Colic, Ear infections, and Chiropractic

Some of the most common health challenges young children face, especially this time of year, are colic and ear infections. We all tend to get a little “clogged up” this time of year, but our kids can have these experiences outside of the winter season. Before we dive into how chiropractic is connected to these two symptoms, let’s see what traditional care/treatment is.

1.       Ear Infections: According to, 80% of all children have an ear infection before the age of 3. The traditional treatment for ear infections is a course of anti-biotics. If the ear infections end up being chronic (occurring frequently), inserting tubes into the inner ear to assist with draining occurs.

2.       Colic: This is a tricky one. It is tricky because colic is defined as a child that “cries more than 3 hours per day, for more than 3 days per week, for over 3 weeks,” in which 20-25% of children fit. It is most commonly thought to be a GI issue (i.e digestion, acid reflux, constipation, etc.). The most common course of action is to let the child “grow out of it.” Which is said to occur by 3 months of age.    

Let’s think about this. If the putting tubes in ears and “growing out of it” are what helps kiddos get past these common symptoms, has the root cause of either of these been addressed? I would say no. How about you? In no way is this an article about how traditional approaches to things like colic and ear infections are bad. It is, on the other hand, an article about getting to the root cause of things like this. 

Where in the body is there a connection between clogged up ear infections and crying inconsolable babies? The master control system, of course!!!!! The NERVOUS SYSTEM.  

The truth is, we were all created with an intelligence within that, via the nervous system, controls and coordinates every function in our body. This includes the development of our little ones. It is also true that if there is an interference to that intelligence, symptoms can arise (i.e. ear infections or colic).

Now, some parents may say, ‘my child’s ear tubes are more horizontal’. My response is, all kids Eustachian tubes (ear tube/ canal) are horizontal and as they grow they become more vertical. Likewise, another parent rationale to colic is ‘he/she is just a fussy baby’. While some babies are fussy, that does not mean a little one should be excessively crying, not sleeping, and not digesting (all signs of colic). Looking at both as such is a generally excepted point of view, but I like to see things differently.

By differently I mean from the view of the nervous system. More specifically the sympathetic function of the nervous system. The sympathetic side of our nervous system is well known for being the “fight-or-flight” side of our nervous system. Which comes in handy when in the right situation, but not as much when it comes to our overall health. When our bodies become “stuck” in an overall sympathetic state many things occur, but some of the most important are decreased immune function, respiratory and lymphatic function, and GI/gut function. In other words, when our sympathetic side of our nervous system is on overdrive we have a decreased ability to fight of bacteria and other bugs, decreased ability to flush out waste, and decreased ability to digest and move food through our gut.

That is where chiropractic fits in. A chiropractor’s job is to locate areas of stress in the body and adjust them, bringing on better function of the nervous system (specifically the brain). By getting adjusted, the body can decrease the overall fight-or-flight response and return to state of ease/balance. When there is more balance, the body will return to what it is meant to do, grow and develop. When it comes to children’s health, growth and development is the name of the game!

You see, ear infections are not a problem with the position of the tubes and colic is not just something kids will grow out of. They are both intimately related to the function of our kiddos nervous systems. By getting to the true cause, the improper function of the nervous system, kiddos can get back on track to growing and loving life!

- Dr. Zach