If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of ear infections, you know it’s no picnic. But, have you ever considered turning to chiropractic care for some pain relief, too?
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, drug-free approach that can help address the symptoms of ear infections. It’s all about aligning the body in just the right way to boost its natural healing abilities.
In this case, we’re talking about relieving tension in the neck, promoting drainage from the ears, and potentially even supporting your immune system to fight off the nasty bugs causing the infection!
Consider how chiropractic care can help you as a handy sidekick in your battle against ear infections, offering an added boost to your body’s natural defenses. So, add chiropractic adjustments to your treatment approach, and give your body that extra fighting power it deserves!
What is an Ear Infection?
An ear infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear (that is, the ear part just behind the eardrum). This section of your ear acts as a tiny echo chamber packed with lots of small parts that vibrate to create sound. But when an infection sets in, it can lead to fluid build-up, inflammation, and pain.
Most ear infections clear up on their own. If, however, that ear pain lingers or the infection keeps popping back, it’s time to consult a doctor. They will prescribe antibiotics or other treatments to kick that infection to the curb.
Who is More Predisposed to Ear Infections?
Anyone can get an ear infection, but some people do have a higher chance of getting one. Here’s the “usual suspect” list:
- Kids: Children are more likely to get ear infections than adults. Their immune systems are still developing, and their Eustachian tubes (that is, the tiny tunnels connecting the middle ear to the upper throat) are smaller and more level, which means they can get clogged with fluid more easily. Plus, they’re often around other kids with colds, flu, and all sorts of germs at daycare or school.
- Bottle-fed babies: Babies who drink from a bottle, especially while lying down, have a higher risk of ear infections than their breastfed counterparts.
- People with allergies: But don’t worry, adults aren’t off the hook either. Allergies, sinus infections, and even changes in altitude (like when you’re on that awesome mountain hike) can block the Eustachian tubes in grown-ups, leading to a middle ear infection.
- Frequent cold and sinus sufferers: If you’re someone who often catches a cold or battles with sinus infections, you’re also on the ‘more likely’ list. Colds and sinus infections can block the Eustachian tubes and create a nice, warm, moist environment that bacteria and viruses love.
- People with weakened immune systems: This includes people undergoing certain medical treatments like chemotherapy or with conditions that lower the body’s defenses.
- Smokers (and those exposed to second-hand smoke): Smoke can mess with the function of the Eustachian tubes and also irritate the tiny ear hairs keeping germs and bacteria at bay.
The Four Types of Ear Infections
- Otitis Media: This is basically doctor-speak for a middle ear infection. It happens when the area behind your eardrum gets all inflamed and filled with fluid. It is a common condition in children, although it can also occur in adults.
Middle ear infections can either be acute (they come on quickly, with nasty symptoms) or chronic (they’re long-lasting or keep recurring).
- Otitis Externa: Also known as “swimmer’s ear“, otitis externa occurs when the ear canal becomes inflamed, usually due to water hanging out in there for too long. It’s not as common as a middle ear infection but can be a real pain when it happens.
- Otitis Media with Effusion: It occurs when fluid sticks around or fills the middle ear, but without any bacterial or viral infection (and usually without symptoms). It often follows an acute infection episode.
- Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media: It’s a long-term middle ear infection that can result in a persistent or recurring discharge from the ear. If untreated, it can potentially lead to hearing loss.
What are the Symptoms of Ear Infections?
If you’ve got a middle ear infection, you will notice pressure in your ear — like when you’re underwater or wearing earmuffs — potentially leading to a dull pain or a throbbing ache. Children with this type of infection can be extra fussy, have trouble hearing or balancing, or even get a fever.
An outer ear infection can cause your ear to feel itchy or even painful when you touch or tug on the earlobe. It could also lead to a bit of drainage. Don’t be surprised if things sound a bit muffled or if your ear feels full.
Last but not least, if you’ve got a more serious type of ear infection such as chronic suppurative otitis media, you might notice a persistent discharge from your ear, often accompanied by a fever, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and a decreased ability to hear.
Can Regular Chiropractic Adjustments Help With Ear Infections?
Chiropractic adjustments, especially those in the upper neck, have a significant impact on the nervous system. When your spine is in proper alignment, your nervous system can work more effectively, thus boosting your immune response. With a more efficient immune system, your body might be better equipped to decrease ear infections!
Another part of this puzzle involves the Eustachian tubes, which sometimes become clogged up, especially in children, leading to fluid buildup in the ear. Chiropractic adjustments relax the muscles around the Eustachian tubes, helping them drain more effectively and thus reducing the chances of an infection.
The connection between chiropractic and ear infections has already been scientifically established decades ago. A 1996 study conducted on forty-six children aged five and under found that combining routine chiropractic care with conventional medical treatment alleviated the symptoms of ear infections in 93% of the cases!!
However, while chiropractic adjustments help treat ear infections, they don’t replace the traditional medical treatments. If you’re considering a chiropractic approach to your ear infection, definitely talk it over with your healthcare provider first.
Ready to Deal With Your Ear Infection? Dr. Doerr Can Help!
At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic treatment services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!
- Chronic Suppurative Otitis – Statpearls – NCBI Bookshelf, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554592/. Accessed 4 June 2023.
- “Ear Infections.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Apr. 2022, www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi/ear-infections.html. Accessed 4 June 2023.
- “Ear Infections.” Paediatrics & Child Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2786955. Accessed 4 June 2023.
- RM, Froehle. “Ear Infection: A Retrospective Study Examining Improvement from Chiropractic Care and Analyzing for Influencing Factors.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8728460. Accessed 4 June 2023.