An Ear Infection Hurts!

If you, or especially one of your kids, have ever had an ear infection you know just how painful they can be.  In this article I will explain how one type of ear infection is caused by a neck problem.

There are 3 places an ear infection can happen.

The first place is in the “outer ear”.  The area from the ear drum to the outside of the ear canal is considered the outer ear.  The outer ear infection is commonly called swimmers ear.

The second place an ear infection can happen is in the “middle ear”.  The middle ear is the space behind the ear drum.  The bones that transfer the vibrations from the ear drum to the auditory nerve are in the middle ear.  There is  a tube that connects the middle ear to the throat and allows air to pass through called the eustachian tube.  When there is an ear infection in the middle ear it is very painful.  The pain comes from the pressure that builds up inside the middle ear when the eustachian tube in the middle gets blocked and the infection creates puss.  The middle ear area becomes like one big pimple and sometimes the ear drum pops just like a pimple.

The last place an ear infection can happen is in the “inner ear”  The inner ear contains amazing sensors that help us with our balance.  An inner ear infection is one cause of vertigo.  I have a great article about vertigo here.

An ear infection can occur in the outer, middle or inner ear.

The middle ear infection is the most common kind of infection.  Middle ear infections can become very stubborn especially in kids.  The standard medical treatment is either to do nothing, use antibiotics, or perform  surgery to insert a tube into the ear drum.

There is a cause of  middle ear infection that is extremely common that very few doctors seem to be aware of.  I promise, when you’re done with this article you will wonder why this is not one of the first thing fixed when someone has an ear infection.

One of the reasons this cause of an ear infection is not understood is because of the way most doctors tend to think.  Doctors are trained to treat symptoms rather than address the cause of them.  The standard medical treatment for most problems never asks the question, “WHY did this problem occur?”  When a patient has an infection, protocol is to prescribe an antibiotic, without looking into the reason the body is not able to fight the infection on its own.  When someone has a headache they are given a painkiller instead of investigating the cause of the headache.  A person with high blood pressure gets drugs without addressing the reason for the high blood pressure.

My focus with my patients is to figure out what went wrong that has caused the problem.  Ear infections are a great example of this. So why would a middle ear have an infection?  Yep, some sort of bad bug gets into the middle ear and multiplies like crazy.

Let me ask you a question.  How often does the middle ear get a harmful microbe?  Are middle ears sterile until they get infected? Let’s broaden the question to understand this point even better.  Do you think that your skin, throat, sinus, eyes, ears, stomach, intestines or urinary track is sterile until it get an infection?  If you answered NO you are very smart!  Our bodies are surrounded with all kinds of microbes from the moment we are born until those microbes consume our flesh!  If we could swab 1000 middle ears we would find that not one middle ear was sterile.  We would also find that most of those ears had those very same bad microbes that cause middle ear infections.  However out of the 1000 people it is very possible that none of them had a current ear infection. So it seems pretty obvious to me that if the bad bugs are in the ear, eye, nose, stomach, etc. all the time, then there must be something that causes one person to get an infection while the next person remains well.

Does that make sense to you? What could happen in the ear that would cause an infection to break out?  Obviously the immune system is a huge component to preventing infections.  However, in the middle ear there is something that can go wrong that will allow microbes to flourish.  I bet you can figure this out with another question. Why does inserting a tube into the ear drum work to “cure” stubborn ear infections?  What does the tube do to the middle ear?  The tube allows air into the middle ear.  The microbes that cause ear infections are anaerobic.  That means that they do best in environments that do not have oxygen.  When a tube is put into the ear drum, oxygen gets into the middle ear and SHAZAM those bad microbes meet their maker!

If you’re reading this and asking yourself, “Isn’t that tube that goes from the middle ear to the throat supposed to let air in the middle ear you’re a GENIUS!  The eustachian tube does just that.  But, if the eustachian tube gets blocked, oxygen will not get into the middle ear and the middle ear will get overrun by bad bugs.

For the rest of the story check out this video!

So there you go!  I hope that made sense.

If you have any questions, please use the comment section to ask!

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