While otitis media, otherwise known as painful ear infections, is very rare in adults, three out of four children will experience this painful condition before their third birthday. Can Chiropractic help? Let’s explore this issue a little bit. If you have young children of your own, or other loved ones that fall into the 3 and under age range, learning to identify the causes, symptoms, and treatments of painful ear infections or otitis media can help spare your little one some undue suffering.
What are some causes of painful ear infections?
The primary reason that young children are more prone to painful ear infections is because a child’s immune system is not yet fully developed until about the age of 4, making the child less able to fight off the infection. With this in mind, the main causes of otitis media are:
• Age, with an increased susceptibility between the ages of 6 months and 18 months
• Exposure to other children (and their viruses) in group child care settings
• Laying a baby down to drink bottles rather than sitting the child upright to eat
• Seasonal allergies and viruses, making middle ear infections more common in fall and winter (a.k.a. the cold and flu season)
• Exposure to tobacco smoke and high levels of air pollution
• A family history of otitis media
What are the symptoms of painful ear infections?
When a child is too young to vocally express the pain in their ear, it can be hard to identify an ear infection. Watching for the symptoms below can help alert you to this condition…so you can help your child find relief. Common symptoms include:
• Tugging or pulling at the ears
• Unusual crying or fussiness
• Frequent sleep interruptions or insomnia
• Difficulty hearing (i.e. the child suddenly stops responding to your vocal requests)
• High irritability
• Fever of 100 degrees F or higher
• Clear liquid draining from the ears
Adults who suffer painful ear infections might experience an earache, high fever (100 degrees F or higher), a feeling of dizziness, and even temporary loss of hearing.
When to Seek Help
Parents often fret whenever their children are sick, but middle ear infections aren’t often cause for immediate medical attention.
If your child’s ear starts leaking blood or pus, schedule a visit to the pediatrician, they likely will save yourself a frantic trip to the Emergency Room… this new development is treatable and can actually bring pain relief to your little sufferer.
If symptoms of the ear infection don’t disappear on their own within 1-2 days, or if your child experiences frequent earaches, ask is if our treatment might be helpful
A Proactive Treatment Plan
Acute middle of the night episodes may very well have you and your child in the Emergency Department. Chronic middle ear infections are not only uncomfortable for young children, but recurring infections can, in extreme cases, lead to permanent hearing loss, along with speech and other development problems.
And while traditional treatments involve antibiotic medications, in cases of chronic conditions the child can develop a resistance to the medication, leaving them unable to enjoy the pain relief that prescription medications offer.
There may be an effective complementary treatment for the treatment of painful ear infections A main reason for the often speedy recovery is chiropractic care may help to facilitate draining of fluids in the ear. More studies are needed.
The bottom line is that going easy on antibiotics as a first treatment might assist the development of your child’s natural immune system (and therefore a better barrier to middle ear infections), delivering lasting relief and decreasing the risk of complications.
We can always work with you or your loved one to determine the best treatment for your condition.
Please call us at 781-659-7989 at to schedule a consultation today