One of the most common pediatric complaints is ear infection. While it used to be standard procedure to prescribe antibiotics for ear aches, nowadays pediatricians are taking a watch-and-wait approach. The reasons for this are two fold: one, evidence gathered from medical literature now indicates that most cases of ear pain will resolve on their own. And two, antibiotics are largely ineffective at treating the infection long term, because viruses—and not bacteria—are mainly responsible for causing the symptoms.
That’s not to suggest you stand idly by while your child suffers. Following are three alternatives to explore at the onset of an ear ache, which will hopefully eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals altogether.
Essential Oils for Pain Relief
It’s important to source the highest quality, organic essential oils for use in healing tonics. To reduce ear pain, simply take 1-2 drops of tea tree oil and mix it in a base of 20 drops of olive or coconut oil. Tea tree is potent, so undiluted, it can sting the skin. Gently warm the oil mixture and place several drops of this mixture into the affected ear canal. Use several times a day, as needed, to relieve discomfort. This same tea tree oil combo can be an effective antidote for congestion, one of the main contributors to ear canal inflammation. Simply massage it onto the front of your child’s chest, below the collarbones. Be sure to rub behind the affected ear(s) and down the sides of the neck as well. This will help facilitate the drainage of lymph fluid from the head into the chest.
Changing the Diet for Reducing Congestion
Young children’s digestive systems are still under construction. Often the foods our kids eat weaken and put undue stress on their developing systems without us realizing. In these instances, food is incompletely broken down, and the inability to utilize the nourishment effectively leads to inflammation and the production of mucus.
The foods most likely to increase mucus production are dairy, soy (especially processed soy), commercial formulas, wheat products, and processed, refined, and fried foods. Reducing or eliminating these foods from a child’s diet will often quiet the inflammation and prevent further ear problems. Limiting meals to just a few food choices at a time and controlling portions will also help to manage symptoms.
Chiropractic Care for Restoring Normal Immune Function
A studypublished in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicates that there is a strong link between chiropractic adjustments and fewer ear aches. 332 children with chronic ear infections were given a series of chiropractic adjustments. Nearly 80% of them did not experience another infection within the six-month period following their treatments.
A chiropractic adjustment is not meant to be a treatment of a condition or disease; instead, chiropractors focus on ensuring the nervous system is functioning optimally. This is important because all the other body systems depend on it. If you think of the nervous system as a garden hose, and kinks in the hose are places where nerve flow is impeded, your chiropractor is using gentle spinal adjustments to reinstate a healthy flow, just as if she was unraveling the kinks in the hose.
If your child has an ear ache, a visit to our office should improve your child’s ability to function right away. Afterwards, when all systems are “go” and her immune response has improved, your child will be better able to fight off infection naturally. Not all chiropractors are created equal, however. Be sure you see someone certified to do adjustments on children. I specialize in Pediatric Chiropractic and have seen the ear ache relief and mood improvement my adjustments can bring to your child. I’ll also suggest exercises to help maintain the correction I make and offer suggestions for reducing nerve system stress for your child.
With good clinical follow-up, the watch and wait approach has allowed many children to heal from ear aches without the use of pharmaceuticals. Employ the strategies above and help your little one find relief quickly and safely, in a way that puts your mind at ease.