Chronic ear infections (otitis media) can be of the most frustrating, conditions that parents see in their children. Earaches are one of the most common childhood ailments, with approximately 10 million new cases being diagnosed each year. Furthermore, almost half of all children will have at least one ear infection by the time they reach the age of one, and two-thirds will have an ear infection by age three.
The standard treatment is antibiotics for bacterial infections. However, repeated exposure to antibiotics can cause the body to build up resistance, thus making the treatment ineffectual. In extreme cases, pediatricians may recommend surgically inserting tubes into the ears to keep them clear; this is actually the second most common surgical procedure for children under the age of two. A small incision is made in the eardrum and the tubes are then inserted to help fluid drain properly.
Unfortunately, this may necessitate a number of procedures in up to 30 percent of cases, as children “outgrow” the tubes. There is also the higher risk associated with the use of general anesthesia for a very young child. All of these reasons may lead parents to seek out alternative treatments for chronic childhood ear infections.
Can Chiropractic Adjustments Offer a Safe Alternative?
Joan Fallon, DC, a chiropractor practicing in New York, has published a pilot study that may revolutionize pediatric treatment of ear infections. Her study, published in the October 1997 issue of Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, showed the results from 332 children between the ages of 27 days and five years, all of who received chiropractic treatments for ear infections. The children received anywhere from four to eight treatments over the course of four to six weeks.
Fallon found that almost 80 percent of the children were free from ear infections for six months following their treatments. It took anywhere from six to 10 days for both the measurements of the eardrum and the ear canal to normalize, depending upon the severity and chronic nature of the ear infection.
Fallon focused on the occiput (back of the skull) and atlas (first vertebrae in the neck) for the chiropractic adjustments. Adjusting the occiput will get the fluid in the ear to drain, preventing a buildup that can lead to infection. In most cases, once the child has gotten through one bout with an ear infection, their bodies then allow them to fight off future infections without the need for surgical intervention.
Another study had similar results. Among 46 children ages five and under, chiropractic adjustments were made to the occiput and cervical vertebrae; 93 percent of all cases improved. Furthermore, 75 percent of these improved within 10 days or less and 43 percent of patients improved with only one or two treatments. Patients received three treatments per week for the first week, two treatments for the second week, and one treatment for the third week.
Parents and children need no longer suffer from pediatric ear infections. Research has shown that chiropractic can offer an easy, effective, noninvasive solution to the problem.
Contact Horst Chiropractic to schedule an appointment.