Any parent whose child suffers from ear ache, particularly with recurrent bouts of pain, are all too familiar with the distress caused to the child and symptoms of crying, tugging at the affected ear and problems with sleeping.
Children are more likely to get ear ache than adults, because of having Eustachian tubes that are smaller and more horizontally positioned – plus having a less well-developed immune system. However, the most common cause of ear ache, Otitis media, (an infection of the middle ear) which is particularly prevalent in babies and young children between around 6 months and 3 years old, adults are definitely not exempt.
As you can imagine, the smaller and more horizontal Eustachian tubes of small children are less able to drain away the accumulated fluids from the respiratory system away down the throat. Otitis media is most common either during or just after a cold. Ear pain may be accompanied by impaired hearing.
Ear ache can be more prevalent in babies and young children who:
- Were bottle fed and so did not get the boost to their immune systems from their mother’s milk
- Are exposed to more risk of infection (for example children who attend day care centres, nurseries and play groups)
- Were born prematurely
- Are exposed to cigarette smoke
- Are given a bottle when laying down
- Use a dummy
Signs of Ear Infection can include pulling at the ear, a cold with a runny nose and/or high temperature, lack of appetite, irritability, difficulty sleeping and impaired hearing.
What Can be Done for Ear Ache?
Bathurst Chiropractor, Dr Ben Purcell reports that the number of children affected in Australia alone is huge! Figures from Access Economics published on the website BioMed Central suggested that there was an estimated 650,000 cases of Otitis in 2008 with a treatment cost estimated at between A$100 to A$400 million! In the US, around 35% of all Paediatric visits are due to ear infections and ear ache.
Paediatric treatment of recurrent, chronic ear ache may begin with drops and antibiotics but may later involve surgical insertion of tubes to help the Eustachian tubes to drain. While many infections are caused by viruses only those caused by bacteria will respond to antibiotics. With justifiable concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, parents are less keen for their young child to take these medications for repeated bouts of ear ache. In addition, many parents are concerned about putting their child through the invasive procedure of surgery.
Dr Purcell says that the primary role for any Chiropractor is to endeavour to put the body’s systems back into balance. For young patients, evaluation and treatment begins with a check to see whether there is any dysfunction in the spine or cranial bones. Many chiropractors theorise that this results in inadequate drainage from inside the ear, thus preventing the body effectively correcting the problem.
To have your child’s spine and nervous system checked and to discuss your child’s treatment options, call Bathurst Chiropractic now on (02) 6331 1004 for an appointment.