A new health care technique known as IUCCA
Upper Cervical Chiropractic has proven to
be remarkably effective in the treatment
of otitis media (middle ear infections.)
Max, a 9-year-old in Boulder, struggled
with chronic ear infections for many years
before his parents found IUCCA Upper Cervical
Care. Max's mother described his struggle.
"My son, Max, was plagued by ear infections
almost from the time he came home from the
hospital (after a difficult forceps birth.)
After many rounds of antibiotics, he eventually
had 3 sets of tubes, a tonsillectomy and
an adenoidectomy by the time he was 5 years
old. At age 9, he once again had 2 very
poor hearing test scores because his ears
were full of fluid. The ear doctor told
me that Max would need another set of tubes,"
Max's ear infections were later corrected
by IUCCA Upper Cervical Care. "Max saw Dr.
Elster for treatment and then went back
to the ear doctor for a checkup. The doctor
could almost not believe that his eardrums
were clear and pink with perfect movement.
The audiologist tested his hearing on the
spot and burst out of the room with a huge
smile on her face and said his hearing was
great. The change was miraculous," she said.
Currently Max has been free from infections
and has had normal hearing for a year.
Media Prevalence in Children
percent of children experience at least
one episode of otitis media by their third
birthday. Almost half of these children
will have three or more ear infections during
their first three years. Otitis Media is
second only to the common cold in frequency
of occurrence among preschool children.
It is estimated that medical costs and lost
wages because of otitis media amount to
$5 billion a year in the United States.
(American Speech-Language-Hearing Association,
1997) What is Otitis Media? Otitis Media
is an infection or inflammation of the middle
ear. The middle ear includes the tympanic
membrane (eardrum,) three bones called the
auditory ossicles, and the Eustachian tube,
which connects the middle ear to the throat.
This inflammation of the middle ear often
begins when infections that cause sore throats,
colds, or other respiratory problems spread
to the middle ear. Signs that a child might
be experiencing inflammation in the ear
include unusual irritability, difficulty
sleeping, pulling at one or both ears, fever,
fluid draining from the ear, loss of balance,
and hearing difficulty. (American Speech-Language-Hearing
is Otitis Media So Common In Children?
in Eustachian tube functioning frequently
result in otitis media. When functioning
properly, the Eustachian tube, a passage
between the middle ear and the throat, keeps
air pressure equalized on both sides of
the eardrum. If there is negative pressure
in the middle ear, this results in pain
and possibly a "plugged" sensation. When
the Eustachian tube is blocked, fluid builds
up in the middle ear cavity and may become
infected. Because the Eustachian tube is
smaller and more horizontal in children
than in adults, it can be more easily blocked
by conditions such as large adenoids and
infections (American Speech-Language-Hearing
Loss and Speech Impediment
Otitis media can often cause hearing loss.
As sound enters the ear canal, it hits the
eardrum and causes the small bones in the
ear to vibrate. If there is fluid in the
middle ear, the bones do not vibrate as
efficiently as they should. Sound energy
is lost and the individual does not hear
at a normal loudness level. Because normal
development of speech and language requires
good hearing skills in early childhood,
speech and language may not develop at a
normal rate if a child's hearing is impaired.
(Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center, 1998)
Treatment and Reoccurrence
medical treatment for recurring ear infections
includes multiple dosages of antibiotics,
decongestants, and pain medications. If
the infections still persist, a physician
will recommend a surgery called a myringotomy.
This procedure under anesthesia involves
a surgical incision into the eardrum and
the placement of a tube into the opening
to keep it open and allow fluid drainage.
This tube may need to remain in place for
many months and care must be taken to keep
water out of the child's ears. In addition,
many physicians will recommend multiple
sets of tubes and surgical removal of tonsils
and adenoids. However, as we saw previously
in Max's case, even after many courses of
antibiotics, three sets of tubes, and the
tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, his ear
infections and hearing loss still persisted
until Upper Cervical Chiropractic treatment.
IUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic Works
IUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic works
by correcting irritation to the nervous
and immune systems, the original cause of
ear infections. Misalignments in the vertebrae
of the upper cervical spine (upper neck),
cause irritation to the nerves traveling
between the brain and spinal cord that are
supplying the ear and the immune system.
By correcting the vertebrae in the upper
neck, chronic ear infections can be corrected
and prevented without the need for drugs
and surgeries. Typical IUCCA Upper Cervical
Care involves an initial spinal exam, specific
x-rays of the upper neck, computerized spinal
scans known as Computerized Infrared Thermography
to measure nervous system irritation, and
specific adjustments by hand to correct
the misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck.
Causes of misalignments to the spinal vertebrae
include traumas, auto accidents, sports
injuries, bike and ski falls, and poor posture.
Even the birth process can put stress on
a newborn baby's neck, possibly resulting
in upper cervical misalignments, which can
result in health problems early on in a
child's life. As described in Max's case,
he had a difficult birth and his ear infections
started soon after he left the hospital.
Dr. Erin Elster is an IUCCA Upper Cervical
Specialist and treats many childhood ailments
including asthma, allergies, chronic infections,
attention deficit disorder, headaches, and
many more. She is currently the only IUCCA
Upper Cervical Specialist in Colorado and
practices in Boulder. She is a graduate
of the University of California, Berkeley,
and Palmer College of Chiropractic, Iowa.
For further information, please call (303)
442-5911 or browse her web site: www.erinelster.com