Otitis Media and Ear Infections

Otitis Media is inflammation caused by infection of the middle ear. Most common in children, this occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum. “Three out of four children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday, and is the most common reason parents take their child to the doctor.”1.

In 1990 there were 25 million physician visits for otitis media2. This condition is more likely to occur during childhood because the eustachian tube – the tube connecting the ear and throat – is more vertical in children, making it more difficult for the fluid to drain. Sometimes, in chronic cases after treatment, fluid may remain trapped behind the eardrum contributing to re-occurring infections. Besides a child reporting ear pain, other symptoms include tugging at the ear, fussiness and crying, trouble sleeping, fever, fluid draining from the ear, clumsiness, poor balance, and trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds.

Otitis Media is often treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may have many side effects such as allergic reactions and kill off the healthy bacteria in the digestive system. When the healthy bacteria are killed off, diarrhea and upset stomach are common side effects. If the fluid remains trapped in the middle ear, chronic ear infections may occur. In chronic cases, some children are recommended to get surgery to place tubes in the ear drum to allow drainage. It is estimated that 27-32% of these surgeries may be unnecessary 2.

The nerve that goes into the ear is the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve has two parts, the cochlear part and the vestibular part. The cochlear part gives the sense of hearing and the vestibular part helps in controlling balance and coordination. The inflammation from the middle ear may affect this nerve and may thus affect balance and coordination.

How can Chiropractic help with Otitis Media?

Children affected with Otitis Media may receive benefits from upper cervical chiropractic care due to the relationship of the vestibulocochlear nerve to the brainstem. There have been many documented cases of children receiving relief from acute and chronic cases of Otitis Media.
Dr. Amalu, DC had a five year old patient recurring Otitis Media. After the patient received adjustments to the upper cervical region, the patient was monitored and adjusted when needed. Upon re-examination after his first month of care, the child was free of any ear infections for the first time in 9 months3.

There was a study conducted by Dr. Joan Fallon of 332 children from ages of 27 days to 5 years who were diagnosed with Otitis Media. These children were given adjustments to the upper cervical region and with an average of 8 days, the middle ear exam showed no signs of inflammation. The overall recurrence rate over 6 months was 11% for acute infections and 16% for chronic infections4.

In the Pierce Clinic of Chiropractic we use an advanced precision chiropractic technique called the Advanced Orthogonal. This technique allows doctors to find misalignments in vertebrae of the upper neck area, to determine how to correct them with high precision, and to make the correction without practically touching the patient.

This technique yields consistent successful results because it is based on precision three-dimensional X-ray and mathematical computer analysis. This high precision we attain at the analysis stage allows us to make corrections without forceful manipulations but rather with gentle, non-invasive, split second long sound wave. All you can hear is a “click” sound and… the correction is made.

Kids love it because of that simplicity and gentleness!

To book a free consultation with our Chiropractor Doctors in St. Petersburg, please call 727-528-8700

Sources :

1) http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/earinfections.aspx
2) Charles E. Sawyer, DC,a Roni L. Evans, DC,b Patrick D. Boline, DC,c Richard Branson, DC, and Anne Spicer, DCe A Feasibility Study of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation Versus Sham Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion in Children.
3) William C. Amalu, DC, CCUCS Cortical Blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and Recurring Otitis Media:  A Case Study in Chiropractic Management.
4) The role of the chiropractic adjustment in the care and treatment of 332 children with otitis media. Fallon, JM. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol 2, No. 2 1997