Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Get Rid of Your Child's Ear Infection Without Antibiotics

Is your child pulling on their ears or complaining of ear pain, running a fever, or irritable? Then you are one of 10 million parents whose children are affected by ear infections every year. Middle ear infections also known as otitis media account for more than 35% of all pediatric visits, as a result parents want answers and solutions to cutting down the length of ear infections and the cost of treatment. As a Peoria chiropractor, I am very concerned for every child that comes into my office complaining of chronic ear infections because this can put children at risk of permanent hearing damage as well as speech and developmental difficulties.

Young children are more at risk for developing ear infections because their eustachian tube (where the ear drains) is still developing and is oriented horizontally which doesn't facilitate drainage like in the adult ear where it angles downward to allow fluid to drain more easily. By the age of 2, this tube is usually oriented in a better position to reduce the risk of ear infection however some children may have spinal misalignments in the upper neck that contribute to a buildup of fluid in the ear and cause chronic ear infections.

Ear infections can result from either a bacterial or viral infection due tofluid that has built up in the ear.  For many children, these ear infections can become a chronic problem that requires multiple antibiotic treatments and possibly even a recommendation for serious surgery to place tubes in the ear to facilitate drainage. In fact, frequent ear infections are the second most common reason for surgery in children under 2.

What are my child's treatment options?

Traditional medical treatment focuses on antibiotics which may only be effective if the infection is caused by a bacterial. Repeated dosage of antibiotics have shown to be less effective than the child's own immune system and may actually create antibiotic resistant bacteria that can cause more serious health conditions.

Another option is a myringotomy or tympanostomy surgery, which consists of  placing a small opening in the eardrum for a tube to be inserted. This tube helps to relieve pressure in the ear and vents fresh air to prevent further infection, but in most cases the tube is pushed out after a couple of months. 20-30% of these surgeries will need to be repeated and in some cases will need to be followed with a more serious surgery to remove the adenoids, called an adenoidectomy.

More parents than ever are now considering chiropractic care as an option for their children because it is a safe, non invasive option that focuses on realigning the spinal bones in the neck to allow for better ear drainage and allows for the child's immune system to fight off the infection. The nerves in the upper neck direct drainage from the ear and also encourage the child's immune system to build up resistance that can prevent future ear infections. Chiropractic care for children suffering from ear infections focuses primarily on gentle chiropractic adjustments to the upper neck and entails approximately 6-8 treatments for the average child. Other factors that may effect length or frequency of treatment include the severity of the infection, how long it has been going on, and if they have previously taken antibiotics. At AlignLife, I perform a thorough examination of the child and ask about other factors that may be contributing to your child's condition such as diet or exposure to second hand smoke. In many cases, parents are surprised how quickly their child improves and embrace the effectiveness of chiropractic care in maintaining a wellness lifestyle for the whole family.

Research

Dr. Joan Fallon, a New York chiropractor, has published research showing that after receiving chiropractic care, nearly 80% of children were free of ear infections for at least 6 months following their initial visit.

A 1996 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, found a 93% rate of improvement for children that underwent chiropractic care for their ear pain/infection. This study also found that children that had not previously undergone antibiotic treatment required fewer treatments to relieve their symptoms.

For more information about chiropractic care for children suffering from ear infections, please feel free to give my office a call 309-689-6200 to setup a free ear infection consultation during the month of August.