Ear infections are a common pediatric illness, affecting five out of six children by age 3. These infections lead to pain and suffering for both the child and parent. When ear infections are frequent and persistent, they can potentially lead to long-term hearing deficits and damage to the ear drum that can require surgery.
Common treatments for ear infections are antibiotics and the implantation of tubes within the child’s ear. Both of these strategies carry risks; with antibiotics, there is a risk of creating antibiotic resistant strains, and if the infection is caused by a virus the antibiotics will not be effective at all. Tube implantation is extremely uncomfortable for the child, and can cause numerous complications including scarring of the eardrum leading to permanent hearing loss, failure to resolve the infection, perforation of the eardrum, and even allergic reaction to the tube itself. Nearly 50% of tube implantations have at least one minor complication.
Chiropractic adjustments are a safe, effective treatment for ear infections that do not carry the risk of secondary complications. Chiropractic care helps to resolve ear infections in the following ways:
Opening the Eustachian tubes – The Eustachian tubes are the connection between the ear and throat. One of their functions is to drain mucus containing bacteria and other pathogens from the ear. Early in life these tubes are aligned horizontally, are shorter in length and have a small diameter, reducing drainage and putting children at higher risk of ear infections.
When the bones in the upper neck are misaligned, it can cause closure of the Eustachian tubes on one or both sides. Gentle chiropractic adjustments to the upper neck help realign the vertebrae leading to opening of the tubes. This also helps to ensure that the muscles maintaining the patency of the tubes are receiving the proper nerve supply. When the Eustachian tubes are opened, the proper drainage of mucus can occur so that pathogens can be successfully eliminated from the body.
Improved function of the immune system – Chiropractic care has a long-documented and well-researched positive benefit to the immune system. Adjustments to certain areas of the spine help to increase the number of immune cells that actively fight both bacterial and viral infections AND reduce the amount of inflammatory molecules. These benefits can occur in as little as 15 minutes after an adjustment.
Because of its safety and effectiveness, chiropractic care should be considered as the first treatment option for children suffering from ear infections. At Back to Health Chiropractic we’re passionate about improving the wellness of children in the community and are looking forward to helping you resolve your family’s health concerns.