Children and Ear Infections

by Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. on August 20, 2012

The number one reason parents bring their children to me is chronic ear infections.  Typically the child has had 3-4 rounds of antibiotics with no permanent help.  The antibiotics with give them relief for a couple of days to a week but then the ear infections return.  I tell my patients the problem is the antibiotics aren’t getting rid of the problem.  If you have a dump that is full of rats and you put rat poison out it will kill the rats but they will return because you haven’t gotten rid of the problem.  This is the same with ear infections, you must get to the cause or they will keep coming back.

There is no one reason for the chronic infections. I find it is a group of 3 issues that come together to form the perfect storm. 
      1.   Horizontal Eustachian Tubes – In children the ear tube is more horizontal so fluid does not drain as well as in an adult.  This is why doctors put tubes in children’s ears.  It will get them to drain but again it doesn’t address the cause. 
      2.   Spinal Misalignments and Muscle Tightness - There will be a rotation of the spinal bones in the upper neck that causes tightness in the muscles at the base of the skull and under the ears.  Muscle tightness will also be found in the muscles in the chest (pectorals) and of the anterior neck.  When these muscles are tight the lymph gets backed up and the ears are unable to drain.
      3.   Dietary -  A diet high in dairy and wheat will cause congestion and inflammation.  Daily ingestion will cause fluid retention in the ears and soft tissues. 
Ear infections are easy to get rid of but the parent must be involved.  My treatment protocol includes chiropractic adjustments, dietary recommendations and massage by the parents.
Every child I have checked that has ear infections has spinal restrictions in their neck.  Typically it will be C0-C1-C2 spinal segments that aren’t functioning correctly. I do not adjust children or babies like I do adults. I use an adjusting instrument on light or I use pressure and hold until it releases to get the motion back into the segments.  In addition the adjustments I will do light massage to the entire neck (back and front) and in the chest to get lymph drainage.  I also teach the parents how to do this massage at home so they can keep the drainage going.  These two treatments are easy, it is the dietary changes that are hard.  In almost all of my cases of chronic ear infections, the children are eating a mostly wheat and dairy diet.  I have them stop eating it completely.  Thankfully there are lots of food options to replace it in their diet. 
Children are so resilient that they will usually respond in 3-4 visits.  As long as the parent does frequent massage and keeps the dietary changes going, the infections do not return. 
Yours in Health!
Dr. Wendy

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