Monday For Moms: A natural Approach to Ear Infections in Infants & Children

I have some great news for parents looking for a natural approach to treating ear infections (otitis media) in infants and children.  First I would like to explain why young children are more prone to ear infections.  In a child, due to the shape of the young skull, the eustation tubes are horizontal allowing fluid to lay stagnant and become infected more easily.  As the child grows the tubes point downward allowing them to drain properly.  Also, the development of their young immune systems is still a work in progress.  However there is another contributing factor, the upper cervical subluxation, a fixation or misalignment of the first vertebra of the spine.


So where does the upper cervical subluxation come from and how does chiropractic fit in the picture?  It is hypothesized that there is a significant link between the birthing process and recurrent ear infections especially if the ear infections occur in the first year of life. 


Ear infections are most common in pre-school age children however it is unusual for an infant to have an ear infection in the first year of life.  If we look back to the birth process, we can easily see how the upper cervical subluxation may have occurred.  Birth is a traumatic event for babies and mothers alike, but especially for babies.  Many births involve some pulling or twisting on the baby’s head and neck, even in a natural birth this exists to some extent.  It is very prevalent if the birth involved forceps, a vacuum or cesarean section.  Lately surgeons try to cut the smallest opening possible during a c-section.  They then have to yank and pull very hard on the baby’s neck to compress him/her through the small opening.  This trauma can cause a misalignment and neurological disruption to the cervical spine, especially where the skull meets the first few vertebrae in the neck.  This misalignment can restrict lymphatic drainage mainly on the side of the earache and lead to fluid build-up in the middle ear. 


All young children are exposed to viral and bacterial infections but they don’t all get ear infections frequently or at an early age.  It is the body’s response to the pathogen which determines which children encounter early and recurrent ear infections.  When you child’s body is functioning properly it should recognize the “bug”, attack, and dispose of it.  However when the lymphatics are not able to drain the disposal cannot take place.  This is when the infection and often chronic infections occur.  Another indication that the cause of recurrent ear infections is related to the spine is when the infection always occurs in the same ear. 


Read more about research on chiropractic benefiting ear infections.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] Like blog reads from a Chiropractor Mommy?  Then, visit my colleague and friend, Dr. Heather who posts on Mom Going Green.  She has a great post on a natural approach to ear infections in infants and children. […]

  2. 2

    kayla said,

    I agree to that thank you for all your useful information!

  3. 3

    Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of fluid in the ear, and allows a child to build up their own antibodies to fight off an infection more quickly. Depending on how chronic an infection has been, children generally need to get several treatments. Once they fight an ear infection themselves, kids tend to not to get further ear infections unless they have an abnormally shaped Eustachian tube, or other risk factor. Chiropractic is safe and effective and should be tried before giving a child antibiotics and certainly before inserting tubes in their ears.

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