Ear Infection Options
Almost everyone has a child or knows someone with a child that has suffered from an ear infection. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly 80% of children in the United States will have suffered from an ear infection by the time they are four years old. Their high rate of occurrence has led many parents to believe the misconception that they are a normal part of the growing process.
Ear infections are often accompanied by a significant amount of pain, loss of sleep and appetite, vomiting, difficulty hearing, and a fever. These troublesome symptoms often leave parents feeling that they have no other choice but to rush their children to see their family pediatrician. In fact, the number one cause for hospital admissions of pediatric patients is ear infections. Unfortunately, one of the most effective, preventative, and least invasive forms of treatment is often overlooked. We hope this article is helpful for you today.
Ear Infections in Austin
It has become almost impossible to escape the pediatrician’s office without an antibiotic prescription or traditional treatments for an ear infection. While antibiotics have been shown to be effective for ear infections caused by bacteria, they are relatively useless against the proportion caused by viruses. Doctors and researchers have concluded that approximately 60% of ear infections are bacterial and 40% are viral. In essence, doctors have about a 50/50 chance of properly treating the condition through antibiotics.
The only way to accurately conclude which organism the ear infection is caused by is to take a sample of the fluid in the middle ear with a needle, which gratefully most doctors don’t perform. Due to the difficulty of achieving a proper diagnosis, multiple studies have shown that as much as 8% of all hospital admissions for earaches are inaccurately diagnosed and as a result children are prescribed an antibiotic for a healthy ear. The most frightening statistic may be that pediatricians prescribe antibiotics almost 85% of the time, even for minor ear aches. Unfortunately, it has been shown that often ear infections last longer in children taking unneeded antibiotics, and that the children often experience more severe symptoms. Additionally, many research studies have shown an increased incidence of asthma and allergy development in children taking antibiotics early in life.
Another common treatment for chronic ear infections, is the insertion of “ear tubes”. Ear tubes, also known as tympanostomy tubes, have become the most common surgical operation performed on children with nearly 700,000 performed each year. Again, research and studies have shown that a large proportion of these procedures are done so unnecessarily. In one study of 6000 pediatric patients, it was found that 23% of the surgeries were done so unnecessarily, 42% were appropriate, and 35% of cases were performed equivocally (meaning there was uncertainty whether the procedure would help or not). Traditionally, ear tubes were inserted due to fear of delayed development in children who suffered problems with hearing due to chronic ear infections. However, the latest and unprecedented research has shown that the insertion of ear tubes before the age of four has had no impact on childhood development. With little proven effectiveness of tympanostomy tubes, a parent must weigh the positives and negatives of such a procedure. For tympanostomy tubes to be inserted, the child must be placed under anesthesia. While anesthesia can be dangerous for adults, it is even more dangerous for children.
The Real Cause of Ear Infections
So what is the real cause of ear infections? As with any structure in the body, whether it be the heart, lung, or even the inner ear, the primary control center is the brain which uses the spinal cord to communicate with these structures. Any interference with this communication, such as a vertebrae in your back out of place, can compromise your child’s ability to protect itself from infections. It has also been found that this pattern of interference often causes the muscles of the neck and back to tighten, which decreases the ability of the body to properly drain infected fluids. One of these structures is often the Eustachian tube which drains fluid from the inner ear. When drainage of the inner ear is blocked, these fluids accumulate in the ear, leading to recurrent infections. While the other previously mentioned treatments can sometimes provide relief of the symptoms, they never truly address the cause of them, leading to a childhood prescription of unnecessary drugs and surgeries.
With all of the uncertainty and negative side effects of the treatment methods described above, it is important to begin your child’s care with a more conservative approach. Since the belief of chiropractors is to address all aspects of health, it is important to have your child evaluated by our team, especially if they are suffering from bouts of ear infections. At our clinic, not only will our doctors perform a thorough ear examination, but they will also evaluate your child’s spine for any signs of nerve interference. If detected, our doctors will gently remove the source of the interference with a gentle and specific adjustment. Through the restoration of the nervous system, your child’s body will not only be better equipped to fight off ear infections, but also develop properly. If you have any questions, please contact us today.