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Treating Childhood Ear Infections

What is an Ear Infection

This article will discuss ways of treating childhood ear infections, but first let look at what is an ear infection. An ear infection or otitis media, is a painful inflammation of the middle ear.  Ear infections often follow a cold.  Bacteria or viruses are usually the cause.  The infection causes inflammation and swelling of the Eustachian tube.  The tube narrows and fluid builds behind the ear drum, causing pressure and pain.  Children have shorter and narrower Eustachian tubes than adults.  Also, their tubes are more horizontal, so it’s easier for them to get blocked. Ear infections are one of the most common health issues babies and young children will experience. Ear infections peak around age 2, but most resolve within a few days.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection


Pulling or batting at the ear ( if your baby has not other symptoms this is an unreliable sign)

Fluid draining from ear

Popping or ringing in ear

Difficulty hearing

Balance problems

Trouble sleeping


Loss of appetite

How Can Chiropractic Adjustments Help With Ear Infections?

Treating childhood ear infections with chiropractic care is safe and non-invasive. Chiropractic adjustments can improve the health of the immune system, which will improve the body’s ability to fight the infection, and by restoring the function of the nervous system, it can assist with the drainage of fluid that may have built up as the result of an infection.  Chiropractic treatment reduces stress related interference to the nervous system.  Chiropractors use very little pressure on babies and children to restore misaligned spinal bones.

Natural Remedies

There are several natural ways of treating childhood ear infections in addition to chiropractic.

Warm Compress:  Try placing a warm (not hot) moist compress over your child’s ear for about 10 minutes.  This may help reduce pain.

Homeopathic eardrops: You can make own or purchase in the natural section of your grocery store or on line.  Ingredients should include-garlic, mullein, calendula.  This may help relieve inflammation.

Keep your child hydrated: swallowing can help open the Eustachian tube so the trapped fluid can drain.

Elevate your child’s mattress: This will help drain Eustachian tube.  Place something “under” the mattress at the top to elevate.

Lavender Oil: Rub lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil around the outside of the ear and down and along the lymph nodes on side of neck.

Gently pull and massage the ear lobes-away from your child’s head and in a slightly downward direction.

Check for Allergies:-an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to certain foods (ie. dairy, wheat), molds, pollens may be the underlying cause of excessive mucus production and subsequent ear infections.

Ear Tubes and Antibiotics

Medical doctors will sometimes recommend ear tubes or antibiotics; however, this is often not the best option.

  • Using antibiotics to treat an ear infection may cause the bacteria responsible for ear infections to become resistant to antibiotics.
  • Taking antibiotics also lessens the body’s natural immune response.
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians recommend holding off on starting antibiotics for 48-72 hours because an infection may clear up on its own.  (Try the above natural remedies first along with chiropractic)
  • Children treated with ear tubes experienced significant damage to their eardrums compared to those treated with antibiotics in a long term study conducted by Dr. Robert Stenstrom of St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
  • Additionally, tubes were connected to poorer hearing 6-10 years after they were removed.