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The Truth About Ear Infections

Ask almost any parent about ear infections and they will tell you the stories of all the infections their child has had. Ear infections are one of the most common reasons children visit the pediatrician’s office. The most common symptoms of ear infections are earache, a feeling of pressure, and sometimes difficulty hearing due to fluid accumulation in the ear. Teething also produces these symptoms, so  we must be careful before jumping to conclusions.

Usually treatment for ear infections is antibiotics. In 2004 the  AAP changed their guidelines to watchful waiting before prescribing antibiotics but many doctors surveyed stated that they don’t follow this guideline.  Many parents who have an understanding of antibiotics and greater involvement of medical decisions were okay with the watchful waiting guidelines. These guidelines were put into place because the overuse and over prescription of antibiotics were leading to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Another reason for this guideline is that more and more studies were demonstrating they were not effective at treating ear infections. It has been shown that when an antibiotic is used there is an increased chance of recurrence which then means the child will be on rounds of antibiotics.

The real question is what is the real cause of ear infections? The reality is that ear infections themselves are merely  a symptom of a greater problem. The majority of ear infections are secondary to a cold or other infection, which may be due to a suppressed immune system. The other  reason is the anatomy of a children’s ear. The eustachian tube is nearly horizontal which can slow drainage from the ear which allows fluid to build. Like any stagnant fluid infection may appear.

A big question then is what can we do? As chiropractors, our main objective is to address the root cause  of health problems. When dealing with children and ear infections we want to correct the cause and let the body function at it’s optimal potential. There is a direct link between the nerves in the neck and the muscle of the eustachian tubes and the middle ear. The middle ear drains any fluid through the eustachian tubes. The tubes open and close through the action of a muscle, which is controlled by a nerve. This nerve originates in the neck. When the nerve is not functioning normally, the muscle around the eustachian tube(tensor velli palatini) may go into spasm, constricting the eustachian tube, restricting drainage and causing fluid build up in the middle ear. This fluid plus a stressed immune system may cause an ear infection. My job is to find if there is a restriction or  disturbance to the nerve and correct it. This gives the body the potential to heal, be well, and function.

There have been multiple studies that have demonstrated that chiropractic care may help decrease the rate of ear infections by 80% or more, and that the rate of reoccurrence is very low. We see this all the time in the office. Give your children a fighting chance with chiropractic. It could change your lives!

Give us a call if you want to stop your child from recurrent ear infections!

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