A common question that chiropractors get asked often, as it pertains to children, is if they treat ear infections. The short answer is “no”. However, with our knowledge of the body’s nervous system what we can do is help with the symptoms caused by this common childhood affliction.
Chiropractors use gentle spinal manipulation to optimize the nervous system, which in turn assists in improving overall health with the hope to then lessen the frequency of illness and infection.
Acute otitis media (AOM), is more commonly known as an ear infection. The ear is made up of three segments and when the middle area behind the eardrum gets infected and inflamed, it is defined as an ear infection. In the United States, ear infections are the most common cause of medical visits in kids younger than 5 years old.
What Causes Ear Infections?
What causes inflammation in the middle ear?
An ear infection usually is caused by a bacteria or viral infection and often begins after a baby or child has had a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory condition. Fluid builds up behind the eardrum which is what causes pain and/or discomfort.
The eustachian tube sits between our sinuses and the middle portion of our ear. In a child that tube is shorter and straighter making it more prone to fluid build-up which can result in an ear infection. The eustachian tube gradually tips downward as a child ages to drain better into the back of the throat. This transition typically occurs around age four.
Common Ear Infection Symptoms
The symptoms of an ear infection can vary depending on the age of the child:
Birth – 1-year-old: fussiness, fever, and/or feeding and sleeping difficulties
Toddler: fever, tugging at ear, irritability, trouble sleeping, and/or loss of balance
Preschooler/School-Aged: loss of appetite, nausea, fever, pulling/rubbing at the ear, and/or complaint of an earache
How Chiropractic Care Can Help With Ear Infections
Receiving chiropractic adjustments can help with the symptoms of an ear infection. When the cervical spine or neck is misaligned the muscles around the neck can get very tight. This can put pressure on the eustachian tube and prevent necessary drainage.
By getting a chiropractic adjustment this process can be reversed, allowing the drainage necessary for the middle ear to heal and the symptoms of an ear infection to subside.
If you start to see classic symptoms of an ear infection, bring your child in to get an adjustment with Dr. Lydia or Dr. Emily. They have otoscopes in the office that can allow them to view ears for redness and fluid at each visit. They will also assess your child’s unique situation and recommend the best natural alternatives to help your child heal and feel better sooner.
At Vaida we have several products that can be very helpful to supplement healing. One of our favorites is called Mullein Garlic Oil which is a product from Herb Pharm. Garlic drops have antiviral properties, which further contribute to the healing of an ear infection.
We also are huge advocates for having babies and kids take a probiotic supplement to boost their immune system which can help with infections of all kinds. They are also beneficial when antibiotics have been utilized to attempt to treat ear infections as antibiotics are known to wipe away all of the supportive flora while trying to rid the system of the invasive infection. Our go-to probiotic is by Klaire Labs, which has both infant and child versions and we sell them here at Vaida.
Other things to consider would be making sure your child gets adequate rest, drinks plenty of fluids, and, if needed, use a warm compress against their ear. Together, we can get your child feeling better and back to their healthy selves quickly!