Ear infections are an unfortunate part of childhood for many kids. They can be painful and often chronic.

Denise Surette says her four-year-old son Gavin had trouble with ear infections when he was toddler.

“He was having ear infections probably for about 10 months, pretty much every month,” says Denise.

Denise says Gavin’s ear infections had gotten to the point where he was seeing a specialist. Doctors suggested he may need tubes put in his ears, but she decided to explore chiropractic care first.

Chiropractor Karen Smith says muscles in the upper neck affect the ear canals.

“We don't actually treat the ear infection, or the symptoms. What we do is, we assist the body's natural healing ability,” says Smith. “So if there's something going on with the joints and the muscles soft tissue, the nerves coming out that supply those muscles, those muscles can't relax, so then they're almost tight and in spasm, so that can't allow the drainage to happen properly.”

When fluid builds up in the ears, it's a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.

Smith says specific, gentle adjustments, can help the body drain those fluids through the nose.

What we do is we get some motion in the upper neck, with my hands, or I might use an instrument as well,” says Smith. “There's a few other techniques that we can do. We can do some sinus drainage. We can drain some of the fluid in the ear.”

A simple ear pull technique can also help.

“So what we do is, we just take the ear of the child and we do a little pull and that can actually drain the fluid as well,” says Smith.

Smith says a child’s overall health and immune system impacts how quickly they see results from the treatment. In some cases, relief can be instant.

“What we notice right after an adjustment is a lot of times you'll actually see the fluid drain through the nose,” says Smith.

Denise says Gavin hasn't had an ear infection since his first treatment, when he was two-years-old.

“He got colds and he was very congested, but whatever she does, I could instantly see the drainage when she would adjust his neck and ears and he would drain out and it was fine,” says Denise.

Smith says she also treats adults who have had chronic ear issues as a child or who are experiencing pain in the ear.