Middle ear infections, medically known as otitis media, are extremely common in young children. In fact, more than two-thirds of children will have had at least one ear infection before three years of age. Common symptoms of ear infection include tugging of the ear, irritability, pain or redness of the ear and fever. Ear infections often occur after an upper respiratory infection in young children.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to ear infections because of the shape and angle of their eustachian tubes (the tubes from the middle ear to the throat). In infants, the tubes are narrow and flat, allowing bacterial or viral filled fluid from the lungs and throat to enter them and get trapped. In adults, these tubes are more vertical and wider, so they are less likely to trap that fluid. Since babies often spend most of their time lying on their backs, there is a greater chance for pooled fluid to enter the tubes as well. There is also a muscle attached to the tube in the area of the throat that pulls the tube open to release trapped fluid. This muscle often does not develop fully for several years, making it hard for the infant to release any fluid that may get trapped. Trapped fluid in the ear allows the bacteria and viruses that cause infection to grow and cause problems.
Bacteria and viruses both are culprits in ear infections, and the most common medical treatment for these infections is antibiotics. Unfortunately antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, and recent research has shown that antibiotics are possibly not much more effective than doing nothing at all. In fact, the American Pediatric Association has recently adopted a watchful waiting policy before antibiotics are taken for middle ear infections.
Gentle chiropractic adjustments of the neck allow the muscles and nerves in the neck and throat to work properly to help the infant release trapped fluid and infection. Your chiropractor may also use a gloved-finger to massage the muscle in the back of the throat to force open the eustachian tube. Why risk letting your child suffer from permanent hearing problems due to ear infections when a few chiropractic treatments usually are enough to manage this common condition. Call us today.