Ear infections are among the most frequent of childhood conditions. In fact, current research indicates that 80% of children will get at least one ear infection by the time they are two years old, with most of them being of a recurring nature. It is the most common reason for childhood visits to a pediatrician and for prescription antibiotics. Obviously, this is a very common condition, but that does NOT mean it’s normal!
An ear infection happens when fluid builds up in the ear canal, does not drain like it should, and the ear canal becomes infected. The infection is typically caused by a virus but can be from bacteria as well. Essentially, the “plumbing” of the ear canal does not work properly, which is why we tend to refer to these cases a result of “poor plumbing.”
Today’s medical treatment for ear infections typically consists of antibiotics, which may kill off the infection (if it is actually caused by bacteria), but such treatment does not address the root cause of the plumbing problem. What’s more, recent research has shown that antibiotics are not improving the outcomes of children with ear infections. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their guidelines on antibiotic use for ear infections due to their ineffectiveness and potential to be dangerous. If ear infections become a recurring problem, getting tubes surgically placed may be brought up. This often results in less frequent ear infections, but instead of fluid building up in the ear canals, it goes deeper into the sinus cavities and throat and can cause a whole host of other issues down the road.
Clearly, the odds are stacked against children if almost all of them will eventually get an ear infection. But is that simply inevitable, or is it because of the way it’s being treated? If antibiotics are only treating the effect, but do nothing to address the root cause, why are antibiotics still offered as the most frequent solution? Why are all of these children being subjected to unnecessary drugs and surgery? It makes far more sense – and is much safer – to instead address and resolve the root cause.
That’s where chiropractic comes in.
Chiropractic care offers a different approach by looking at the reasons an ear infection is occurring. Chiropractic does not treat ear infections. Instead, chiropractic addresses the underlying stressors that can cause ear infections.
The vertebrae of the spine not only have the job of keeping the body upright, but by far their most important job is to protect the central nervous system. Nerves travel from the brain down the spinal cord and out to different parts of the body in the spaces between the vertebrae. When these vertebrae get misaligned, particularly the top ones in the upper neck, the nerves that control ear canal drainage and immune function do not work properly. Not only can this be a root cause of ear infections; it can also lower a child’s ability to fight off any potential threats to their immune system.
Using safe and gentle adjustments to the spine, which often consists of a light touch or vibration with a fingertip, chiropractic adjustments can eliminate that nerve interference, remove the blockage in the plumbing of the ear canal, and restore the body’s ability to function properly. The result is a natural solution to ear infections and a happy and healthy child!
Most birth procedures today, even those with minimal or no medical intervention, have been shown to cause stress to an infant’s spine. In fact, an infant withstands as much as 90 pounds of axial pressure when going through the birth canal during a normal vaginal birth. For context, that would be like attaching a 90-pound weight to your infant’s ankles and picking them up by only the head. That process alone is why almost every newborn infant has a misalignment to the upper portion of their neck. Left uncorrected, that can lead to a myriad of issues, with breastfeeding difficulties being a major one.
It has been well documented in research that breastfeeding is the superior choice when it comes to feeding an infant. However, when nursing issues arise, mothers are often offered little support and can become discouraged when things don’t go as planned. Even when help is sought out, many medical care providers don’t understand that biomechanical disorders of the infant’s spine lead to breastfeeding difficulty. Due to this lack of knowledge, ineffective recommendations are often made, and both the mother and infant suffer. Unless the root cause of the improper biomechanics is addressed, a mother can become frustrated, which typically leads to formula being used to feed their infant.
Common signs of breastfeeding issues include:
By providing specific, gentle adjustments to the infant’s spine, a pediatric chiropractor can restore the normal function of the baby’s spine and central nervous system. This often restores the infant’s ability to nurse without difficulty. There are several research studies done on this topic, which can be found on the ICPA web site.
Tongue and lip ties are another set of problems that have become increasingly common over the last several years and can also be one of the causes of nursing issues. This occurs when there is a tighter, thicker, or shorter than normal band of tissue from the upper gum to the upper lip (lip tie) and/or from the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth (tongue tie) that causes restriction of movement of the tongue or lip. Pediatricians and even some lactation consultants frequently, and unknowingly, fail to recognize these ties, which can cause problems with the infant latching properly and result in decreased milk supply, frustration, and eventually an end to breastfeeding.
If a tongue or lip tie is suspected in your infant, it definitely warrants an evaluation by a trained pediatric chiropractor. Because of abnormal movement due to the ties, babies often compensate with poor oral motor function. Chiropractic can restore normal nerve input to these muscles and allow them to function better, whether the ties are revised or not. We also have great referral sources for additional approaches to this that can be discussed if needed.
Everybody has daily stressors in their life. In fact, low-grade, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death. The key is to be sure your body can properly adapt to those stressors so that it does not negatively impact your health or the health of your family. The central nervous system is what perceives and adapts to stress caused by the three T’s (traumas, toxins, and thoughts).
When our central nervous system can no longer adapt to stress, it is due to a subluxation, which is a spinal misalignment causing neurological interference. Prolonged stress causes us to be in a sympathetic dominant state, which causes change in your body on a physiological level. For example:
To help your body better adapt to stress, chiropractic care: