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Ear Infections: What Causes Them and What to Do About Them

Chances are if you have littles at home you have struggled at one point or another with your kiddos ears. Ear infections are the number one cause of a visit to the pediatrician, and 75% of kiddos will develop an ear infection before age 3. So if you are anything like me that makes you question why kiddos struggle so much with these.

The long standing answer that pediatricians and ENTs have used if that kids eustachian tubes are horizontal instead of angled down like in adults. That answer never set well with me, because I know that God has mMiranda_s Branding Shoot -179 (2)ade us all perfectly. So why on earth would he create a defect in kiddos that sets them up for pain, sickness, and at many times surgeries? This is where my knowledge of anatomy and chiropractic comes into play.

You have this sweet muscle called the tensor veli palatini (look up how to pronounce it, because it’s a super fun word to say) that runs from the very top bones in the spine to the ears. Movement of the neck moves these bones and the muscles that are attached causing a milking type motion in the eustachian tubes that drains the ears. Then the nerves that travel through holes in the top part of the spine also tell the tensor veli palatini and levator veli palatini (the muscles of the eustachian tube) how to move. Additionally, the movement of the neck also milks the lymphatic pathways that cause drainage in the head and neck areas. If all of this works perfectly as your neck moves the tensor veli palatini and levator veli palatini move in the ear allowing the eustachian tube to drain. Now that fluid travels down your lymphatic pathways, and the movement of muscles in the neck allows lymphatic drainage so your body can get it out of the system. 

Here’s the thing, studies have shown that over 90% of kiddos that are checked within an hour of birth have a subluxation (that thing chiropractors work on all the time) in the very top part of their neck. So now what happens in this system. This subluxation has multiple components, but the main two are a lack of motion in the spine and hindrance in the ability for the nerves to carry messages from the brain to the body. So now you have a kiddo that doesn’t have the same ability to move his neck fully so those muscles aren’t milking the eustachian tube effectively, then the muscles aren’Miranda_s Branding Shoot -116 (2)t getting messages from the brain telling them how to drain the eustachian tube, and any drainage out of the ear can’t leave the system because the muscles are tight in the neck and now not draining the lymphatic pathways. So you guessed it, that fluid stays trapped in the ear. Now if you have ever been to a body of water that doesn’t get much water flow you know that standing water gets gross and murky. The same thing happens within a child’s ear if that fluid can’t drain and just sits there. Also, it is worth sharing that the nerves that leave the spine through this exact area are in charge of orchestrating a majority of the immune system, so kids now have lowered immune function and are more prone to ear infections.

So how does chiropractic come into play? If your kiddo is subluxated in the very top part of the neck, gentle adjustments to remove the subluxation will restore movement to the neck muscles, remove interference to the communication of the brain to the muscles, and reduce muscle tightness to the neck. In addition to all that studies have shown that adjustments boost the immune system by 200-400%. These four changes that the adjustment makes now allows kids ears to finally drain, and gives the body the ability to heal the ears on its own! It is so amazing how smart the body is, and what it can do if you restore proper function. 

So I know your next question, “what are some things I can look for at home to see if my child’s ear culprit is a subluxation?” Some clues include that babies will prefer to nurse or drink from a bottle on one side versus the other, excessive crying or colic, a difference in being able to turn their head to one side versus another, you can notice in pictures their head is always tilted towards one side, their neck seems tight especially on one side versus another, or they deal with chronic infections. If any of these described your child I highly recommend finding a pediatric chiropractor to check your child and get your questions answered. If you need help finding one please reach out to me, and I would love to assist you on your search.

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