What Causes Ear Infections in Childhood?
Infection of the middle ear, or acute otitis media, is a common symptom in childhood. In fact, it is the most common cause of fever in the early years of life. This condition may be very painful and, after several recurring infections, may result in permanent damage. What can you do to help your child?Review of Traditional Treatment
Research shows that upper respiratory infections, including otitis media, may be caused by improper drainage of the deep neck lymphatics along with improper nerve supply. In these cases, a doctor looking in your child’s ear will see a buildup of fluid behind the tympanic membrane (eardrum), with the inside of the ear appearing inflamed and the eardrum bulging.
A popular medical method of medical treatment of otitis media is prescription of oral antibiotics, usually amoxicillin. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, however, amoxicillin is not an effective treatment for otitis media. In fact, after administration of amoxicillin, occurrence of fluid in the ear was two to six times greater. A second study revealed that the use of antibiotics in the prevention of recurrent acute otitis media (AOM) in the treatment of nine children showed an improved outcome in one.
In 1997, the British Medical Journal reviewed the use of antimicrobials for AOM and published, “We conclude that existing research offers no compelling evidence that children with AOM routinely given antimicrobials have a shorter duration of symptoms, fewer recurrences, or better long term outcomes than those who do not receive them.” The authors went on to warn, “Antimicrobial use in children with otitis media results in the emergence of resistant organisms in those children and in the community. Development and spread of multiple resistant pneumococci after treatment for otitis media have been documented in day care centers and surrounding communities, including instances that have led to deaths from meningitis in children treated previously for uncomplicated AOM.”
A Different Approach to Childhood Ear Infections
The most recent model suggests that reduced drainage or blockage in the drainage system of the cervical (neck) affects lymphatic outflow from the Eustachian tube. This allows fluid to build up in the middle ear, making it an inviting environment for bacteria and viruses. Improper drainage of this fluid is caused by a combination of events. Increased muscle tone or muscle spasms, coupled with a child’s already small drainage system, appear to be major factors. Instead of treatment that tries to kill the bacteria or virus, a more natural approach would be to restore normal drainage of the ears and neck lymphatics by restoring homeostasis. This is the chiropractic approach.The Chiropractic Approach
A retrospective study examining improvement from chiropractic care of children with otitis media concluded that 93 percent of all episodes improved, 75 percent in 10 days or fewer and 43 percent with only one or two spinal adjustments. Another study reported that with chiropractic adjustments it took 6.67 days to normalize the orthoscopic examination in AOM and 8.57 days to normalize chronic/serous otitis media. The results indicated that there was a strong correlation between the chiropractic adjustment and the resolution of otitis media for children in the study. The chiropractic approach has gained support from several similar studies.
Doctors of chiropractic focus on restoring homeostasis. Vertebrae (spinal bones) fit together so that the LIFE (nerve supply) produced in your brain may filter down your spinal cord and out over your nerves. This LIFE is responsible for growth, repair and healing in your entire body. When vertebrae are out of their natural alignment, nerves become stretched or twisted (commonly referred to as a nerve “pinch”), and this vital communication network in the body is disrupted.
This neurological disturbance is called a subluxation. The doctor of chiropractic specializes in the detection and correction of subluxations. This is done by laying hands on your back and gently lining up the vertebrae in their natural position. This process may take weeks or months, depending on the amount of misalignment. Communication from the brain may then be restored throughout the body, and healing can take place. As your body heals, the symptoms begin to diminish.
Chiropractic spinal adjustments correct subluxation, which returns the body to more normal homeostasis. This procedure reduces or eliminates the tense neck musculature responsible for blocking the normal drainage of the fluid. As this obstruction to the lymphatic system is removed, the excess fluid in the ears drains. The inviting environment for bacteria and viruses to grow in is removed, and the infection can heal. Once normal drainage is restored, the recurrence of ear infection is diminished or nonexistent.
When Should Your Child Be Checked for Subluxations?
Newborn infants should be checked within hours after birth. During the pushing stage of labor, the spine, particularly the neck, may be injured as the baby is compressed and pushed down the birth canal. The most frequent subluxation experienced by newborns results from the pulling, twisting and compression of the infant’s spine during birth.
Although birth subluxations may cause immediate symptoms, such as respiratory depression, there may be far-reaching effects that are manifested for years. The child’s ability to fight against disease, for example, may be lowered. Colds, ear infections, colic and other illnesses may result.
Subluxations may also interfere with internal organ function, resulting in the inability to produce chemicals responsible for raising and lowering body temperature as needed. Research has also indicated that the body’s immune response in the production of antiviral and antibacterial agents to fight infection is greatly compromised due to vertebral lesions (subluxations).Chiropractic Is Safe and Natural.
The chiropractic approach to healthcare is natural. It does not try to stimulate or inhibit normal body function. Instead, the chiropractor addresses the important relationship between the nervous system and disease. The systemic effect of vertebral subluxations is complex. Many childhood illnesses may be the result of abnormal body function caused by subluxations. In light of this, your chiropractor may be the best doctor to help your child.
Children should be checked frequently for subluxations to ensure good health.