As a parent, would you be impressed by 70-93% effectiveness? A 1997 study of 332 children with otitis media showed remarkable results. All children were between 27 days and 5 years of age. Children were categorized into four groups, depending on the type of otitis media they presented with. Each child received 4-6 adjustments and was monitored for 6 months after initial care. Six months later, between 70-89 percent of the children had no recurrence of ear infections. This study supported a 1996 report of 93% improvement in ear infection symptoms after chiropractic care, typically a 6-visit care plan, in the same age group.
For more than 100 years, chiropractors have focused on improving the function of both body and mind by addressing the nervous system. In fact, the first chiropractic adjustment, in 1895, restored hearing to a man who had suddenly become deaf after contorting his spine while working in a cramped space.
It is important to note that chiropractic is not a “treatment” for ear infections. The intention of chiropractic care is to address the spinal and meningeal structures to reduce impediments to nerve system function. If the nerves to the inner ear and Eustachian tubes are communicating properly, these structures will drain efficiently, and fluid will not build up in the inner ear. This makes children less susceptible to having a cold develop into an ear infection. Parents also find that children under regular chiropractic care bounce back more quickly from illness. If you have ever seen an adult get a chiropractic adjustment, it is nothing like an infant adjustment. For babies, chiropractors use the pressure you would apply to test a tomato for ripeness.
According to AskDrSears.com, indications of an ear infection include 2 or more of these symptoms:
1. Cold symptoms – keep in mind that ear infections are almost always preceded by a cold. Often a clear runny nose will turn yellow or green before an ear infection sets in.
2. Fussiness during the day or night
3. Complaining of ear pain or hearing loss
4. Night-waking more frequently
5. Unwillingness to lie flat
6. Fever – usually low grade (101º – 102º); may not have a fever.
7. Sudden increase in fussiness during a cold
8. Ear drainage – if you see blood or pus draining out of the ear, then it is probably an infection with a ruptured eardrum. These almost always heal just fine.
Your child is unlikely to have an ear infection if they have no symptoms of a cold, unless they have had a diagnosed ear infection in the past without a cold. If your child is less than 12 months old, they are unable to precisely localize their ear pain. Infants cannot tell that the pain associated with teething is coming from their ears, or from their jawbones and teeth. The pain of teething comes and goes from about four months of age until the two-year molars have emerged. Infants may also tug or bat at their ears because they enjoy playing with these strange, floppy appendages. Infants interact with the world primarily on a physical level, so sticking their finger in their ear may be exploration, not a distress signal.
Does your pediatrician know about the latest research on the effectiveness of chiropractic care? The author and pediatrician Dr. Sears notes: “I firmly believe that chiropractic adjustments to the skull and neck can improve middle ear drainage and decrease ear infections.”