Ear infections are incredibly common in children under the age of 5. This is likely due to the small size of the eustachian tubesin children and the flatter shape of the tubes in comparison to an adult ear. Ear infections are also more common to occur when a child is struggling with a cold, upper respiratory infection, or decreased immune function. These factors allow for a higher susceptibility to acquiring an ear infection. Otitis Media is the infection we often refer to, which is an infection of the inner ear. This type of infection causes inflammation and a buildup of fluid behind the ear drum. Symptoms we commonly see in children are fussiness/crying, pulling at the ears, pain, trouble sleeping, trouble hearing, and loss of balance. These infections can be viral or bacterial in nature.
While antibiotics are commonly used in the treatment of ear infections, many pediatricians have adopted the “wait and see” approach and have been turning to chiropractors for alleviation of acute pain and symptoms caused by ear infections. Many ear infections will resolve on their own without the use of antibiotics. The CDC recommends waiting 2-3 days before seeking out the care of your pediatrician since research has shown that middle ear infections will tend to resolve without need of intervention of any kind. Giving your child’s immune system a chance to clear the infection itself helps to both strengthen their immunity, but also prevent against negative side effects that can accompany antibiotic use.
Ear infections are most commonly a drainage problem. It is the inability for the ear to drain of fluid that will cause infection. Chiropractors are trained to restore balance to the body andremove interference from the nervous system. In the event of an ear infection, a chiropractor will commonly investigatesubluxation within the occipital region and upper cervical spine (upper neck) as well as performing a soft tissue technique on the ears to promote drainage, and therefore assist in the body’s innate ability to heal.
A study performed in Minnesota showed that in an event of acute ear infection, in 46 children under the age of 5, parents reported that 93% of children saw improvement in symptoms,75% in 10 days or fewer, and 45% saw results within 1-2 adjustments. Chiropractic care removes interference from the nervous system, supports and promotes healing.
It is important to note that Chiropractic care is not a “cure” for ear infections, but rather assists in the removal of nerve interference to restore communication between the brain and the body. Thus, improving communication, and allowing your child’s immune system to do its job and heal from the inside out!
At Ascend Wellness, Dr. Sam will see children with acute/recurrent ear infections to help to alleviate their discomforts, support their immune systems, and encourage quicker healing from infection in the early days of discomfort.
Samantha Pajestka, D.C (aka Dr Sam)
1. Froehle RM. Ear infection: a retrospective study examining improvement from chiropractic care and analyzing for influencing factors. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1996 Mar-Apr;19(3):169-77. PMID: 8728460.