March 2007 Newsletter
Hear What Is Being Said About Ear Infections
Many patients ask if chiropractic can help with childhood ear infections. The answer is a resounding YES!! The research today has shown that chiropractic care can be more effective in treating inner ear infections than antibiotics. Children receiving chiropractic treatment see and feel results quicker without the side effects of the antibiotics. Kids who get adjusted on a regular basis after the initial symptoms are gone have a lower recurrence rate as well.
Why Do Children Get Ear Infections More Than Adults?
Ear infections are more likely to occur in children due to the anatomy of the inner ear during childhood. The eustachian tubes of a child are much narrower than an adult. The eustachian tubes of a child are also positioned more horizontally, which prevents gravity from draining fluid from the ears to the nose and sinuses. Sometimes this fluid becomes trapped in the ear, creating a perfect spot for infection to begin. Once the ear becomes inflamed, this ads pressure to the delicate structures of the inner ear creating pain or otitis media. Otitis media can occur without infection when the muscles surrounding the ear start pulling on the cranium or outer ear.
Other contributors to frequent ear infections are allergies to food, diet and nutrition, stress, traumas that affect the head and neck and environmental factors. Some doctors have even suspected the increase in ear infections to be from the increase in the number of vaccinations given to children at an early age.
Why Chiropractic For Ear Infections?
The uppermost bone of the cervical spine lies immediately beneath the eustachian tubes. You can feel this bone by running your finger downward along your head behind your ear. Eventually, your finger will drop into a depression near the bottom of your ear. Be careful to not press too hard. While this bone is surrounded by strong muscles, it can be moved by applying too much pressure. Once you have found this bone on yourself, it is easy to see how it can affect the inner ear. If this bone is misaligned it may be putting additional pressure on the eustachian tubes, thus making your child more susceptible to ear infections.
The chiropractic approach to ear infections is to adjust, or move this bone into its correct position. Misalignment of these cervical vertebrae may also cause the muscles surrounding the ear to pull on the head and neck in a way that will produce pain.
Once properly aligned, this will allow air and fluids to move more freely through the eustachian tubes. Chiropractic can also help by boosting your child*s natural immunity. By increasing your child's natural immunity they will be better able to resist infections in the future. Ask Dr. Matt for details today on how Chiropractic can help improve the health of your loved ones!
Concerns Regarding Antibiotics as Treatment for Ear Infections
The most common "medical" treatment for ear infections are the use of antibiotics and eventually tubes. Antibiotics are typically given within the first day. Statistics show that almost two-thirds of children recover from pain and fever within 24 hours of diagnosis without antibiotics and over 80% recover within 1-7 days. Each time an antibiotic is used, there is a risk of developing a resistant strain of bacteria. Medical studies have shown that children recover from ear infections at about the same rate with or without antibiotics. However, antibiotics can be helpful when the infections last for over a week. If you have any questions regarding the appropriate instance to use an antibiotic for an ear infection, feel free to ask Dr. Matt.
Reference: Pediatric Chiropractic, Anrig & Plaugher, 1998
Did You Know?
Do I have to be a swimmer to get "swimmer's ear"?
Otitis externa (swimmer's ear) is an inflammation or infection of the ear canal. The most common occurrence of otitis externa is when excess water enters the ear, but you do not have to be a swimmer to have this happen. It can also develop when water, sand, dirt, or other debris gets into the ear canal. Symptoms of otitis externa include itching, pain, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Unlike middle ear infection (otitis media), otitis externa is worse when you chew, press on the "tag" in front of your ear, or wiggle your earlobe.