What is Otitis Media? Can Chiropractic Help Ear Infections?
The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study in their January 14, 2016, issue documenting the case of a young girl with otitis media being resolved with chiropractic care. Otitis media is the technical term for ear infections.
The study estimates that approximately 40% of children suffer from otitis media (OM) before the age of five years. Commonly children who suffer with this problem have reoccurring episodes and are often prescribed antibiotics as medical treatment. The authors report that in an acute phase, OM is often associated with ear pain, fever, headaches, irritability, and listlessness. Otitis media is the most common infection for which antibiotics are prescribed for children in the United States, with medical costs being about 3 billion dollars a year.
In this case, a 4-year-old boy suffering from chronic earaches was taken to the chiropractor by his mother to see if chiropractic could help. The boy’s history showed that he had been suffering with otitis media since age three. In an effort to medically treat his problem, tubes had been inserted in his ears which fell out nine months later. After the failed medical care, the boy, who was scheduled to have a second ear tube surgery in less than one month, was brought to the chiropractor. The boy’s mother reported that her son would regularly pull on his ear, and she observed that his ear was red and had excessive wax buildup.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation of the child’s spine, range of motion, as well as basic inspection and physical signs. From his examination, it was determined that the boy had subluxations in his upper neck area.
Specific chiropractic adjustments were given to address the boy’s subluxations. The boy was seen three times per week for the first two weeks of care, followed by a visit frequency of twice per week. Following the first adjustment, the boy’s mother reported that her son experienced relief for the entire day. She did notice fluid coming out of his ears as well as a runny nose. It was reported that he slept better that night and was less irritable.
After three visits, the mother reported that her son had improved enough that she decided to cancel her son’s second ear tube surgery. When the initial portion of the chiropractic care was completed, the boy’s parents decided to continue their son’s care on a wellness basis.
In their conclusion, the study authors offered, “This case report opens for the possibility that children with otitis media and failed medical care in the way of tympanostomy tubes may benefit from chiropractic care via chiropractic adjustment.”
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