Chiropractic and Ear Infections: An Alternative to Antibiotics
American children under the age of 15 visit physicians for middle ear infections more than any other reason. Ear infections (otitis media) represent the most common cause for which antibiotics are prescribed for children. Almost 10% of children will have experienced an ear infection by the age of three months. Nearly 50% of children will experience three or more episodes of ear infection by the age of three. The annual cost associated with the management of pediatric ear infections lands around $5.3 billion.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises an initial observation period for management of an ear infection. These clinical practice guidelines refer to deferring antibiotic treatment for 48-72 hours. The recommended observation period stems from research indicating antibiotic treatments should only be recommended when absolutely necessary due to the damage they inflict on the gastrointestinal tract. Despite this research, surveys conclude that only 15% of medical physicians practice the observational option.
The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that research done in 2010 showed every infant under the age of six months old who ingested two or more rounds of antibiotics experienced an astounding 72% higher risk of asthma. Prescribed antibiotic treatment (usually amoxicillin) typically involves a seven to ten-day regimen. Children with multiple ear infections over the course of one year usually receive a surgical recommendation. Millions of ear tube surgeries take place every year with many producing minimal success or requiring multiple follow-up operations.
Numerous studies demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments in assisting infants and children overcome ear infections. One study showed that 93% of all episodes improved while under chiropractic care with 75% of cases showing improvement in ten days or fewer. 43% of cases showed improvement in only one or two treatments. Another study determined that children receiving regular chiropractic care experienced fewer episodes of ear infections, reduced use of antibiotics, and fewer surgeries.
A common characteristic shared among many ear infection sufferers stems from abnormal bone movement from traumatic birth experience. Chiropractors do not simply pursue the treatment of ear infections. A chiropractor’s job involves the evaluation of the spine and nervous system of every patient, whether an infant, child, or adult. A professional assessment determines areas of stress, or subluxation, that produce interference in the central nervous system. A disruption in the autonomic nervous system creates conditions that not only contribute to ear infections but also create numerous other conditions that rob the body of health and function. Chiropractors specifically locate and adjust the spine to remove the interference.