Friday, January 11, 2013

Colic - Teething - Ear Infection Triad in Infants

 A classic scenario, a parent notices their infant has started having trouble sleeping.  She is waking often at night and crying more during the day and night.    She may begin chewing on EVERYTHING!  Later she is pulling on her ears frequently.  No matter what the parent does to console this baby, nothing helps this otherwise healthy, possibly even exclusively, breastfed little girl.  Attempts at more frequent nursing, teething remedies, and extra cuddles may help here or there, but aren’t making a significant difference.  We see this scenario over and over again.  It is very difficult on the parents, they are frustrated they can’t help their baby, they are over tired and don’t know what else they can do.

Photo from Sydney Ear Nose & Throat Clinic
I frequently see this combination occurring together, what I call colic, teething, ear infection (otitis media) Triad.  These three all have something in common, and that is a subluxation or fixation in the upper cervical spine.  When a fixation exists it causes inflammation.  Couple this with the inflammation that occurs in the head/neck region from the coming tooth eruption you now have an uncomfortable, inflamed little one.  This inflammation makes it difficult for sinus to drain normally.  The little one can easily begin to develop a runny nose or sinus congestion.  Now, take into consideration that in infants and children the eustachian tubes are horizontal and run slightly uphill, unlike adults which run downhill.  This factor already makes it a challenge for tubes to drain and explains why children are more prone to ear infections than adults.  As children grow older, their eustachian tubes will eventually be positioned down hill and this won’t be a factor.  You can see how the inflammation along with the growing congestion and positioning of the eustachian tubes can cause this uncomfortable, inflamed, teething little girl to develop an ear infection.  The fluid isn’t draining properly and becomes stagnant and  an infection may follow.  What we commonly see is that it is not initially recognized by the parents or the pediatrician that a subluxation of the neck exists so the standard treatment is given, a round of antibiotics.  Weather it’s the antibiotics or just time, the ear infection may eventually resolve only to return again soon after.  This can happen again and again.  Before you know it ear tubes are being suggested for this precious young one.  And to think, all of this could have been prevented.  The problem is many parent’s aren’t aware that a subluxation can result in this scenario.  Many pediatricians either aren’t aware of this or are not open to considering chiropractic as a possible solution to this cascade.  Fortunately for those of you who are reading this, you are gaining valuable information to help your child or to share with your friends and family with little one’s who may be suffering from this triad.  If the subluxation is found and corrected, the inflammation is reduced, the sinuses can drain appropriately and the little one is now more comfortable, sleeping better and ear infection averted.  

Happy drooling teether
The existence of a subluxation also explains why the typical teething remedies, breastfeeding and consoling by the parent did not take care of the problem.  It’s not to say those aren’t helpful because they probably were but they were not fixing the root cause of this triad.

So please, parents, when your child starts to give you signals such as difficulty sleeping, colic, chewing on everything, runny nose, and pulling on ears, be empowered by the knowledge you have gained, you are their care provider, they are counting on you.  These signs are their communication.  Take your little one to your chiropractor.  It is a simple, gentle, non-invasive and completely safe treatment method to treat the root cause, the spinal fixation, so that her body can do what it innately knows how to do.  You will save her from unnecessary antibiotics, from tubes with potential devastating consequences (we know children who have experienced hearing loss from tubes).  She will be so grateful and you will be too when you see that precious little one feel better, sleep better and you will in turn sleep better too.  We are so thankful to have learned this information before having children and our children have benefited.  We hope your family will benefit too!

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