Research shows that nearly 80 percent of children experience at least one ear infection by the age of three. Below, we discuss the common causes and symptoms of ear infections, as well as how chiropractic care can help.
What causes ear infections in children?
Ear infections are primarily bacterial infections. They happen when a child’s Eustachian tubes swell and become blocked. This swelling and blockage causes fluid to accumulate in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Typically, this occurs when a child has an upper respiratory infection. Swelling and blockage in the Eustachian tubes can also be attributed to excess mucus, allergies, changes in air pressure, swollen adenoids and secondhand smoke. Moving to an area with a significantly different climate, traveling from a high to a low altitude, or using a pacifier can also increase the likelihood of developing an ear infection.
It’s also worth noting that there are two different types of ear infections: chronic ear infections and acute ear infections. Acute ear infections don’t last very long and typically clear up without treatment. Chronic ear infections, on the other hand, usually require some sort of treatment to prevent them from reoccurring. If your child is experiencing chronic ear infections, it’s important to seek treatment right away in order to prevent permanent damage to the inner ear.
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
Common symptoms include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Fussiness or frequent crying
- Tugging or pulling at the affected ear(s)
- Inability to detect low-decibel sounds
- Pus-like fluid drains from the ear(s)
- Fever, particularly in newborns and younger children
- Pain (even mild) in the ear
- A persistent feeling of excess pressure inside the ear
- General lack of body balance
- Changes in mood/mood swings
How can chiropractic care help?
Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to relieve pain or discomfort caused by ear infections. At our clinic, we use a gentle, non-invasive treatment known as a chiropractic adjustment to reduce joint restrictions and misalignments in the spine. Upper cervical adjustments help promote fluid drainage, reducing the likelihood of buildup and subsequent infections. Chiropractic adjustments of the occiput (back of the skull) and atlas (first cervical vertebra) help prevent chronic ear infections by correcting misalignments and dysfunction.
Below are some of the benefits chiropractic adjustments provide for children with ear infections:
- Relief from pain and discomfort
- Increased mobility in the upper spine
- Decreased inflammation