The #1 Hidden Cause of Chronic Ear Infections in Kids

By Dr. Tony Ebel, DC, CPPFC, CCWP
The #1 Hidden Cause of Chronic Ear Infections in Kids | PX Docs

Today we’re going to dig into the root cause of chronic ear infections. I will use the help of an incredible young patient named Luca to help you understand more about these infections and how you can help your child manage them without resorting to drugs or surgery. We want to help you find solutions to end these chronic ear infections that cause pain, sleepless nights, sensory meltdowns, etc.

WHat Are chronic Ear INfections?

Let’s begin by addressing the definition of chronic ear infections. It is a series of repeated acute ear infections that never completely go away. The body fails to clear out the congestion, inflammation, viruses, and bacteria that cause these infections. It is considered chronic if your child has suffered from ear infections for three to five months consecutively.

To put it in farmer’s terms, poor drainage is the primary cause of ear infections. If you have ever played in the mud, you know that it contains more creatures than dry dirt. In the same way, we do not want viruses, bacteria, mucus, and inflammation building up in our ears, sinuses, throats, or lungs. The buildup of fluid creates what is called an opportunistic infection, which is usually caused by viruses. This is why antibiotics are ineffective in treating most ear and respiratory infections.

These opportunistic viruses and pathogens are normal and should exist at a certain level in our airways, eustachian tubes, and respiratory system. The problem arises when the fluid gets stuck due to poor drainage from the inner ear to the sinuses and the throat. This poor drainage allows opportunistic viruses and bacteria to thrive, leading to ear infections.

Drainage is supposed to occur from the top of the head in the ears to the south through the lymphatics, throat, and lungs. Lymphatics especially drain into the acidic gut, killing most bad guys off. The gut is also full of probiotics, which are vital to good microbiome health. We can avoid ear infections and recurrence as long as we have proper drainage.

Recurrent ear infections can also be triggered by teething, seasonal changes, and common colds, which are all a part of life. If the buildup of inflammation and irritation from these conditions is significant, it leads to ear infections.

We meet families all the time who have tried everything from diet changes and supplements to antibiotics and fever reducers, yet the infections persist. This is where understanding the actual cause of the problem is critical.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just inflammation that’s the root of the issue. 

Poor plumbing and bad drainage are the real culprits behind the inflammation and irritation that cause ear infections. 

And while dietary changes and supplements can be helpful, they’re not enough to address the underlying problem.

The Root, Root cause of Chronic ear Infections

To dig even deeper and truly get to the root cause, we need to go one step further and look at the nervous system. It’s the system that controls everything in our bodies, including our immune system and inflammatory regulation. In fact, in about 95% of cases, acute and chronic ear infections are caused by a physical jam-up called subluxation.

Subluxation occurs when there’s a misalignment of the spine, which affects the delicate nerves and soft tissues in the upper cervical vertebrae and the neuro spinal system. This can happen due to breach presentation or birth trauma and intervention, such as induction, C-section, vacuum, and forceps delivery. These interventions create physical twisting and pulling on the nerves and muscles, causing problems with lymphatic drainage and resulting in chronic ear infections.

So, the true root, root cause, subluxation, refers to misalignments in the spine that can lead to fixation and affect the proper functioning of the body’s plumbing. In the case of chronic ear infections, a specific muscle called the Tensor Veli Palatini (a Latin word) plays a crucial role in allowing fluid to drain from the ears. When this muscle, which is like a little doorway letting fluid drain, becomes jammed due to subluxation, the ears can become inflamed and infected.

We can look at Luca’s thermal scans to better understand this process. On these scans, we see a significant imbalance in the nervous system, which is caused by subluxation at the Atlas and C1 areas of the spine. Additionally, a counter torque subluxation pattern is present, which can cause not only ear infections but also impact sleep, mood, and sensory processing. This is because the entire upper cervical area is air traffic control for the nervous system’s regulation of everything – sensory processing, immune function, inflammation, and the vagus nerve that controls rest and digest, etc.  

The biggest thing we see with Luca is massive subluxation stuck in his upper cervical/neck region. The ears, lymphatics, and sinuses all need to be free of obstruction to get things freely draining and moving. 

Instead of Growing Out of “Conditions” – Kids Grow INTO Bigger CHallenges

Many kiddos with chronic ear infections had reflux and colic as babies, which grew into chronic ear infections. It’s important to note that children do not simply “grow out of” conditions like colic or chronic ear infections – in fact, these challenges can often lead to more serious, what we call, Perfect Storm challenges. 

Ear infections have nothing to do with genetics or short or narrow eustachian tubes.  

Neurologically-focused chiropractic focuses on proactive, preventative care that helps keep the nervous system and eustachian tubes free and clear of subluxation and congestion. 

By doing so, we can help children stay healthy and avoid the need for antibiotics and other treatments that can have harmful side effects.

If your child struggles with chronic ear infections, I encourage you to visit our PX Docs directory to find a trained pediatric chiropractor near you who can help address the underlying issues and promote proper nervous system function. If you have found this video helpful, please share it with other parents facing similar challenges. Together, we can help promote better health outcomes for children everywhere.

God bless and be well.

Dr. Tony Ebel is the lead writer and educational guide for PX Docs. He is a Certified Pediatric + Wellness Chiropractor with 15 years of clinical experience. In addition, Dr. Tony has been teaching and training other Pediatric + Family Chiropractors for the past 10+ years, primarily teaching the clinical protocols he created for pediatric neurodevelopmental challenges such as Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Epilepsy, Anxiety, and more. This clinical program is now taught in collaboration with the Life University Postgraduate Department and has over 500 graduates. Dr. Tony’s passion is educating, empowering, and informing parents about the nervous system's role in natural, drug-free healing for all pediatric conditions and cases.

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