Earaches are some of the most excruciating pain we experience. And it needs to be taken care of quickly!
Remember: “Simple problems have simple solutions. Look to the cause of the problem, not the symptom.”
Earaches in children are a familiar occurrence in today’s society. The use of antibiotics and definitely the use of tubes placed into the ears are becoming far too common practice in the pediatric world of medicine. There are simple solutions in combating recurring childhood ear infections. The function of this paper is to be informative, and to be used as a practical guide to help your children with this condition. Let’s break it down.
There are two types of ear infections:
Inner ear (otitis media) and outer ear (otitis externa) infections.
The less bothersome of the two is an outer ear infection. This is commonly caused by some irritant within your child’s ear. Maybe the child stuck something within his/her ear and it got wedged into the ear or even scraped the tissue of the canal and it became infected, swollen, or irritated. This is very likely. Another form of otitis externa is swimmer’s ear. This is when water gets into the canal and sits in the canal and irritates the canal tissue linings. This can be very painful.
The second and most common type of ear infection that we see among children is otitis media, or inner ear infection. This means that there is fluid behind the eardrum. This fluid can be pus, serous fluid, or even blood. The only way to tell is by observing the eardrum and describing what it looks like through the transparent eardrum, also known as the tympanum. The infection can be caused by bacteria or a virus.
Anatomy of the Ear
In order to understand how we get earaches, we need to learn about the anatomy of the ear itself. Then we can understand how it becomes infected and this helps us to understand how to treat the ear infection.
The ear is broken into 2 parts, the inner ear and the outer ear.
The eardrum (tympanum) separates the inner and outer ear from one another. You have to remember the eardrum has 2 functions:
o The eardrum vibrates when causes the 3 bones within the inner ear to pump. Our brain perceives this vibration and hydraulic pumping as sound and interprets into speech and noise.
The eardrum acts as a barrier, like Saran Wrap. The inner ear is a sterile environment. The eardrum creates a barrier from the outside, non-sterile environment, to the inside of the ear.
The inner ear is drained by a cartilaginous and muscular tube known as the Eustachian Tube. The Eustachian Tube drains into the same open passageways as the nose, sinuses, and throat. (That is why there are specialists in this area; ENT’s (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors).
The ear is supplied with messages from the brain by several nerves that control, communicate, and react. The nerves that supply the ear are cranial nerves. The cranial nerves attach to the structures of the ear and enter into the spinal cord. This completes the circuit between the ear and all of its components and the brain, the master computer. The cranial nerves then travel down through the spinal cord and exit between the 1st and 2nd vertebrae within our neck. (The 1st vertebrae within our neck, sits just under your ear lobe.)
How the inner ear can become infected
Now that we have gone through the anatomy of the ear and all of its connections it is important to see how the inner ear can become infected.
If a child has a sinus infection, or a sore throat, 6 out of 10 times, that child will develop an inner ear infection. The reason being is that they all share the same passageway. Infections spread.
So let’s say that your child has an inner ear infection. The function of the Eustachian Tube is to drain the inner ear into the throat. Why is it not draining? This is the question that medical doctors need to ask themselves. This is the cause of the inner ear fluid. Doctors should treat the cause of the problem, not the symptom of the problem, like pain.
The Eustachian tube when irritated can become swollen and narrowed. Once narrowed, this will restrict fluid flow from the inner ear. Also, when the nasal passages and sinuses become filled with mucus, what do most kids and adults do to clear the passages? They snort or snuff to get the mucus up and then spit it out. This causes mucus to be forced up towards the Eustachian Tube and creates the negative pressure within the inner ear, much like a vacuum. The Eustachian Tube is a muscular wall and cartilaginous tube. Is the muscle in spasm because it is not communicating properly, due to interference of the nervous system by way of a misaligned spinal bone, causing pressure/irritation to the nerve that tells the muscular wall of the tube what to do? Or is the tube closed off due to irritation of the surrounding tissues? Or there is stagnant lymph drainage of the chains near the ear. All of these are possible causes of inner ear infections.
We need to start thinking in simplistic terms again. Not just in pills to blanket symptoms. Symptoms will return if the cause of the problem is not fixed.
Now what do we do about correcting the problem of the inner ear infection?
First, get your child to a Chiropractor. Have the doctor look into the ear to see if it is an ear infection, and what type it is.
Second, have the Chiropractor check the child’s spine for misaligned bones especially the 1st and the 2nd neck bones.
Have the Chiropractor adjust your child. Child adjustments are completely safe, gentle, and a better alternative to medications or tubes being surgically put into the ears. Child adjustments are quick and painless. The adjustments are quick, pain-free, and frankly almost all children love coming to see a Chiropractor rather than the medical doctor. The treatment should be followed up with a massage of the muscles of the front portion of your child’s neck. The Chiropractor will do the massage first, and then show the parent how to do this at home. Continue the massage at home at least 4-5 times per day. The function of the massage is to create drainage of the lymph nodes behind the muscles of the neck. The child should be re-checked within 2 days to make sure that the infection, misaligned bone, and pain are being reduced. Only continue this type of therapy for 2 weeks. You should see improvement within 3 days.
Remember, the purpose and philosophy of Chiropractic is to remove the interference from the nervous system and allow the body to heal itself. Are medications necessary? Yes, that is why we have them, but they are prescribed and used much too often. They do not work as fast and are not as safe, as natural methods, such as Chiropractic.
One of the last resorts…
One of the last resorts to combating recurring ear infections is to put tubes within the ears. Remember, kids that have this surgery have been on antibiotics for at least 6 months to 1-½ years continuously. Obviously, the antibiotics are not helping. So let’s drain the inner ear, if the medication will not clear up the problem. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!! What is the function of the eardrum? Conducts sound and acts as a barrier. I do not care what any ENT says about tubes not scarring the eardrum; IT SCARS THE EARDRUM! Scarring of the eardrum causes hearing loss to some degree. Once you put a tube into the eardrum you now have opened a door between the sterile inner ear and the unsterile outer ear. This is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. The tubes, in which you spent $2,500 per ear, fall out within 3 years. Many children have to have the tubes placed back within the ear a second time.
Out of all of the children that I have seen in my office for recurring ear aches, even ones that were scheduled for tubes to be put in, only 3 of them have gotten tubes in their ears. The several other children all went to their last check up before surgery and all of the surgeries were cancelled. Parents are a vital portion of this success. They have to do the massage for their children at least 4-5 times per day.
And in closing…
Chiropractic is based on simple principles. The nervous system controls and communicates with the body and all of its smallest to largest parts. There are no exceptions to this rule. There is no such thing as a living being without the nervous system. This is what Chiropractic is based upon. Simple problems have simple solutions. Look to the cause of the problem, not the symptom. As the “Father of Modern Medicine”, (Hippocrates) said, “Look well to the spine for the cause of all disease.” This is how I leave you.
I hope that you have found this article very informative. It is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I will never do unto any person what I will not do to my own child. I live, eat and breathe what I do for a living. I feel that I have been chosen to carry the torch for my profession. I will continue to help as many families that I come in contact with. If you feel that this article could help someone that you know to better understand what it is that Chiropractic can do for someone, please ask us for a copy.
Yours in Health,
Dr. John Nolan Bouma
Premier Chiropractic Center