Millions of children every year suffer with otitis media – middle ear infection – and according the WHO it is the leading cause of children’s visits to their doctor AND the most frequent reason for prescribing of antibiotics to children.
So it is a problem.
Could we say its a normal part of childhood? I mean, it is really common!
No, lets not go down that road of – it is common therefore normal…
Part of the issue with this condition is re-occurance and the vulnerability of children to ear infections.
Re-occurance can look like – Child goes into doctor with ear infection, gets antibiotics, see recovery in a short amount of time, but low and behold, one month later the story starts again. So do we keep going with recurrent prescriptions of antibiotics? The antibiotics have side effects for some kids, they are likely to be negatively affecting their developing gut microbiome and on top of that some ear infections are viral in origin. Antibiotics are not going to work in that case. And you can even have a fungal ear infection. When I was young I had a fungal ear infection in one ear and a bacterial in the other! Eep!
Why are kids more vulnerable to ear infection?
Well that means a little bit of an anatomy lesson. You may have heard of your Eustachian tube. This is a tube that connects the middle ear to throat and is an important route of drainage of anything that needs to be expelled from the middle ear. However, in children their Eustachian tubes happen to be significantly smaller than in adults and the tube lies more flatter/horizontal. This means that if there is fluid to be drained it is going to have a harder time draining off. Sometimes the Eustachian tubes can even swell and get blocked by mucus therefore fluid doesn’t drain and that can cause serious problems. Another source of problems can be the adenoids. If the adenoids are enlarged this can block the exit of the tube and be another reason for chronic middle ear infections.
So you can see from the anatomy of the ear and all the other body parts why re-occurance could happen. In addition, why repeated prescriptions of antibiotics may not be resolving the issue (that is IF the infection is bacterial)…
So what can we as parents/guardians (or grandparents) do for our kids?
A bodyworker like myself will look at the area around the ear. The anatomy around the middle ear and the Eustachian tube. Checking to see if there are any patterns of tension in the upper neck, in the jaw and the cranium. If there are aberrant patterns of tension this may be contributing to less than ideal drainage of the infection. So, very simply, I am not poking around inside the ear or changing anything there, but simply supporting the ideal sweet spot of the architecture of the area the ear sits in.
What will care for my child look like?
Before commencing any care, we must firstly go through a thorough consultation. This involves taking this history of the issue and then physical examination. Following this I will know if care with myself is suitable for your child. If care is suitable it is very gentle in nature. Overall, my care style is gentle however in children the adage “less is more” is even more significant. It takes very little to see huge changes in kids. For the smaller children they may dislike anyone touching the area around their ear, which is understandable. Working on building trust is important. And no care will be coerced if your child is unhappy.
So if you are thinking the hands-on approach may be right for your child and their recurrent ear infection please do get in contact. I am very happy to have a chat prior to attending too.
Finally, please remember that acute ear infection will typically resolve in 2/3 days. However, sometimes an ear infection can become more serious and need the attention of your doctor. Pop over here to read the red flags in ear infections.
Natural Back Health is a private professional service providing gentle, low force and safe therapy to bring about healing and relief. I have a whole health and body philosophy to my treatments. My plan of care – if suitable – includes tailored advice on stress management, nutrition, exercise, sleep and in-house gentle manual therapy.
If you have any further questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact the clinic on 087 181 5007 or here.
This is a short introduction to middle ear infections in children. Hopefully you find the general information on this page informative and helpful, however it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.