Every year, millions of children experience the pain and discomfort of Acute otitis media, or AOM, commonly known as a middle ear infection. As many as five out of six children have at least one instance of AOM by their third birthday! Causes of AOM can be either bacterial or viral, and in too many cases, are treated with a prescribed course of antibiotics.
It's become common knowledge that the overuse of antibiotics has led to a rise in resistant bacteria, meaning that increasingly larger doses of antibiotics, or stronger and often more expensive varieties, must be prescribed for future bacterial infections. And antibiotics do not work against viruses, which are not alive -- yet antibiotics are often used to attempt to combat an ear infection anyway.
Antibiotics also carry risks of side effects of their own, like rashes, diarrhea, upset stomach, and fungal infections. They eradicate the usual, healthy probiotic flora in the gut, leading to imbalances in the vitally important digestive system. And it's very young children who are the most likely to suffer from antibiotic side effects.
Because of this, current pediatric guidelines are to use antibiotics cautiously, and wait 48 to 72 hours after AOM symptoms begin to see if improvement occurs on its own. However, more and more parents are using an additional, alternative approach to the wait-and-see method: a chiropractic visit.
Chiropractic adjustments may be responsible for resolving an ear infection in multiple ways. First, they correct any misalignments in the spine, including with cervical and cranial bones, that may be contributing to poor drainage of the Eustachian tubes (the small connections between the middle ear and the throat). If there is nervous system interference or muscular inflammation surrounding these tubes, they cannot operate properly and fluid buildup and obstruction will result. An adjustment can reduce or eliminate the interference and inflammation both.
Adjustments also improve immune function, which is especially important when the ear infection has been caused by an illness such as a cold or flu. Proper alignment increases blood flow and encourages proper lymph drainage, both needed for healing and continued health.
A series of chiropractic adjustments has been successful in resolving many cases of chronic ear infections where repeated antibiotic courses have failed. Adjustments can be a conservative, drug-free, non-invasive solution to an issue almost every child will face!
Call our office in Elgin to schedule a consultation if you're ready to treat ear infections differently – or want to prevent them! We're committed to helping your entire family with a 'whole person approach.'