Ear infections are the number one reason that parents bring their child into a pediatrician’s office. With more than 85% of children developing an ear infection before the age of 2 years old, ear infections are a very common pediatric childhood condition. However, just because they are common to see in today’s society, does NOT make ear infections normal to have! Just like any other symptoms, ear infections are a sign that something in the body is not working properly.
What Causes Ear Infections?
Ear infections are caused by stagnant fluid in the ear that is not able to drain properly. The tensor veli palatini is a muscle that surrounds the Eustachian tube and is responsible for milking fluid out of the ear. However, if the tensor veli palatini muscle spasms, the Eustachian tube closes and fluid is unable to drain from the ear.
What Causes the Tensor Veli Palatini to Spasm?
The nerve supply from the tensor veli palatini muscle comes from the top vertebra in the neck (atlas or C1). The Atlas is often misaligned after a stressful birth process, forceps delivery, vacuum extraction, or caesarian section. The misalignment (subluxation) places stress onto the nerve that innervates the tensor veli palatini, which causes the muscle to spasm and prevents fluid from draining out of the ear.
Traditional Medical Options to Treat Ear Infections
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians do nothing when a child has an ear infection. However, many pediatricians prescribe multiple rounds of antibiotics to treat the infection. Not only does this not help the viral ear infection, but it also lowers your child’s immune system to make your son or daughter much more susceptible to developing future ear infections.
When children have suffered with chronic ear infections, many pediatricians will recommend a trip to see the ENT doctor. The ENT will traditionally recommend ear tube surgery where they drill a hole through the Eustachian tube so that the ear temporarily drains. However, if the vertebral misalignment is still present, the tensor veli palatini muscle will still be in spasm, and will ultimately force the artificial tube out after several months. At this point, the child will likely develop chronic ear infections again, and may under-go another ear tube surgery.
The problem is that these traditional medical options are not addressing the root cause of WHY these ear infections are happening. The ear infections are caused because the tensor veli palatini muscle is not able to FUNCTION properly. In order to get this muscle working properly, we have to correct the misalignment (subluxation) in the neck so that the muscle can have proper nerve supply and milk the fluid out of the ear.
Chiropractic and Ear infections
Chiropractic adjustments correct any misalignments in the spine. When the spine, that houses these nerves, is in the correct alignment, the nerves are able to function properly. This allows all muscles, including the tensor veli palatini, the ability to function optimally!
Pediatric chiropractic care is a safe, gentle, and natural solution to help resolve ear infections without the use of drugs or surgery. If your child suffers from ear infections, please contact our office to see how we can help!