Earaches are a symptom of an ear infection, referred to by medical professionals as acute otitis externa (AOE). Ear infections have numerous causes. However, not all ear pain is automatically an infection. Plus, you may be able to help relieve fluid in the ear before it develops into an infection. Thus, getting an antibiotic from the doctor for an earache is not always the best solution.
We’re going to take a closer look at what causes ear pain. In particular, we will take note of the important role then neck may play when it comes to earaches and infections. Then we will discuss a natural way to get help for ear pain, recurring infections, and even ear problems like vertigo and Meniere’s disease.
Where Earaches Start
Earaches occur when fluid builds up in the ear or inflammation occurs within the ear. These conditions can also lead to an infection. Some risk factors that contribute to fluid buildup and inflammation include:
- Bacterial infection – Certain bacteria are known to cause excess fluid and inflammation in the ear.
- Virus – A cold or flu can produce fluid or lead to inflammation in the ear. This can cause an earache, an infection, or even vertigo.
- Trauma – Injury to the ear or even the upper neck can cause the ear to stop draining properly. This can result in a buildup of fluid that causes ear pain, infections, or vestibular conditions like Meniere’s disease.
- Smoking (secondhand smoke) – Cigarettes inhibit the immune system and could result in more frequent cases of cold, flu, and bacterial infections. They also lead to faster degeneration of the discs of the neck, which can result in a chain reaction that affects the ears.
- Family History – Ear issues do seem to run in families.
How the Neck Is Related to Proper Ear Function
If you look at the anatomy of the neck and head, it is no wonder that the top bone of the spine, the atlas, can have an effect on the proper function of the ears. Located at the base of the skull, the atlas is almost directly between the ears. If a slight misalignment exists, what may this do to one or more of the ears?
If the eustachian tubes are affected, this can limit the ear’s ability to drain off excess fluid. Normally, the tiny eustachian tube can remove excess fluid so that things like vertigo, a feeling of fullness in the ear, or an earache do not occur. But if the atlas misalignment is putting pressure on the tube or causing inflammation in the area, it could lead to the gradual formation of a lesion on the eustachian tube.
In fact, in one study involving 300 Meniere’s disease patients, it was noted that this was a problem that existed. The average time between a traumatic experience that could have misaligned the atlas and the onset of Meniere’s was about 12.5 years. These results show the gradual effect that an upper cervical misalignment can have on the ears. Thus, the ears are clearly related to the cervical spine.
Earaches and Chiropractic Intervention
A collection of four cases studies highlighted the benefits of chiropractic for patients dealing with ear pain. In three of the four cases, an upper cervical misalignment was specifically noted as a contributing factor. In all four cases, chiropractic care was able to provide help for the patients. But directly affecting the ears is not the only way upper cervical chiropractic may be able to help.
The immune system relies on the central nervous system to determine when to move into action. Thus, a properly functioning CNS is vital to a strong immune system. Since many cases of ear problems go back to bacterial or viral infections, the immune system plays a key role in staving off earaches. Here are three ways that upper cervical chiropractic can benefit the central nervous system:
- Blood flow – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow via the vertebral foramen, tiny loops of bone that provide safe passage for the vertebral arteries. Relieving a subluxation is vital to proper flow of blood to the head.
- Brainstem function – The brainstem controls many of the body’s subconscious functions like breathing. The atlas surrounds and protects the brainstem. A misalignment can place pressure on the brainstem and inhibit proper function.
- Intracranial pressure – An upper cervical misalignment can lead to intracranial pressure by inhibiting the proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. Relieving the subluxation can help restore proper flow and reduce the pressure.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Earaches and Other Ear Problems
As you can see, the upper cervical spine plays a vital role when it comes to the function of the ear and the central nervous system. Thus, it makes sense to see an upper cervical practitioner if you or a loved one is suffering from chronic ear pain or other ear issues. This site can help you to find an upper cervical chiropractor in your area.
Schedule a consultation with an upper cervical chiropractor to learn more about this natural way to get relief from earaches and many other symptoms that may ultimately signify a misalignment. If an examination reveals a misalignment in the C1 or C2, this may be the underlying cause of the issue. A gentle adjustment may, therefore, be able to help you to attain long-term relief rather than the mere short-term benefits that are offered by medical care that just covers up the symptoms of a problem.