Ear Infections


Hi I’m Dr. Matt Hammett and this is a Monday
morning moment. Ear Infections and the chiropractic approach My wife and I have been in private practice,
specializing in helping children and their families for well over a decade. Of all the issues that happen with our pediatric
patients, ear infection is probably the most common. This is commonly the condition that starts
children down the antibiotic superhighway, of which it seems there’s no return. No parent forgets the trip to the doctor after
having their child (especially their first) wake up in the middle of the night screaming
and clawing at the side of their head while sweating with fever. Not a pretty picture. But are antibiotics and medical intervention
the only option when it comes to childhood ear infections? The easy, quick answer is no. I want to start off by clarifying that not
all “ear infections” are actually infected ears, or even infections. Children’s Eustachian tubes (ear canals)
are not slanted down like those of adults. Their canals are straight across or horizontal,
making it hard for your baby to get much help from gravity to move the fluid from the lymph
nodes and the ears into the throat and out of their body. The problem comes when fluid and congestion
build up in the lymph nodes in the sides of the neck and throat and cannot be moved or
flushed out of the child’s body. That fluid has to go somewhere, so if the
fluid can’t go back down, then it will frequently back up into the child’s Eustachian tube,
causing fluid pressure on the back of the ear drum. This pressure will cause swelling and irritation—pain—just
like an infection, and if left unaddressed long enough can progress into an infection. The problem, though, is that most pediatricians
are medicating the kids they see before they know whether or not they actually have an
infection. Many of us have gone through this in the past:
We’ve taken our child to the pediatrician because they are obviously in pain, acting
funny, or pulling at their ears, and the doc looked in their ears with the otoscope and
said, “Yep, it’s red. Little Johnny’s got an ear infection. I’ll write you a script for an antibiotic.” Think about that for a minute. How did the doctor know, just from the color
of the tympanic membrane (eardrum), that your child had an infection? He didn’t. The only way to truly diagnose an infection
in the ear is by doing a swab of the ear and culturing the area. Then they can see for sure whether or not
your child actually has an infection. If they don’t do that, the problem more
than likely is fluid buildup behind the eardrum. Or the area may simply be irritated (red,
swollen and/or painful) due to teething, because the ears are close to the gums and mouth and
often react when this area is under stress. Now, of course, if your child is running a
raging fever and the side of his or her face and head are on fire and the ear is oozing
a colorful pus, then yes, you could definitely say she has an infection. But for the majority of children going into
the pediatrician’s office for discomfort, sleep issues, or whatever the parent noticed
lately, the problem isn’t necessarily an infection. The reason for prescribing antibiotics without
a true infection diagnosis is that if your child is having an underlying infection, the
drug will take effect. But the less you have to medicate your child,
the better, and if there’s not an actual infection there are other options. So what do you do if your child is fussy and
having issues with one or both of their ears? Are there things you can do besides medication
to help him or her feel better and help the fluid move out of the Eustachian tube? Absolutely. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends
that the best approach for an ear infection is to “watch and wait.” They don’t even recommend routine antibiotics
for this condition, and say that most heal at the same rate whether you take meds or
simply wait and do nothing. I would like to add to that. Why watch, wait and do nothing, when you can
have your child adjusted by a chiropractor. More on the chiropractic approach in a moment. But for now, this is what you need to know
about natural therapies. Yes their are some amazing natural ways you
can do at home with a bit of lifestyle changes to help ear infections. Some of that is simple, but most of that is
not; especially when you start getting into major dietary changes and pill popping. Now… if there was a cheat sheet you can
do that is so simple you don’t have to do anything but show up. It doesn’t involve popping a pill, no medication,
no drugs, not even remembering to take supplements. It is 100% natural, safe and effective and
was used as a treatment by ancient orientals 7000 years BC in the Ming Dynasty. Most of all, it still works today and is considered
part of primary health care with the right type of doctor and best of all, no toxic chemical
side effects. Are you interested? Of course you are, who wouldn’t be. Now this is not to say that making major lifestyle
changes isn’t recommended, because they are. I just want you to know there is a quick safe
simple way you can do first and then complement it with the other natural therapies after. Here is what you need to do.. First off, Middle ear infection, or otitis
media, is one of the most common childhood afflictions, impacting up to two thirds of
children at least once before the age of 3 and up to 90% before the age of ten.(i) Ear
infections are the number one reason a child visits the emergency room and a pediatrician. The most common treatments for ear infections
are antibiotics and if that doesn’t work, ear tubes. Your pediatrician likely has the best intentions
when they prescribe your child antibiotics or recommends ear ventilation tubes but there
are three major flaws with these recommendations. A simple PubMed or CDC search yields all the
information you need to determine ear infection management is not as black and white as you
have been lead to believe. These are the 3 things your pediatrician likely
did not tell you when recommendations were made in managing your child’s ear infection. 1. Most ear infections are viral. which means
using an antibiotic that kills only bacteria, doesn’t work with a virus. The CDC’s website antibiotic recommendations
page shows the research that the usual cause is a virus and antibiotics are NOT needed. 2. Antibiotics and ear tubes can be dangerous. The literature is clear. Antibiotics in children are linked to asthma(iii),
obesity(iv), overall lowered immune function(v) and adult disease.(vi) Ear tubes do not improve
long term hearing(vii), learning, cognitive, or academic outcomes(viii). Studies show that ear tubes lead to scarring
and have been linked to poorer hearing 6-10 years later.(ix) 3. Antibiotics do not treat the cause of ear
infections which is poor drainage. Using antibiotics, or even tubes, are merely
a band-aid approach. Ear infections are caused by the Eustachian
tube not allowing fluid to properly drain from the middle ear.(x) When the fluid becomes
stagnant it becomes a hotbed for viruses and bacteria. Killing the bugs is not a long term solution. If you are looking for a safe, long term-solution
that addresses the cause of ear infections, pediatric chiropractic is the answer. How does that work you ask? There are 4 muscles that are closely associated
with the Eustachian tube. These muscles help open and close the tube. When these muscles spasm and lose their normal
tone, their function is lost and the ability to open and close the tube is compromised. What would cause these muscles to spasm and
lose function? Improper nerve input. This is caused from upper cervical (neck)
misalignments.(xii) The chiropractic adjustment restores normal
motion and alignment to the spine which, in turn, restores normal nerve function and normal
muscle function to the Eustachian tube which ultimately allows the tube to drain appropriately. 4. Chiropractic Adjustments. Lymph nodes need properly functioning muscles
to contract with your baby’s head movements in order to flush out the fluid and congestion
that pools in the area. When the bones in the top of your baby’s
neck become restricted (due to birth or any other type of physical stressor like crawling,
breast feeding, weird sleeping positions;), the muscles around that area cannot contract
and work correctly. If the muscles don’t contract perfectly,
then the body has a hard time flushing out the fluid in the ear canals. Gentle adjustments to this area help to reduce
spasms and re-establish normal motion to a restricted area, which offers tremendous relief
when your child has too much fluid in his or her ears. Adjustments also boost the immune system and
help the body to function optimally. These gentle adjustments use about the same
amount of pressure it takes to test the ripeness of a tomato. Pediatric chiropractors are especially trained
and because we do so many of these adjustments we become sensory attuned to know where exactly
we need to adjust during our exam of the infant or child; something called palpation. In short, we may be able to lear how to read
braille. But unless you are blind and totally rely
upon braille for communication, you simply never develop the sensory acuity and talent
it takes to read braille like a pro. So it’s the technique, and it’s the art of
the skill you only develop from doing it every day. Again, nearly half of our office is dedicated
to children, including newborns. We have been doing this over a decade, it
is very gentle and very effective and very safe. Best of all, unlike most natural treatments
that require popping a pill, or remebering to apply an oil or completely transforming
your diet. All you need to do, is show up and get an
adjustment so the body can begin to heal naturally. Of course the other natural therapies can
help speed up the healing and for some are needed to complete the process. But we find in our office, having a kiddo
adjusted around 3 to 4 times usually helps to drain the tube and clear up the issue. I’m dr. Matt Hammett reminding you that it is always
a great idea to have your kiddos checked by a family based chiropractor. I hope you enjoyed this video and others like
it, so you can be more engaged in your spinal hygiene for your family and friends. As always, we invite you to become patients
in our practice and if you already are…. Kudos to you and your family, help us spread
our message by becoming fans on our Facebook page and sharing this video with your loved
ones… God bless.

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