Fact vs Fiction – Chiropractic for Ear Infections

Written by our newest team member, Rachel!

As an Early Childhood Teacher, I have come across many young ones experiencing the pain of ear infections. Some with one off infections, others reoccurring. Just how effective are antibiotics in the treatment and prevention of ear infections in children and where does Chiropractic Care fit within this common childhood illness?

Antibiotics

The most common treatment seems to be antibiotics; however, many studies show that antibiotics are not as effective as people believe when treating many cases of ear infections.

In a large study of 3,660 children, results showed that the children being treated with antibiotics recovered slightly slower than children who did not receive antibiotics. [1] Researchers suggested that this might because the antibiotics kill the body’s good bacteria, which are part of the body’s natural defence system.

In fact, in Early childhood education, I have seen this evident first hand.  Many children I have worked with that had ear infections were given antibiotics early on.  However, they didn’t seem to make a quicker recovery than the ones who weren’t given antibiotics. It’s also interesting to note that some of these children taking antibiotics for treatment were just as likely to have the ear infection/s return soon after the course of antibiotics were finished.

Surely there must be a more effective solution for childhood ear infections?

I was pleasantly surprised to hear of an alternative…Chiropractic care! If only I had known this earlier on in my career!

How Chiropractic care can help with childhood ear infections

Optimal immune system function:

Research suggests that if misalignment’s of the spine (which can happen during childbirth or every day tumbles) are left untreated, it may irritate the nerves in the upper cervical (neck) region and disrupt the ability of the child’s body (which includes the inner ear) to function at its best. When a chiropractic correction is done, this helps restore the normal functioning of the nervous system, allowing the immune system to work at its best. [3]

Drainage of the Eustachian tube:

The younger the child, the more horizontal this tube is, meaning harder for the fluid in the ear to drain. When the spine isn’t positioned correctly, the function of the muscle responsible for the dilatation mechanism of this tube can be compromised.  With chiropractic care, the function of this muscle can be greatly improved, positively influencing the tubes ability to drain. [3]

And the research to back this up?

A study was done on 332 children with chronic ear infections, aged between 27 days to 5 years old. After a series of chiropractic adjustments, the results showed that almost 80 percent of the children didn’t experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their initial visit. [2]

So next time your child or a child you know of is having trouble with ear infections, why not bring them in to see Dr Ed, he would be happy to help!

References:

  1. Froom, J, Culpepper, L, Grob, P, Bartelds, A, Bowers, P, Bridges-Webb, C, Grava-Gubins, I, Green, L, Lion, J & Somaini, B 1990, ‘Diagnosis and antibiotic treatment of acute otitis media: a report from the International Primary Care Network’, BMJ, vol. 300, no. 6724, pp. 582-586.
  2. Fallon, JM 1997, ‘The role of the chiropractic adjustment in the care and treatment of 332 children with otitis media’, Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Paediatrics, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 167-183
  3. https://cpd.c4k.com.au/module-descriptions/module-4-management-of-common-childhood-disorders/

About the Author Dr Edward Roper

Ed has been practicing in Tauranga since 2009, and established Precision Chiropractic in 2012. Prior to this, Ed spent several years in a chiropractic practice in Albany, Auckland.