What’s a Poor Plumber and How Does it Relate to Ear Infections?

The word pump.

It makes you think of the pipes in below the kitchen sink, the gas station, and maybe even stiletto heels. But, you probably don’t think of the incredible pumps or “plumbing system” in the human body.

Our heart pumps blood from our chest to the other organs, hands, feet, and brain. Our esophagus carries food from our mouth down to our stomach. Our ears drain fluid to our throat and lungs. None of this happens by chance. Our body is designed with many excellent pumping mechanisms. Often times, kids with chronic immune challenges, such as ear and respiratory infections, have a weakness in their pumping mechanism.

A weakness in the plumbing or a being a “poor plumber” means that the areas of the body that are designed to drain, like the sinuses and the ears are not able to do so properly. This allows for a build-up of stagnant fluid which then creates a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to thrive. When this fluid cannot drain from the sinuses, it results in chronic colds and respiratory infections.

The fluid in the ear drains through the eustachian tube. Within the eustachian tube, there is a pump or small muscle called the tensor veli palatini. This muscle’s main job is to contract and relax, creating a massaging action, to pump the fluid out of the inner ear (i.e drain). When the tensor veli palatini becomes tight and tense, it closes down the eustachian tube, which causes fluid to build up behind the eardrum and leads to bacteria or viral infections.

Chiropractic helps alleviate ear infections by getting to the root cause of the problem! The tensor veli palatini muscle is controlled by the nerves in the upper neck. When stress is present, it will cause those nerves to be overstimulated and results in tightness. This makes it very hard for the fluid to drain. Specific and gentle adjustments by a pediatric chiropractor will help to alleviate the pressure and naturally allow the ears to drain.