"Timmy's got an ear infection...again. :( "
We've all seen the posts or heard our friends and family members say this phrase about their child at some point. Ear infections are one of the most common childhood illnesses in the world. Dr. Hardick explains that "if every child on the planet were under chiropractic care, ear infections wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is today" (1). That's a pretty bold statement, huh?
Hear me out...
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health's website, more than 1/3 of American's practice some form of complementary health approach.
When going through nursing school, I always remember hearing the phrase, "least invasive to most invasive." This means when a patient reports their back is hurting due to laying down for prolonged periods of time due to immobility, that one should reposition first, assess, then move on to an ice and/or heat pack. If these were still not effective, we then would proceed to give pain medication to help their discomfort.
I wish I could say I had been diligent about going this route when caring for my patients, but due to patient overload and the fast paced scenarios we are placed in at a hospital setting, we choose the fastest way to help ease a patient's pain.
I'm going to be truthful with you all about two things, that I'm not proud to admit:
1. I was the FIRST person to take a medication for a symptom (headache, pain, indigestion, insomnia, etc.) instead of finding out what was causing my problem.
"Did I have a headache because I've been staring at a screen too long, stress, bad posture? Was the indigestion from that Italian food I just ate (more than likely, yes)? Could I not sleep because I was possibly surfing on my phone for the past hour and my brain couldn't shut down? "
All of these things I could do better about fixing, BEFORE I take the medication. BEFORE I have possible side effects from medications.
2. I didn't believe in complementary and alternative methods before. I thought it was a fluke Shhh...don't tell my husband ;)
"How could someone put some essential oils on their neck and feel relaxed and sleep better? How could a simple chiropractic adjustment help my stomach? It's not even associated with my spine!"
But it IS...and there are a number of things that your spinal health effects. Simple anatomy shows your spinal column protecting something very important-your nervous system. The brain is attached to the spinal cord which drops down the middle of all of those bones, and in between each of them nerves branch out. Those nerves then run to every single cell tissue and organ in the body, which in turn affects the functioning of all those organs.
Back to the statement about the spine and your nerves- there are a multitude of things chiropractic care can help children with. The main one I'm discussing today is regarding ear infections.
When a child starts tugging at their ears, becomes cranky and even possibly have a fever-one's first instinct would be to take them into the doctor. Usually the first course of action taken in the doctor's office is assess the ears and the child, and determine to wait it out or to prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection. In some cases of recurrent otitis media (AKA ear infections), some pediatricians recommend tube placements.
According to a recent survey of 796 health care professionals, it concluded that 63% of the health care professionals prescribed antibiotics when they weren't absolutely necessary. It was also reported that it was usually because the patient requested it.
In a study done that added chiropractic care in the treatment of ear infections, it showed that it could decrease the symptoms of ear infection in young children by up to 93%.
93%! It also stated that 75% of cases showed improvement in 10 days or fewer, and 43% of cases showed improvement with only one or two treatments (source).
Which brings me to a question that I'm often asked, "Is chiropractic care safe for children...."
When pregnant with Noah, I was on board with chiropractic care of course, but I had never actually witnessed the care in children that often. We had our nephew over one night, and he had been crying due to constipation every time he would try and go to the restroom. My husband had him hop on the adjusting table and pressed on his back lightly until the subluxation was realigned. It was harmless, no crying or tears shed-and best part of all? He went to the bathroom not 15 minutes after that adjustment.
This was when I was awestruck.
After the birth of our first son Noah, he was immediately handed to me and just as quickly taken away when they said he was in respiratory distress. As the nurses left the room to go get the Doctor, my husband went over to check him for subluxations that could have occurred during the delivery process. He said he felt "something" in his upper neck, again gave a slight and sustained pressure and like a miracle, Noah calmed down and stopped crying. When the nurses came back in the room, they asked what had happened because he was no longer in distress. They even joked and called him a "baby whisperer" and that he needed to check all the babies when they were delivered. I laughed at the time, but in reality I truly feel that all infants should be checked immediately after birth. But that's a whole another post! ;)
Many skeptics (like I was, sadly) before seeing and feeling the changes of chiropractic care in their life, would get an adjustment and not feel the immediate relief I wanted and would discontinue going back. But to see this work in a child, who has no concept of a placebo and if it really does work or not, is truly amazing.
When it comes to our children, we all our protective and seem to judge other parent's actions on how they choose to take care of their own. This post is not intended to do this by any means, and is not meaning to discredit any medical care that is warranted or necessary. I do believe there is a reason for medications, surgeries and treatments under certain circumstances.
I also believe that if we want to live our healthiest that we have to start living "least invasive to most invasive."
I hope this shed some light on how complementary and alternative medicine like chiropractic care can help not only you, but especially your little one(s).