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Chiropractic Care for Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Published Date: 
November 13, 2023
Toddler in pain holding his ear because of an ear infection.

Chiropractic treatments are one of the best options available for treating Eustachian tube dysfunction. This includes problems common in childhood and can lead to chronic ear infections.

Chiropractors treat Eustachian tube dysfunction with spinal adjustment and reducing tube swelling. This allows the middle ear to drain properly, relieving pressure and pain and unblocking the Eustachian tubes.

Chiropractic care begins with an assessment of the ear to determine if there are any mechanical issues or other contributing factors causing ear infections. Once the cause of the problem is determined, the chiropractor creates a treatment plan based on the patient's needs.

How Chiropractors Treat Stuffy Ears & Ear Infections

The following are techniques chiropractors use to treat patients with stuffy ears and ear infections:

Cranial Sacral Technique

The cranial sacral technique promotes draining of the sinuses and Eustachian tubes. The sinuses are located on our face around your nose, eyes, and cheeks. When they’re inflamed, it’s difficult for fluid to drain. Poor ear drainage leads to sinus pain, pressure, and stuffiness. If it remains undrained for long enough, an infection can develop. The cranial sacral technique promotes sinus drainage and allows for easier breathing.

Doctor examining child's ear with an otoscope.

The Muncie Technique

The Muncie technique reduces muscle and fascia adhesions around the ear tube. This promotes proper drainage. The technique is performed inside the patient’s mouth. The treatment is mild to moderately uncomfortable but immediately offers relief of pressure and pain.

Ear Adjustments

Chiropractors perform ear adjustments by using high-velocity, low-force manipulation of the ear. There’s usually a pop, followed by relief of congestion. Some patients state they experience a bad taste in their mouth, and some can hear the fluid move through their ears.

Upper Cervical Adjustments

Upper cervical adjustments target the upper back and neck. Like all chiropractic adjustments, an ear adjustment reduces inflammation, pain, and dysfunction.

Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment for Ear Infections

Using chiropractic treatment to deal with ear infections offers a variety of benefits, including:

Young girl with an earache.

1. Relieves Pressure and Blockage in the Eustachian Tube

The cause of pain and discomfort when someone has an ear infection is a blockage that allows fluid to build up. Chiropractors use adjustments and manual manipulation to relieve this blockage and let fluid flow through the Eustachian tubes properly.

2. Reduces Pain & Inflammation

In general, chiropractic care reduces inflammation and alleviates pain. It’s a gentle, non-invasive treatment approach that makes illness less uncomfortable. Even if additional medications or treatments are needed to cure the infection, chiropractic care can be used in conjunction with other treatments to make the patient more comfortable as their body heals.

3. Improves Immune Function & Overall Wellness

Chiropractic treatment is a whole-body approach.  You might seek treatment for a specific area – the ears – but experience relief and improved health throughout your entire body.

Treatments target the root cause of the problem and attempt to correct that cause. It isn’t an attempt to mask symptoms. Instead, the goal is to support your body’s natural healing tendency.

Chiropractic care is also preventative. By improving the overall immune function of your body, you reduce your risk of future illnesses. In some cases, surgery, including the insertion of ear tubes, is prevented by chiropractic treatments.

4. Non-Invasive Drug Free Treatment

Chiropractic care offers an alternative to prescription and over-the-counter medications that trigger various unpleasant side effects. Some people get lost in a mix of seeking medical treatment for a single problem, only to end up with several secondary issues caused by the “treatment” of the initial problem.

Even if medication is needed to treat a condition, chiropractic care can be used in conjunction with other treatments.

5. Pain-Free Treatment

Chiropractic care is pain-free. Many people are reluctant to try treatments because they believe they will experience cracking, snapping, or forceful movements. This isn’t true, though. Many patients even find chiropractic treatments to be relaxing and enjoyable. And chiropractic treatments are gentle enough to be used on children.

Signs You Are Suffering From an Ear Infection

Several signs and symptoms indicate an ear infection. They include:

  • Ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat or throat infection
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching in the ear canal
  • Scaly skin in the ear
  • Soreness around the ear
  • Swelling
  • Inability to wear a hearing aid
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Heat or warmth radiating from the ear or surrounding area
  • Fever
  • Hearing loss
  • Pressure in the ear or sinuses
  • Tinnitus

At-Home Remedies for Ear Infection Pain Relief

Several at-home remedies can help relieve the painful ear infections.

Chiropractor adjusting a woman's ears.

For example:

  • Gargle saltwater
  • Fluid drying ear drops
  • Warm compress
  • Over the counter pain relievers
  • Sleep in a more upright position

When to See a Doctor 

In most cases, ear infections are not serious. Sometimes, they even resolve on their own. However, you should seek medical attention if you or your child experiences:

  • Swelling under or behind the ear
  • Personality changes, including lethargy or fussiness
  • Difficulty moving any part of the face
  • High fever
  • Seizure

A young child under six faces a higher risk when experiencing high fever, pain, or infection in both ears. There might also be concern about eardrum rupture.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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