Can Chiropractic Really Help Ear Infections? [Research]
What Is Otitis Media?
Otitis media, more commonly known as ear infections, are one of the top reasons for children’s visits to the doctor. Due to the overuse of antibiotics for this condition, however, the rate of antibiotic-resistant infections has increased in recent years. As a result, recommendations released recently by the American Academy of Pediatrics discourage the use of antibiotic medications for most ear infections in children.
These recommendations have led to a focus on alternative methods of treating ear infections, including spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic adjustments). A new review of current research evaluated the use of spinal manipulations to treat ear infections in pediatric patients.
It has often been suggested that, in addition to the musculoskeletal disorders most often associated with chiropractic treatment, spinal manipulative therapy can also have positive effects on disorders involving visceral organs, such as otitis media. The general medical explanation has been that spinal adjustments directly affect the positioning and function of the Eustachian tube, blockage of which has been shown to be a major cause of recurring ear infections. Cervical spinal manipulation also positively affects drainage of the lymphatic system, helping to shorten the duration of ear infections.
The researchers performing the review looked at 49 studies that used spinal manipulations to treat ear infections in children. Every one of the 15 case reports included in the review reported decreased ear infection symptoms and/or improved hearing, as well as an improvement in recurrent symptoms or frequency of recurrences. No adverse effects caused by adjustments were reported in the reviewed literature.
The majority of clinical trials in the review supported utilizing chiropractic treatments for pediatric ear infections, although they noted that the amount of overall evidence is limited and more studies are needed to provide a clearer picture of the effects of spinal manipulation of the condition.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
In addition to chiropractic adjustments, at Ascent Chiropractic pediatric chiropractor Dr. Grant Radermacher is able to help pediatric patients with ear infections through a number of natural treatment approaches, such as providing advice on probiotics and other supplements to naturally relieve symptoms and prevent future infections as well as identifying whether food allergies may be playing a role in increased inflammation. Call us today at 262-345-4166 or request an appointment online.
Berman, S. “A Changing View of Ear Injections.” The New York Times. February 12, 2008.
Pohlman KA, Holton-Brown MS. Otitis media and spinal manipulative therapy: a literature review. J Chiro Med 2012; 11(3).