Ear Infections are fairly common in children, and it is not easy as parents to see them suffering in pain. Young children’s eustachian tubes or auditory tubes are smaller and often make it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, and the buildup in the eardrum can lead to infections. Since a child’s immune system is developing, fighting infections is more challenging.
What is a chronic ear infection?
Chiropractors refer to chronic ear infection as Otitis Media – an infection of the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum that contains small bones that transmit sound to the inner ear. The infection can cause inflammation and a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, leading to pain, hearing loss, and other symptoms.
Children are more at risk of developing Otitis Media than adults because their eustachian tubes are shorter and more horizontal than those of adults. This makes it easier for bacteria or viruses to travel up the eustachian tube and cause an infection in the middle ear.
In addition to anatomical differences, other factors that can increase a child’s risk of developing otitis media include:
Age: Children under the age of 2 are at the highest risk for developing otitis media.
Exposure to smoke: Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke, either in the home or outside, are at a higher risk of developing otitis media.
Attending daycare: Children who attend daycare or other group settings are more likely to be exposed to viruses and bacteria that can cause ear infections.
Family history: Children with a family history of ear infections are more likely to develop them themselves.
Bottle feeding: Children who are bottle-fed, especially while lying down, can be at a higher risk of developing ear infections.
Allergies and respiratory infections: Children with allergies or frequent respiratory infections may be more susceptible to ear infections.
Acute and chronic ear infections are types of Otitis Media, but they differ in duration and severity.
Acute Otitis Media is a sudden-onset infection that causes symptoms such as ear pain, fever, and hearing loss. It usually lasts a few days to a week, can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and is more common in children than adults.
Chronic otitis media, on the other hand, is a long-term inflammation or infection of the middle ear. It can cause ongoing symptoms such as hearing loss, ear drainage, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Chronic otitis media can be caused by a variety of factors, including repeated episodes of acute otitis media, a ruptured eardrum, or damage to the middle ear bones.
While acute otitis media can often be treated with antibiotics, chronic otitis media may require a more comprehensive treatment plan, which may include antibiotics, surgery, or other interventions depending on the underlying cause.
Otitis media is a general term used to describe an infection or inflammation of the middle ear, while acute and chronic ear infections are specific types of otitis media that differ in duration and severity.
Chiropractic care may offer several potential benefits for children who suffer from chronic ear infections. Here are a few ways that chiropractic care may be helpful:
Improved Mobily and Function: Chiropractic adjustments can help restore mobility in the head and neck, as well as address scar tissue or adhesions limiting eustachian tube drainage,, which may help reduce the frequency or severity of ear infections.
Reduced Inflammation: Inflammation is a key factor in the development of ear infections. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the ear, which may help reduce the frequency and severity of ear infections.
Improved Overall Health: Chiropractic care is focused on promoting overall health and wellness. By addressing underlying issues that may contribute to ear infections, such as poor restricted spinal or soft tissue mobility, chiropractic care can help improve a child’s overall health and well-being.
It’s important to note that while chiropractic care may be beneficial for children with chronic ear infections, it should always be used in conjunction with other medical treatments as recommended by a pediatrician or other healthcare provider.
Dr. Natasha Hayden is a pediatric and prenatal chiropractor that is passionate about helping her community discover just how good their bodies are designed to feel, so they can do more of what they love.
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