As we head into the fall and winter seasons, parents need to be on the lookout for one of the most common childhood illnesses: ear infections. Since they can often start immediately after a cold or bout of the flu, returning to school exposes your child to plenty of viruses, increasing the likelihood of an ear infection. However, did you know that Chiropractic Care is a completely natural and effective treatment option for kids and even infants experiencing ear infections? Read on to learn more!
Three Main Types of Childhood Ear Infection
Ear infections are generally classified into four main groups:
Acute Otitis Media (AOM): This is the most common type, especially for children. It happens when the middle ear becomes infected, inflamed and swollen and fluid gets stuck in the area behind the eardrum. It may be accompanied by a fever and is often extremely painful.
Otitis Media with Effusion (OME): If an ear infection comes and goes, but fluid remains trapped in the ear, then it is the OME type. Although you cannot see fluid from the outside of the ear, an upper cervical chiropractor can look with special instruments to identify if this is the case.
Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME): If the fluid in the ear does not resolve, or it continues to return over and over again, it falls in the category of COME. Left untreated, this can lead to loss of hearing for your child. These cases are often treated surgically by traditional medical doctors, although please read on to learn about how Upper Cervical Chiropractic care offers a less invasive solution.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media (CSOM): If the ear infection does not resolve, or the infection returns, it can lead to a tear or perforation in the eardrum, a very serious condition that can result in a permanent hearing loss.
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Children
When it comes to ear infections, there is a wide range of symptoms that you might notice, particularly in small children that are not able to tell you that they are experiencing the intense pain that often comes with them.
It is important to respond quickly to these signs and get an ear infection diagnosed and treated before it leads to potential hearing loss. In addition, don’t think your kid is being dramatic…ear infections can be extremely painful!
Here are signs to look out for which may indicate an ear infection:
- Ear pain that often worsens when lying down
- Fever (may or may not be present)
- Excessive fussiness or crying (particularly in infants and toddlers)
- Touching, scratching, pulling on the ears
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fluid draining out from the ear
- Difficulty hearing low decibel sounds
- Trouble with balance
Traditional Treatments for Ear Infections in Kids
Although the CDC does not recommend the immediate prescription of systemic antibiotics for ear infections, it is not uncommon for pediatricians to prescribe them anyway. Unfortunately, the over-prescription of antibiotics has led to antibiotic-resistant forms of bacteria, also known as “superbugs.”
In addition, oral antibiotics don’t just target the bacteria that are causing problems, but also the millions of “good” bacteria that are responsible for a healthy gut and well-oiled immune system. In this way, antibiotics may actually interfere with the body’s ability to heal itself!
In cases where fluid persistently returns to the ear, causing chronic ear infections, your pediatrician may recommend a surgical procedure that introduces a plastic tube into the middle ear, commonly called “ear tubes.”
In addition to the numerous risks of using general anesthesia on children, other risks of this procedure (although rare) include:
- Tubes that get blocked from a fluid, requiring additional surgery
- Scaring of the eardrum
- Tubes that fall out
- Bleeding and/or infection
- Failure of proper closure of the eardrum after tubes are taken out
Upper Cervical Care: Natural, Non-invasive Relief for Ear Infections
Upper Cervical Chiropractors have specialized training that is focused on the top two vertebrae of the spine where the neck connects to the brainstem. This incredibly delicate area is connected to the muscles around the Eustachian tube of the ear.
When the muscles around this tube become tightened or spastic, often unnoticeably so, it will restrict this vital tube that helps to ventilate the ear canal, leading to a build-up of fluid and, in some cases, persistent ear infections.
Upper Cervical Chiropractors use the latest in 3D imaging technology in order to get very precise measurements of subluxations, or misalignments, in the upper spine and neck. Then they perform gentle manipulations (no harsh popping!) in order to return the bones, ligaments, and muscles into proper alignment.
This then relieves pressure on the Eustachian tube, removing the cause of ear infection in many cases. Once the restriction is relieved, the ear can drain as it is supposed to, and the natural healing power of the body will take it from there.
Research has shown that Chiropractic care is a valid, effective, safe, non-drug and non-invasive treatment option for childhood ear infections. Before you schedule surgery, consider consulting with an Upper Cervical Care doctor to discuss treatment options.
Upper Cervical Care of Glen Carbon: Schedule a Free Consultation
If you happen to live in the Edwardsville / Glen Carbon or St. Louis area, consider giving us a call at (618) 692-6992 to schedule a free consultation today. Drs. Thad Vuagniaux and Matt Strazewski are here to provide your family with non-invasive care to live your healthiest life!
Our focus is on helping your body do what it was always intended to do – heal itself!
Your child may be a gentle correction away from natural relief from ear infections.