By Dr. Andrea Wick
EBS Health Columnist

Ear infections, or otitis media, are a common childhood illness caused by bacteria or a virus in the middle ear. Consequently fluid builds up, causing pain and inflammation. According to the National Institute of Health, five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Common signs of an ear infection include tugging or pulling the ear, fussiness and persistent crying, fever, trouble hearing, loss of balance, and headache.

There are different ways to treat an ear infection. One avenue is allopathically with medicine or drugs; another is taking the wait-and-watch approach. There are a few different options to consider when it comes to holistically or naturally treating an ear infection.

Supporting the body with doses of vitamin C and a children’s dose of echinacea is always helpful in supporting the immune system. Also, one-to-two drops of tea tree oil in 20 drops of warm olive oil can be placed into the ear from a 1-milliliter dropper bottler.

Chiropractic care is also an option. In a 1996 study by the Journal of Manipulative Physical Therapy, 46 children under the age of 5 received chiropractic adjustments to treat the symptoms of ear infections. Ninety-three percent of all cases improved in 10 days or less; 43 percent improved within two treatments or less.

Chiropractors know the body is innately intelligent and has the ability to heal itself. The question within chiropractic is figuring out what is causing the symptoms and treating the specific cause.

The muscles of the eustachian tubes are controlled by the upper cervical vertebrae in the neck, C1-C4. Vertebral misalignments at these levels can cause spastic tight muscles, compromising the eustachian tubes and preventing drainage. Very precise, gentle adjustments to the spine helps the musculature relax, thus allowing the ears to drain naturally. Chiropractic treatment also boosts the immune system and helps prevent further infection.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit drandreawick.com to learn more.