Chiropractic for Ear Aches

Recently I had a friend send me this message:

My daughter has been getting ear infections one right after another for a few months now, and I was told that taking her to a chiropractor may be able to help and or take them away? I’m hoping you can give me some sort of answers, like if this actually works or what it all entails.

I thought that this would be a great question to write a blog entry about.  So first of all thanks to my friend for the question and I hope this information is helpful to you and whoever reads this.

First of all it is important to understand what the nature of the condition is.  Most ear aches are either not infections or very mild self-limiting infections.  Most of the time antibiotics are not necessary and the problem will resolve on its own.  Unfortunately these drugs are still frequently prescribed for “preventative” measures.  Often these prescriptions are made to treat concerned parent rather than to prevent an infection.

The next consideration is what could be causing the recurring ear aches.  There are a few usual suspects:

1. Allergies.  Children may have some sort of allergy or sensitivity which can lead to ear ache.  Some common allergens for kids include: Cow’s milk, egg whites, apples, corn, wheat, chicken, and more.

2. Vitamin Deficiency.  Vitamin A, Zinc, Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3s & 6s).  I recommend that kids take a good multivitamin.  By good I mean not gummy bears pretending to be vitamins.  I give my kids intraKid from Drucker Labs.  It is an excellent liquid multivitamin which is easily digested and tastes great.  My daughters wake up every morning and the first thing they ask for is vitamins.  (Strange I know).

3. Day care.  Children who attend day care are twice to four times as likely to experience ear infections.

4. Season.  There are more ear infections which take place in the winter.

5. Secondary Smoke. Children in smoking households are three to four times more likely to experience ear infections than children in non-smoking households.

6. Bottle feeding.  Breastfed infants are far less likely to experience an episode of ear ache than bottle fed infants.

Ear aches can commonly be caused when fluid accumulates in the eustachian tubes.  These tubes drain fluid from the inner ear to the throat.  These tubes are developing as a child grows and may be small or blocked preventing them from draining.  This can create pressure in the ear and this area is where bacteria can grow.

So…. What can chiropractic do?  Studies have shown that chiropractic is effective for short term relief from ear ache symptoms.  Adjusting of the upper cervical spine has been shown to relieve ear ache symptoms in some cases.  There is anecdotal evidence that adjusting the smallest joints in the body, which are in the ear, can give relief as well.  Besides adjusting there are other techniques such as massage strokes which encourage drainage of the eustachian tubes.  Some chiropractors will use a technique known as an Endonasal procedure where the doctor will manually open the eustachian tubes from inside the throat using his finger.

As for a long term outcome, stopping recurring ear infections the results with chiropractic are not consistent.  However, there is no harm in trying chiropracitc before undergoing a more radical procedure such as ear tubes which will leave scar tissue on the ear drum even into adulthood.

Things that you can do at home to help to give some relief include:

 * Warm compress on the ear.
 * Warm (NOT HOT or COLD!) organic oil (any edible oil) in the ear.
 * Massaging with a finger from just under the ear, downward along the back of the jaw bone.
 * Motrin for pain relief.

In my opinion and experience chiropractic wellness care provides a boost to the immune system.  The goal of chiropractic care is to remove all obstacles from your body caring for itself.  People, including children, who receive wellness care including adjustment, nutrition and lifestyle counseling will enjoy better health.

At Body of Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center we use all of the methods listed in this article.  If you would like more information or to schedule a consultation please contact us by calling (541) 753-1287.  Or reach us by e-mail [email protected].

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