Ear infections (otitis media) are the most common cause of pediatric visits, and subsequent antibiotic use during the first two years of a child’s life. In the U.S., the cost of the medical and surgical treatment of otitis has been estimated to be between three and four billion dollars annually. While a majority of parents take their suffering child to the pediatrician for another round of antibiotics, there is another alternative that can be very effective.
Otitis media is a complication of the common cold, sinusitis, or a sore throat, developing once normal resistance to infection has been lost. Just as mental or emotional stress impairs the immune function, physical stress on the central nervous system lowers our resistance to disease. The physical structure of the child’s eustachian tubes can prevent the ear from draining properly, especially if there is some misalignment in the child’s cervical spine. The aforementioned misalignment could be the result of the birth process itself.
Use of antibiotic therapy for treatment of otitis media has become quite controversial. Research shows that antibiotic treatment of otitis media is no more effective than a placebo. It also can increase the risk of re-occurrence (Cantekin, 1994). It has been shown that the type of antibiotic therapy used does not influence recovery from otitis media, or the length of time for which it was given. Those who received no antibiotics at all had improved rates of recovery (Froom et al., 1990).
It has been found that 93 percent of all episodes of otitis media treated improved with chiropractic care. Seventy-five percent of the cases improved in 10 days or less, and 43 percent with only one or two adjustment (Froehle, 1996).
A visit to the chiropractor can be a safe, effective way to eliminate or reduce the frequency of these occurrences and far more cost effective if one considers the more invasive method of inserting tubes in the ear.
Ken Whidden, DC
Emerald Coast Chiropractic