Dr. Stephanie Maj answers the most pressing question in her pediatric practice: What is the cause of ear infections and what can we do to heal them without drugs or surgery?
Chicago-Ask any parent about ear infections, and you will likely hear one horror story after another. Ear infection or Otitis Media, is the most common reason for visits to the pediatrician’s office. In fact, visits to the pediatrician’s office for ear infections have increased over 150% from 1975 to 1990. It is estimated that over 30 million visits are made every year in an attempt to deal with this problem.
In my practice, we have an effective, safe solution to the problems plaguing parents. What we find is most parents fail to understand what is happening with these infections.
Otitis Media is the general name for several conditions affecting the middle ear. The most common symptoms are earache, a feeling of pressure, and perhaps difficulty hearing due to increased amounts of fluid. Teething often produces similar symptoms, therefore, the child should be carefully observed before jumping to any conclusions.
Historically, the treatment for ear infections has been antibiotics. This method of treatment has come under severe attack over the past several years for many reasons. One of the reasons, the overuse and over prescription of these antibiotics, has led to what is termed “antibiotic resistant bacteria”. These bacteria have “evolved” and changed so that the antibiotics no longer affect them. Because of this phenomenon, stronger and stronger antibiotics are being used, which is leading to more and more resistance. (http://tinyurl.com/yep3y33)
Another reason use of antibiotics has come under fire is because study after study has demonstrated that they are not effective. In other words, they do not work! This is why so many children are on one antibiotic after another, stronger and stronger each time. Sure, many times the infection will go away, but it quickly returns with a vengeance, and so begins the antibiotic roller coaster.
The reasons they continually reoccur is two-fold: First, antibiotics kill off most bacteria in the body including the helpful “good” bacteria our bodies need. This depletes our children’s natural immune system, making them vulnerable to many more infections of varying types.
Secondly, antibiotics merely attempt to treat the symptoms of ear infections, they do not address the actual cause and therefore the infections return.
The real question then is what is the cause of ear infections? The reality is that ear infections themselves are merely a symptom of a greater problem. The vast majority of them are secondary to a cold or another infection, which may be due to a depressed immune system.
The other more physical reason children suffer from ear infections is because of the actual anatomy of the young ear.
In children, the Eustachian tube is nearly horizontal, gradually acquiring a near 45-degree angle. This often slows draining of these tubes and with stagnant fluid, infection may appear.
The obvious question from most parents now is: what can we do? The answer lies in a new level of thinking.
As a chiropractor, my primary objective is to address the root cause of health problems. Treating symptoms, as mentioned earlier, has been proven unsuccessful at best. When dealing with your children and ear infections, my goal is to correct the actual cause, and to allow the body to function at its optimal potential. (http://tinyurl.com/ybqlymw)
There is a direct link between the nerves in the neck (the superior cervical ganglion), the muscles of the Eustachian tubes (tensor veli palatini) and the middle ear.
Let me explain: The middle ear drains any fluid through the Eustachian tubes. These tubes open and close through the action of a muscle and that muscle is controlled by a nerve. This nerve originates in the neck. When this nerve is not functioning normally, the tensor veli palatini muscle may go into spasm, which constricts the Eustachian tube, restricting drainage and causing fluid buildup in the middle ear. This fluid, combined with a stressed immune system, may result in an ear infection.
Ultimately then, this “nerve interference” can cause your children to suffer as they do. My job as a chiropractor is to detect this nerve interference called subluxation, and correct it. A subluxation is a misalignment of a bone in the spine that pinches, stretches or twists a nerve resulting in interference.
By correcting this interference, the child’s body is given the potential to heal and be well. With proper chiropractic care, your child will be able to live a life free from nerve interference, and free from unnecessary medications and antibiotics.
Chiropractic adjustments for children are very gentle and differ tremendously from the adult version. Imagine you are putting a contact in your eye or testing a tomato to see if it is ripe, that is the extent of the pressure used in these treatments. There is no twisting, popping or pulling involved.
Through advances in technology such as Surface EMG and Thermal Scans, a chiropractor can easily detect these subluxations and monitor their correction as well. This enables chiropractors to be accurate and objective, allowing you the best care possible.
A promising study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics now indicates that there is a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections. 332 children with chronic ear infections participated in the study. Each child, ranging in age from 27 days to 5 years, was given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results show that close to 80% of the children in this study experienced NO ear infections within the six-month period following their initial visits. The six-month period included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks.
Correcting the cause through chiropractic has been shown to help over 80% of all children with ear infections.
Treating the symptoms of ear infections with antibiotics has proven to be ineffective. Give your children a fighting chance with chiropractic; it could change your lives!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Stephanie A. Maj has been helping children and adults experience life at their maximum potential through Chiropractic for over 14 years. She is the author of the book, “You Can Be Well” and lectures throughout Chicago on a variety of health issues, and may be contacted at 773.528.8485. Community Chiropractic is located at 1442 W. Belmont, 1E Chicago, IL 60657. Her website is www.communitychiropractic.net.