Ear infections are a common childhood ailment that accounts for approximately 35 percent of all visits to pediatricians. Typically, a doctor will prescribe some combination of child-appropriate pain medication and antibiotics to help cure the illness. However, that's not the only treatment option available. There's some evidence indicating chiropractic procedures may help children fight off ear infections. Here's more information about this development.
Cause of Ear Infections
To understand how chiropractic treatments can help heal ear infections, it's important to learn how this disease develops in children. There are three parts to the ear: the outer canal, the inner ear and the middle ear. Most infections occur in the middle ear, and the root cause of this issue is the Eustachian tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose.
This tube is much shorter in children than it is in teens and adults. Because of this and the way the tube is angled, it's easier for bacteria to travel from the nose and throat to the middle ear. When a child gets a cold or the flu, the bacteria takes a ride down the Eustachian tube and makes itself at home in the middle ear, causing an infection.
As children grow older, the length and angle of the tube changes, which is why middle ear infections occur less frequently in older kids.
How Chiropractic Treatments Can Help
Studies indicate that chiropractic adjustments in children can alleviate ear infections and help them heal faster. One study involving 332 kids aged 27 months to 5 years found that 80 percent of the children (who had chronic infections) remained infection-free for 6 months after their chiropractic treatment.
There are also a number of anecdotal stories that seem to confirm the efficacy of chiropractic treatments for ear infections. One woman reported that her 2-year-old son had 3 rounds of antibiotics but his ear infection remained. After two adjustments at a chiropractor's office, however, the ear drained and the infection finally went away.
One explanation for this outcome is that treatments focusing on the back of the skull, the occiput or the first vertebra in the neck may encourage the Eustachian tube to drain quicker by stretching it. This is critical to the healing process because, while antibiotics do a good job of killing the bacteria, it can take several months for the built-up fluid to drain from the ear. The failure of the middle ear to drain completely can cause infections to reoccur.
How Often are Adjustments Needed?
The frequency of adjustments needed depends on the severity of the infection and how the child responds to treatments. In the study, the kids returned to the chiropractors' offices for follow-up procedures every 4 to 6 weeks. Your child may require fewer or more treatments to help him or her overcome the ear infection. A knowledgeable and experienced chiropractor can provide you with a specific treatment plan for your particular case.
Possible Side Effects
There doesn't appear to be any side effects associated with this method of treatment. The chiropractic procedure consists entirely of physical manipulations of the body, so there is no medication to administer or worry about interacting with other pharmaceutical drugs your child may be taking.
However, it is important that your child continues seeing his or her regular pediatric doctor, especially if the problem persists despite the treatments. A persistent ear infection could be a sign of an underlying and more serious condition. An unresolved ear infection can also lead to ear problems such as tinnitus and loss of hearing.
For more information about how chiropractic treatments may be able to help your child, contact a chiropractor near you.Share
5 December 2014
I was always very healthy throughout my childhood, but when I became a teenager, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Thankfully, I had the support of my loving family to help keep me upbeat during a time that could have led to me experiencing the depression that some do after they first learn they will have an illness for life. I am very grateful for the advice I have gotten throughout my life, so I decided to create a blog where I can share all of the advice that has helped me live a happy, healthy life, despite having a chronic illness. Since I am on a medication that suppresses my immune system, I have also studied up on many other illnesses and tips for avoiding them and treating them. I plan to post health tips for people of a variety of ages and suffering with various illnesses!