Lately, we have been getting SO many inquiries about ear infections! We’ve had parents calling the office asking about Chiropractic care for their children with chronic ear infections and in many of my online Mommy groups it’s also a hot topic. So, what’s up with all these kiddos and their ears?
First off, it’s very common and normal for children to have some fluid in their ears when they begin teething. This is due to the natural inflammatory process. If the fluid pools and doesn’t drain properly, it can become infected. The eardrum AKA the tympanic membrane commonly becomes red during the teething process as well. This is also due to the inflammation caused by emerging teeth. A red ear drum does not always mean an infection, sometimes it is just teething, other times it is a true bacterial infection.
Another important factor to consider is the Eustachian tube. In children, the tube is shorter and straighter, whereas adults have longer and more angled Eustachian tube. Thus, fluid drains much easier from an adult ear and is less likely to pool when there is sinus congestion.
Now, imagine we have a teething child with fluid in their ears and that fluid isn’t draining well. The pressure from the fluid may be causing pain and making this child uncomfortable.
Have you ever thought about what controls the function of the Eustachian tube and it’s ability to drain? The answer is motion. When we swallow, fluid is able to move through our tubes. But, if muscles that aid in swallowing are functioning properly, swallowing doesn’t occur effectively.
And what controls muscle function? The nerves!
We all have a brain, brainstem and spinal cord. From the spinal cord, the nerves come out and go to every part of our body and control EVERY function. Our spine protects and encases our precious cord and as chiropractors, the spine is our window to see how our nerve system is functioning. When the brain sends a message to a body part, the body part gets the message and relays a signal back to the brain. However, there can be interference in our nerve system and this will inhibit it’s ability to function at its best. So, like in the game of telephone that we played as kids, the brain sends the message out and the body part gets it. However, what if it's garbled, or worse, the body part doesn’t get it at all!? When this type of breakdown in communication happens in the body, we may experience symptoms. A symptom is the body’s way of telling us that it is not functioning at it’s best.
Chiropractors use the spine to determine how the nerve system is functioning. Most often in children experiencing ear infections we find misalignments of the cranial bones and in the bones of the upper neck. These misalignments disrupt the body’s ability to properly drain fluid, causing it to pool and become infected. Once we can restore proper motion to these areas we tend to see ear infections clear up and rarely return.
When your child is teething, it’s a great time to bring them to a pediatric chiropractor to be checked and ensure that there are no misalignments which may hinder the body’s ability to drain excess fluid.
In addition to having your child checked and adjusted by a pediatric chiropractor there are a few things you can do at home to help prevent and heal from ear infections:
Drs. A & B
We want to share as much health information with you as possible, so here is some healthy reading for healthy bodies and souls.