Ear infections: a natural approach to treating them
More and more children are being diagnosed with ear infections. The sources of ear infections are either bacteria or viruses. Between the two, viruses are more common. This is the reason why most ear infections don’t respond to antibiotics and result in several unsuccessful rounds of antibiotics. This unfortunate cycle of ongoing ear infections generally lead to ear tubes for those children.
The Eustachian tube (ear canal) in children is not slanted down like adults. Their canals are generally horizontal, meaning your baby does not have the help of gravity to allow fluid to drain out of the ears, into the throat, and out of their body. The main problem with ear infections is when they become chronic. Chronic ear infections have the ability to create scarring in the ear canal, disrupting the proper development of the ear. In other words, if your baby’s ear canal can’t drain fluids efficiently the probability of an infection increases.
As I chiropractor, it frustrates me to see parents feeling helpless when chronic ear infections plague their children. I treat this problem daily, and I have found different harmless treatments that can help. For this reason, I am sharing natural approaches and recommendations. Keep in mind that these are not medical treatments and in no way should replace the medications your child’s pediatrician has prescribed.
Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be very effective in the treatment of ear infections. Your baby’s upper neck area contains the most important structures that control their function and development. Specifically the atlas bone, or the first vertebra below your skull, is an important region that allows the drainage of fluids from the ear canal. This misalignment of the atlas commonly occurs when your child’s neck becomes restricted (due to birth or other types of physical stressors). The resulting misalignment results in limited drainage of the lymph nodes, which may lead to ear infections.
Research shows that plants have medicinal properties and essential oils are not the exception. Oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, oregano, chamomile, and thyme are beneficial in the treatment of ear infections. Benefits include powerful antiseptic properties – essential oils have been used for hundreds of years for the natural treatments of wounds and infections.
I recommend massaging behind the ear and the face/jaw/neck region with diluted essential oils to help with circulation and drainage. The massage should be done in a downward direction, behind the ear on the neck, and inward direction in front of the ear towards the cheek.
Note: Always dilute your essential oils in any carrier oils such as coconut oil, castor oil, or almond oil. Non-diluted essential oils may irritate your baby’s skin. Prior to using essential oils on your children, make sure they have reached the age where they can use them.
Next time your baby is pulling on their ears, try any of these natural approaches. I’m a firm believer that our body has the capacity of self-healing and the bodies of children are not an exception. Babies are in constant development, and these challenges allow them to become strong. If you want to learn more about how chiropractic care can help with ear infections and many other issues, give us a call!
Yours in health,
Dr. Adriana Huertas