35% of office visits to your pediatrician’s office are due to childhood ear infections. I can’t begin to count how many stories I hear of children getting multiple sets of tubes surgically inserted in their ears and are continually being prescribed antibiotics for repeat ear infections by their medical doctor. Do you ever ask your pediatrician why your child has recurring ear infections? Fortunately, my two year old daughter has never had an ear infection and let me tell you why.
More and more parents are beginning to look to chiropractors to complement their children’s health care. Chiropractic care involves detecting dysfunctional areas in the spine where movement is restricted or bones (vertebrae) are misaligned. In pediatric chiropractic adjustments we use gentle pressure with children; not at all like the adjustments we sometimes use with adult patients.
What is an ear infection? A middle ear infection, which in medical terms is called otitis media, is inflammation of the middle ear resulting as a secondary development to colds, sore throats and sinusitis. Bacteria from the upper respiratory infection migrates to the ear and causes swelling of the tissues. Openings within the ear are then blocked which prohibits proper drainage of fluid from the Eustachian tube. A chiropractic adjustment restores motion in the spine, which alters the nervous system and therefore improves the drainage of the ear’s Eustachian tubes.
Ear pain is the number one reason for child visits to chiropractors. Chiropractors believe that there is a strong link between the birthing process and recurrent ear infections. During the birthing process, cervical (neck) vertebrae can become misaligned, disrupting nerve function, which can affect the Eustachian tube. Ear canal blockage may occur when a tiny muscle in the ear becomes dysfunctional. This muscle is innervated by nerves that can be traced back to the spinal cord in the upper neck. Research shows that vertebral subluxations interfere with nerve flow to the muscle, and this is removed by chiropractic adjustments. Studies show that chiropractic adjustments may boost the immune system warding off ailments such as otitis media (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1992;15:83-9).
Another study in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicated a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the suppression of ear infections. Out of the 332 children, ranging in 27 days to 5 years old, 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection in the 6 months following the study. These children were given an initial series of chiropractic adjustments and then maintenance adjustments every 4 to 6 weeks. (Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. 1997; Volume 2, No. 2:167-183.)
As a Chiropractor, I take a more holistic approach to providing care for my patients. I have to question the over-use of antibiotics as they don’t always completely cure the infection and they definitely do not prevent future flare ups of infections. The Chiropractic approach focuses on prevention and that is why my daughter has been adjusted since she was five minutes old, has never had an ear infection and has never taken an antibiotic for anything.
For nearly 100 years, the chiropractic profession has claimed that ear and other upper respiratory infections respond favorably to chiropractic adjustments. If you suspect your child has an ear infection, contact your doctor of chiropractic immediately for a full examination. If left untreated, otitis media can lead to permanent hearing loss. Wouldn’t you rather avoid antibiotics all together and introduce your family to the benefits of preventative chiropractic care?
Ways to Prevent Ear Infections
- Take your children to regular chiropractic checkups
- Breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months
- Avoid unnecessary medications; especially antibiotics
- Don’t use pacifiers
- Don’t expose babies or children to cigarette smoke
- Avoid dairy
- Limit juice; especially before bed
- Feed toddlers a plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Don’t allow water to pool in your child’s ears after bathing or swimming
- Never insert anything into your child’s ears; including cotton swabs