Ear infections, or otitis media, account for over 35 % of all pediatrician visits in the United States and are the number one reason for doctor visits. The standard treatment for most cases is antibiotics, which can be effective ONLY if the cause is bacterial. That means that the majority of children are getting antibiotics that are not effective in the treatment of ear infections. They instead eliminate the beneficial “friendly” bacteria in the gut creating a vicious cycle of repetitive ear infections. Repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistance bacteria and suppression of the immune system and gut health.
In comparison to an adult’s eustachian tubes (ear canals), children’s ear canals are wider, horizontal, shorter, smaller and therefore, more vulnerable to obstruction and infection. This makes it hard for gravity to move the fluid out of the ears and lymph nodes into their throat. When the fluid has nowhere to go it will accumulate in the ear canal creating inflammation and redness on the eardrum. Ear pain and teething frequently occur together. Antibiotics will not help as this inflammation does not have a bacterial cause. Chiropractors are trained to remove subluxations or misalignments in the spine. Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the nervous system through adjustments to the body, allowing free flowing messages in the nerves to travel to and from the brain. When the child is free of nerve interference they are able to fight off infections with their own strong immune systems and without the aid of medications.
These subluxations can occur during childbirth, from tumbles and falls, and from any potential stress the body is exposed to. When subluxations are left uncorrected they will decrease the body’s ability to function properly. Chiropractic treatment will consist of any of the following: adjustments to the spine and limb joints, craniosacral therapy to the skull, massage, oral sweep and nutritional/dietary recommendations.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicates the correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections. By correcting the subluxation, it allows the body to cure the problem. In this study, 332 children with chronic ear infections participated in the study. Each child, ranging in age from 27 days to 5 years, was given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results show that close to 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their first adjustment.
If you or someone you know is constantly in the doctor’s office with your fussy child dealing with repetitive ear infections, it is time for them to be checked.
Reference: Fallon JM. The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Care and Treatment of 332 Children with Otitis Media. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. 1997; Volume 2, No. 2:167-183.
by Melanie Dockter, D.C., CACCP