Ear Infections: Medical Approach

Most parents are unfortunately very familiar with ear infections. Ear infections in children are the most common reason for trips to the pediatrician according to webMD. Every year in the U.S. 30 million kids see a pediatrician for an ear infection.

Traditional medical treatment of ear infections has been controversial in more recent years and typically begins with antibiotic therapy – the focus directed on the eradication of bacteria in the middle ear.   It has been discussed that there is no compelling evidence that children who are given antibiotics for treatment have shorter duration of symptoms, fewer recurrences of ear infections, or better long term outcomes.  And because over half of all ear infections are not caused by bacteria and recurrent use of antibiotics leads to depressed immune system, antibiotics may be doing more harm than good when it comes to kids with ear infections.

For a child who with recurring ear infections, the next protocol for treatment is the insertion of tympanostomy tubes in order to prevent recurrence, mastoiditis, and hearing loss.  Tympanostomy tubal insertion allows for the fluid in the middle ear to drain as well as permitting ventilation.  Due to a lack of consensus of which children who present with ear infections would benefit by having this procedure, it is estimated that 27-32% of tympanostomies performed are unnecessary. Even with tubal insertion, it is found that almost 98% of the children have a recurrence of ear infections within two months and 25% have total hearing loss within 7-10 years.

Upper Cervical Approach

With the medical approach to ear infections being so ineffective, many patients are looking for alternatives.  NUCCA Spinal care has proved to be extremely effective.  For instance, one study looked at 332 children with chronic ear infections. The results show that 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their initial visits.

The most likely cause of chronic ear infections is eustachian tube dysfunction.  The eustachian tube is a narrow passage that connects the middle ear to the throat.  Abnormal function of the eustachian tube traps fluid in the middle ear and leads to an inflammatory response.  When normalization of the eustachian tube is achieved it allows for protection of the middle ear from fluids from the nose and the throat, natural drainage of fluid from the middle ear to the nose and throat, and regulation of pressure in the middle ear to equilibrate with the outside environment.

Proper eustachian tube function is dependent upon the function of the tensor veli palatini muscle – the only active opener of the eustachian tube which is controlled by nerves that originate from the upper neck.  Misalignment and dysfunction in the upper neck leads to dysfunction in the nerves that leave that area, which in turn leads to dysfunction in the muscles that control the eustachian tube.

A recent case study in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health highlights once again the success of upper cervical chiropractic and recurring ear infections. A 16-month-old child had recurrent ear infections that were unresponsive to antibiotics for 2 months.  The pediatrician recommended putting tubes into the ears, but the mother wanted to first try chiropractic care.  Misalignments were located in the upper neck and corrected over the span of a month. At the end of that month, all ear infections had resolved. According to the pediatrician, the child was no longer considered for the placement of the tubes. The child’s ear infections have not returned.

Upper cervical chiropractic care enables the ear to open and drain which, in turn, allows the body to resist the buildup of fluid and possible infection. Many children develop their own antibodies and recover quickly and naturally without the use of unnecessary antibiotics and tubes. The discomfort of chronic ear infections, lost days of schools for children, and lost days of work for parents can become a thing of the past.

The NUCCA procedure is very gentle. There is no cracking, popping or anything that will hurt or cause pain to your baby. To find a doctor in your area go to www.NUCCA.org or if you’re in the Upland, California area, to schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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Dr. Tymothy Flory, Dr. James Weiss and Dr. Jameson Wong of Atlas Spinal Care in Upland, California are Upper Cervical Specialists trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Their upper cervical clinic also serves Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and surrounding areas. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, fibromyalgia, vertigo, whiplash and auto injuries. More information can be found on their website at http://www.atlasspinalcare.com/

References:

Resolution of Otitis Media & Avoidance of Tympanostomy Tubes in a 16-Month Old with Birth Trauma Following Subluxation Based Care: A Case Study and Selective Review of Literature

Pamela Stone-McCoy, DC, CACCP & Chantelle Korn, DC

Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic ~ Volume 2013 ~ Issue 2 ~ Pages 39-46

http://chiropracticpediatrics.sharepoint.com/Pages/2013_1264_otitis.aspx