If you are like the majority of parents with infants and toddlers, you are sure to be familiar with otitis media – or ear infections. If you have taken your child to the pediatrician for treatment, you are not alone. Over 35% of all pediatric visits in the US are due to ear infections. And, most of these infections are treated with a course of antibiotics. In fact, otitis media is the MOST common reason children are prescribed antibiotics.
However, ask many of your fellow parents, and you will learn that antibiotics often do not work. The ear infection does not clear up, or another crops up within a short time. With some children, the cycle repeats often enough that a pediatrician will recommend surgically placing tubes in the ears to allow for drainage and hopefully prevent further infections.
Faced with deciding whether surgery is right for your child, you may wonder if there are any other options available. Well, there are. One of them is chiropractic care.
Babies and children (up until about age seven) have relatively short, narrow, horizontal tubes connecting the middle ear and the throat. This automatically makes it more difficult for fluid to drain down the throat. Fluid may build up, causing pain and providing a breeding ground for both bacterial and viral infections. The tendency for these infections can be enhanced by other circumstances as well. Some of these circumstances include:
Lowered immune system due to colds, flu, allergies or poor diet
Mechanical obstructions which cause blockage due to misalignment of the jaw, skull and cervical spine, which support structures around the ears.
Trauma during birth – for example, forceps intervention may cause spinal cord or cranial injury.
Extended pacifier use – the theory being that either pacifiers can be germ carriers or that the sucking motion during pacifier use prevents proper Eustachian tube function, so the middle ear does not stay open.
Chiropractic care cannot “cure” an ear infection. But, chiropractic adjustments can address the misalignments that occur in the small bones in the spine, head, neck and jaw. When these misalignments are corrected, the child’s normal body function is established. Muscle tension is reduced, inflammation decreases, proper blood flow and lymph drainage resumes. All of these things will improve the function of the middle ear and Eustachian tube. With improved alignment, your child (and you!) will suffer less pain from ear infections. And, with less frequent ear infections, the need for surgically implanted tubes will be eliminated.
Treating ear infection with chiropractic techniques has become more common in recent years. Dr. Joan Fallon, a chiropractor from New York, has published research in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics showing that chiropractic treatment was effective in preventing ear infections. After a series of adjustments, 80% of children treated were free of ear infections for at least 6 months.
So, if you are seeking a pain-free, drug-free, non-intimidating possible alternative to surgically implanted tubes to treat your child’s ear infections, please consider calling Dr. Joe for an appointment today!
Photo by: isakarakus @ pixabay