Ear infections are among the most frequent reason for early childhood visits to the doctor. In fact, five out of six children have at least one ear infection by the age of three, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). These infections occur in the small pocket of air behind the eardrum, that can fill up with fluid or pus. This buildup can cause extreme pain. There are many reasons that can cause fluid and pus to accumulate in the middle ear. Among the most common causes is early childhood trauma to the head, either during the birth process or as the result of childhood injuries. Allergies and exposure to smoke or pollution can cause congestion of the ears and sinuses and predispose a person to ear infections.
To ascertain whether there is an ear infection, a pediatrician must examine the inside of the child’s ear with a special instrument called a pneumatic otoscope. However, there are many signs that parents recognize as likely indicators of an ear infection. These include:
For years, conventional medicine has treated childhood ear infections with the use of antibiotics. As a result of such overuse, ear infections are becoming antibiotic-resistant. Exposure to antibiotics can disrupt the gut biome, the normal bacterial balance in the gut. This can permanently affect the digestive system, the whole immune system, and lead to later complications such as obesity.
Osteopathic practitioners have long advocated treating ear infections by correcting the underlying structural restrictions of the ear. These are responsible for fluid accumulation in the first place. To correct structural restrictions in the ear, osteopathic doctors uses various manipulation techniques. Though the pain is in the ear, osteopathic medicine recognizes the connection between all areas of the body. For that reason, remedying an ear infection may entail manipulation of the head, upper ribs, sacrum and cervical and thoracic spine. In addition, they may recommend functional medicine intervention to support the immune system naturally, removing environmental triggers and repairing the gut biome.
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