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Why Does My Child Keep Getting Ear Infections?

Latest research has shown that up to 95% of kids will have at least one ear infection before the age of 3. That in an of itself is a staggering number, but for a lot of kids it unfortunately doesn’t just stop after one, but turns into multiple bouts of them. 

Ear infections are so incredibly common, half of visits to a pediatrician are typically ear infection and respiratory related.  However, just because they are common, does not mean they are normal. If your kiddo is struggling with this, it's time we meet!

Instead of working backwards to just find better treatments for ear infections, pediatric chiropractors work on sorting out the underlying cause(s) and focus their care and attention there. With that approach, we start with two key questions: 

First, why is the occurrence of ear infections so high? And second, why is the reoccurrence so high as well?  

The explanation so many families get is that the Eustachian tubes that allow the ears to drain, are supposedly more horizontal earlier in a child’s life, and that some kids this is 'especially' the case. Then as they age they start to develop more of a down angle, and this change aids in allowing the ears to drain more efficiently. 

While that anatomy can be part of the puzzle, the full picture of the underlying problem is far from just that.  The Eustachian tubes don't actually rely that much on gravity (direction) to drain, but instead primarily do so with the help of muscles that move and guide the fluid down and out of the ears. 

If these muscles are then interfered with and not functioning (moving) properly, the drainage of the ear begins to get clogged and held up. The longer that fluid sits around in the ear, the more the pressure and likelihood of opportunistic infections builds.

There are two things that we will look at that that can make a child more susceptible to ear infections:

  1. Physical stress and tension on the upper part of the neck and base of the skull, surrounding the ears. This is the area of the spine that affects the nerves that support the muscles in and around the Eustachian tubes, including the most important one known as the TVP muscle.  When those nerves are affected it prevents proper drainage of the Eustachian tubes from taking place, because nerve function determines motor and muscle function. You can't have one without the other. 
  2. Poor nutrition and toxins in the environment, leading to an increase in inflammation. As their body’s inflammation levels increase, the body reacts by increasing the amount of fluid and mucus in the body to combat it. This then builds up and can "back up" into the ears and respiratory system. 

As the body experiences increased stress, whether it be physical stress or toxic stress, it hits a point where it doesn’t function as efficiently and effectively as it should. It gets stuck in a malfunctioning state, allowing the fluid to literally get stuck in the ears, the child is then stuck in a state of chronic, repetitive illness and ear infections. 

In chiropractic we call that combination of stress build up and decreased nerve function, a subluxation

We explain subluxation as having three parts – misalignment, fixation (“stuck”), and nerve interference/irritation. All three of those components are at play in this situation.

When there is physical trauma to the neck in-utero, during birth, or from a fall early in life it creates that “kink” in close proximity to the “drain pipes” coming from the ears, sinuses, and head. Specifically, the top two vertebrae share a lot of nerve supply, muscles, and structures with the inner ear and sinuses. 

When those "kinks" (subluxation) are in that region specifically, it affects movement, and movement of those muscles in the Eustachian tube which prevents proper drainage. 

Subluxation = poor movement, poor drainage. 

Still there's more... to top it all off, we also know that subluxation leads to an overactive and sustained triggering of what's call the sympathetic or "stress" side of the nervous system. Since the nervous system also controls and modulates the immune system, it leaves it in a pro-inflammatory state.

Therefore the challenges with #2 are magnified when a child is subluxated, and their immune system won't be able to properly handle normal childhood occurrences like colds and teething, and is more likely to overreach to certain foods and environment triggers. 

My child is struggling, how do I help?

In our office, we address the root cause of the problem, so the child can drain and properly heal if suffering… or even better, never get them in the first place. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Have your child checked by a trained Pediatric Chiropractor to see if there is subluxation (misalignment, fixation, altered neurological function) in the regions mentioned above, causing poor drainage and altered neuro-immune function.

(If you are not local to our office, check out to find a trained doctor in your area.)

2. Clean up their diet, especially limiting or removing dairy products, preservatives and other chemicals, and refined sugars.



Parents deserve to know about other options

Chronic ear infections. Pneumonia over and over again. Constant fluid in his sinuses + ears + lungs. Mild to moderate hearing loss. 

6 different antibiotics in 5 months. Breathing treatments and nebulizers. ER visits regularly. ENT visits that strongly recommended ear tubes and tonsil/adenoid removal. 

A mom that literally knew NO different. She didn’t know what else to do. She hated the idea of surgery but just wanted her child to be what every parent hopes for: healthy and happy. Developmentally, she knew his letters and sounds and words were delayed because of the hearing loss. Physically, she knew he was constantly miserable. Emotionally, she knew he was a wreck because he just wanted to feel better. 

A pediatrician that was willing to recommend a different approach. Another way. “Try PWC Chiropractic” she told mom.

Mom came but was weary. “I’ve never heard of this before...why would it work? Someone would have told me earlier.” 

With her arms up, ready to pull her hair out, she brought him. A double ear infection (one bulging ear drum on the verge of bursting) after being off of his previous round of antibiotics for 4 DAYS left her willing to try anything. 

That was the last time this little guy was on antibiotics. Never again has he needed one round. Never again did he need an ER visit or an ENT referral. Never again did he need a hearing test (because it’s been fully regained!). Never again did mom have to worry about his physical, emotional, or developmental well being. He is HAPPY. He is HEALTHY. 

Mom desperately wanted to share his story in a big way. She longs for everyone to know what she now knows. That there IS a different way! Parents, you all deserve to know. ❤️ To learn more, join us for an upcoming event!


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