In the clinic, I have seen patients often reporting the following issues relating to the ear: -
> Ear pain
> Fluid build up in the ear which can affecting hearing
> Noises in the ear
> Inner ear issues affecting balance -> see the section on balance
It is common that Fluid builds up in the middle section of the ear, behind the eardrum and can cause sharp pain and decreased hearing. This can occur in both children and adults but the incidence is higher in children until their face elongates. When referring to a build up of fluid in children’s ears it is commonly called “Glue Ear ”.
Glue Ear (Otitis media)
In a normal situation, the eustachian tube drains fluid in the middle ear to the back of the throat. Glue ear occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in the middle ear which can occur when the eustachian tube is blocked or has poor fluid drainage. This condition is common in children under the age of seven because the eustachian tube is virtually horizontal and can drain poorly until the face elongates. It is not wise to fly with Otitis media without consulting a doctor because clear eustachian tubes are required to equalise the pressure inside your head to the changing cabin pressure.
What you feel: The hearing can sound muffled, as the pressure builds you may experience sharp pain coming from the eardrum, in some cases, there can be an associated fever. Often Otitis media it's noted after a cold.
What is happening: When there is a build-up of fluid in the middle ear it puts pressure on the inside of the eardrum, causing it to stretch and bulge outward, causing pain. Often with the fluid trapped behind the eardrum, there can be an infection in the fluid which may explain the fever that sometimes accompanies Otitis media.
How we might treat this. Cranial osteopaths are well aware of the need to have good movement in the cranial bone structure. This cranial movement helps to move fluid around the head[i] We would use articulation, myofascial release, balanced membranous tension, and possibly soft tissues techniques to loosen the muscles of the neck to promote drainage.