An Alternative Solution to Earaches
Ear pain and ear infection − otitis media − accounts for over 35 percent of all pediatrician visits in the United States. An estimated 90 percent of children will see a pediatrician for an earache before they reach school age. Antibiotics, the usual treatment, are most often not effective because the majority of ear infections are caused by a viral infection. Ear infections most commonly occur following a viral cold because of fluid buildup in the middle ear. Repeated antibiotic usage, while not even treating the infection, can also lead to drug resistant bacteria that cause a serious public health threat. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelines for pediatricians urging less antibiotic prescription abuse for this very reason.
Another common medical treatment for chronic ear infections is the surgical placement of ear tubes. Although this treatment can be effective, the procedure involves placing the child under anesthesia, and has to be repeated in 20 to 30 percent of the cases because the tympanic membrane through which the tube is placed pushes the tube out.
Instead of using antibiotics or choosing surgery, many parents are turning to chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections and to complement their child’s health care. Recent published studies show a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections in children. In one of these studies, 332 children aged 27 days to 5 years with chronic ear infections were given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results were that 80 percent of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month follow-up period. Chiropractic care involves diagnosing spinal misalignments and correcting them by adjusting the spine, with the goal of getting to the root causes of a health problem rather than just treating the symptoms.
Specifically, chiropractic care for ear infections includes adjustments to the upper cervical spine. During the birthing process, cervical (neck) vertebra can become misaligned, disrupting nerve function, which can affect the Eustachian tube. This may lead to fluid buildup in the middle ear during viral illnesses and cause otitis media. Certain cervical adjustments mobilize drainage of the ear in children and allow the body to naturally fight off infection.
For a child to remain free of ear infection, a properly functioning nervous system to control the immune system and correctly positioned Eustachian tubes allowing proper drainage should be in place. Otitis media usually follows colds and viral infections, so a healthy immune system is the first step in prevention. But if an illness does occur, the next step is to get your child adjusted to keep the ear draining during this time. Extra sleep and Vitamin C are always a good idea.
Chiropractic treatment is a conservative, drugless approach to consider for children if they are suffering from chronic ear infections.
Kelly Tolle is a Doctor of Chiropractic and mother of three small children. Owner of Family Chiropractic of Heathrow, she is dedicated to improving her patients’ quality of life through chiropractic, nutrition, and massage therapy at the Colonial TownPark location. Visit www.familychiropracticofheathrow.com.