Having a baby has had me focused more and more on child development and child health. Mr. Marshall has been growing like a weed. He loves smiling and cooing at anyone who will talk to him or smile back at him. He’s been rolling from his back to his belly and is always proud of himself when he does. He enjoys going for a walk in his stroller and swinging in the office. Recently I was reading that one of the number one reasons kids go to the pediatrician is for a suspected ear infection (it’s actually about 35% of the visits). What are the common symptoms associated with an ear infection? Tugging or pulling at the ear, trouble sleeping, ear drainage, fever, child complaining of pain, or even lack of balance.
Did you know that while children are younger their eustachian tubes are shorter, narrower, and more horizontal? As kids mature the eustachian tube slowly orients more vertically. Kiddos’ eustachian tubes slope downward only about 10 degrees compared to adult’s tubes that slant 35 degrees. Since the tubes are more horizontal, this allows fluid and bacteria to sit inside the ear instead of draining. This is the main reason children suffer from more ear infections than adults. The eustachian tubes are made up of bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue. Six muscles contribute to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes— these muscles are located in the ear, head, neck, soft palate, and jaw. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments focused on the atlas and occiput bones can actually reduce tension on these tiny muscles that attach to the eustachian tube to help aid in fluid drainage.
Parents often wonder how misalignments or subluxations can occur. Misalignments of the upper neck can happen from major events like the childbirth process. They can also be from everyday trips and tumbles while babies and children are learning to move their bodies whether that be rolling, crawling, walking, or running. If there is a lot of tension in the muscles at the top of the neck this can also impact the middle ear’s ability to allow fluid to drain.
A study completed in 1997 focused on the correlation between chiropractic adjustments and chronic ear infections. The study included 332 children aged between 27 days old and 5 years who received chiropractic adjustments. Almost 80% of the 332 children did not experience another ear infection during the six- month follow up of the study. The children in the study were previously diagnosed with chronic ear infections so for them to go 6 months without one is pretty awesome. 311 of the 332 kids previously were prescribed antibiotics for their ear infections. 69.9% of the children had their first ear infection before the age of 1. The study concluded that chiropractic care is a conservative treatment to consider for kiddos with chronic ear aches. What’s even better is that there are several positive side effects to pediatric chiropractic care including help with post birth recovery, colic, aid in proper physical development, and even reports of better sleep.
Dr. Doug and Jeanette love teaching people about health and wellness. If we haven't covered a topic that you're interested in, feel free to leave a comment and we'd be happy to give you our thoughts!