immaturity of the structures of the inner ear, including the Eustachian tubes.
Most ear infections are relatively benign and other than the moderate to severe pain they cause, do not have any major impact on overall physical health. However, in rare circumstances, ear infections can result in hearing loss in the affected ear.
Why Hasn’t Anything Else Worked to Resolve My Child’s Ear Infections?
Antibiotics are the treatment doctors, and nurses will usually prescribe for ear infections, and they are generally quite effective. However, some people have allergies to antibiotics or are unable to take them for other reasons or personal preference. Many pediatricians are no longer prescribing antibiotics for ear infections since the condition often resolves on its own within days or weeks.
Furthermore, antibiotics can occasionally case a recurrence of the very infection they are intended to treat.
A variety of home remedies exist for ear infections. These include warm compresses, rest, instilling a few drops of natural oil into the ear, and positioning the child to facilitate drainage. However, there are no statistics on the efficacy of these treatments, and while some may work for some people, there are still some infections that will not be treated by them.
For chronic ear infections not treated with heat, rest, and antibiotics, a visit to the chiropractor may help clear things up.
Chiropractic Care and the Ears, Nose, and Throat
Chiropractic care is highly beneficial to the treatment and management of conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat, including otitis media.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from subluxations, meaning that two or more of the vertebrae have slipped slightly out of alignment. Misalignment of the bones of the spine is responsible for a vast array of illnesses and ailments, from headaches to back pain to high blood pressure and much more.
In particular, the vertebrae that help attach the spinal column to the base of the skull have been implicated in the health of the inner ear. These are called the cervical vertebrae and are numbered C1-C7. Gentle adjustment of the C1, C2, C3, and C4 vertebrae can relieve fluid accumulation in the inner ear, as one would suffer from an ear infection.
How Chiropractic Care Can Relieve Ear Infections
Gentle manipulation of the back and neck by a chiropractor experienced with the pediatric population can quickly resolve recurrent ear infections, though this works for different reasons in different people.
In some, manipulating the tissues of this area can facilitate the effective drainage of the Eustachian tubes. This resolves the pain and discomfort associated with the infection and can provide immediate relief to your son or daughter.
In other people, vertebral adjustments of subluxations of the vertebrae of the back and neck can instantly relieve pain and facilitate the drainage of the inner ear.
Regardless of the physiology of how it works, multiple studies have shown that chiropractic care is effective in treating otitis media and preventing recurrences of infections in the pediatric population.
By incorporating chiropractic care into the treatment regimen for your child’s chronic recurring ear infections, you are making sure you are trying every possible treatment modality to help your child get better. Your son or daughter should be up running around and playing pain-free in no time!