3 Ways Chiropractic Can Help Children with Chronic Ear Infections (Otitis Media)

 Ear infections are the most common disorder affecting children. Chiropractic offers a natural solution to help get your child out of pain. Most ear infections are caused by a viral infection, which means antibiotics will not help eradicate infection. Prolonged use of antibiotics can disrupt your kids gut bacteria and cause more damage long term, as seen in Martin Blaser’s recent (2011) research article.

figure 1 This shows the lymph nodes in the neck. the cervical lymph nodes drain bad toxins from the ear canal. the dark gray overtop is where the sternocleidomastoid (scm) is located.

figure 1
This shows the lymph nodes in the neck. the cervical lymph nodes drain bad toxins from the ear canal. the dark gray overtop is where the sternocleidomastoid (scm) is located.

The function of lymph fluid is to flush the bad toxins from our body. The fluid flows out of the ear canal with the help of gravity and contractions of the neck muscles. The lymphatic drainage system is located under the sternocleidomastoid muscle and drains into the blood system to be cleansed (see Figure 1 ). The bad toxins (viral and/or bacterial particles) are eradicated from the body.

figure 2 A child has a smaller and straighter eustachian tube, which can lead to more ear infections.

figure 2
A child has a smaller and straighter eustachian tube, which can lead to more ear infections.

Restricted lymph drainage in the middle ear plays a major part in chronic recurrent infections. This occurs more in children because the ear canal in children is horizontal and smaller, which makes it harder for gravity to help drain the fluid. The adults ear canal is at an angle (Figure 2 & 3). Kids also constantly fall, trip, and bump their heads as they grow and learn to walk and run. These, seemingly minor, occurrences can lead to hypertonic/tight neck muscles and other dysfunctions in movement. 


 

3 Ways Chiropractic can Help

  1. Chiropractic Adjustment for upper cervical vertebra: The SCM muscle attaches to cranial bones. When the muscles are tight they pull on the bones causes them to not function optimally. You may notice that your neck is not straight and one ear is closer to the
     
  2. Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Concentrating on the areas around the neck and face, where the lymph can get 'stuck' 
     
  3. Gentle Stretching & Ligamentous Balancing: This will keep the anatomy balanced and able to function and drain optimally.  

 

At Home

  • Lymph Drainage Massage: Dr. Heppe will teach you specific ways that you can massage your little one at home.
     
  • Nutrition: Look for sugar elimination and/or anti-inflammatory food options
     
  • Home remedies: Dr. Heppe will discuss these at home remedies in further detail during the appointment: tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, ginger, & hot water bottle.

 

Research

International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) link to research

Blaser, M. (2011). Antibiotic overuse: Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria. Nature. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7361/full/476393a.html

Fernandez, J., Santaolalla, F., Del Rey, A., Martinez-Ibarguen, A., Gonzalez, A., & Iriarte, M. (2005). Preliminary study of the lymphatic drainage system of the nose and paranasal sinuses and its role in detection of sentinel metastatic nodes. Acta Otolaryngol, 125(5), 566-570. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16092552.

Rosenfeld RM. Observation option toolkit for acute otitis media. Int J Pediatric Ororhinolaryngol 2001 Apr 6;58 (1):1-8

Shaĭkhova, K., Khakimov, A., & Khoroshaev, V. (1999). The morphology of regional lymphatic nodes in lymphotropic therapy of acute otitis media. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10226483