Big Of A Problem Is It?
half of all children will have at least one middle
ear infection before
they're 1-year old, and two-thirds of them will
have had at least one such
infection by age 3. *
these, almost half will have had repeated bouts.
infections are the most frequent primary diagnosis
made at visits to
U.S. physician offices by children under 15 years
of age. **
National Center for Health Statistics reports
that otitis media is the most
common diagnosis for a physician's office visit
by children under 15.
children under two have the highest rate of visits
to a physician's
office for otitis media.
1975-1990, office visits for otitis media increased
by 150 percent.
Children under 15 accounted for 24.5 million more
visits to the physician's
office, or an increase of 81 percent office visits
for the diagnosis and treatment
of otitis media.
of the American Chiropractic Association, August 2002,
Recurrent Otitis Media: Case Series of Five Patients
Recommendations for Case Management. Peter Fysh, DC;
Journal of Clinical
Chiropractic Pediatrics, Volume 1, No. 2, 1996
is the CAUSE?!
Do Ear Infections Happen?
and small children are particularly prone to otitis
media because they get lots of colds and partly
because their eustachian tubes (which connect
the middle ear to the back of the throat and nose)
are shorter and more horizontal than those of
Source: Shannon Hines, M.S, http://www.momshelpmoms.com/earinfections.html
Do They Happen?
a cold or another respiratory infection, these tiny
tubes can become inflamed and swollen, trapping fluid
in the middle ear. When viruses or bacteria multiply
in the fluid, the result is a painful infection.Misalignment
of vertebrae and/or muscle spasm can press on structures
that drain the middle ear.
Source: Dr. Stu Warner, Parker Seminars, Miami, 2003
ear infections account for over 35% of all pediatrician
visits in the
United States. Sometimes these infections are due
to bacteria and sometimes these are due to a virus.
The most common medical care for this situation has
been antibiotics, even though antibiotics have no
effect on viruses.
Ladies Home Journal, October 1998 "Chiropractic
Adjustments for Chronic Ear Infections."
Is At High Risk?
Are Linked To Increase In Ear Infections...
study included 490 children under 18 months of
age who were cared for
at 14 well-baby clinics.
experimental cohort exhibited a 29% reduced risk
of acute otitis media,
compared with controls.
in both cohorts who did not use pacifiers continuously
33% fewer acute otitis media episodes than did
children who used pacifiers continuously.
Source: (Niemela M, Pihakari O, Pokka T, Uhari
M. Pacifier as a risk factor
for acute otitis media: A randomized, controlled
trial of parental counseling.
Approach to Ear Infections
Ear problems can be excruciatingly painful, especially
in children. With 10 million
new cases every year, ear infections (otitis media)
are the most common illness
affecting babies and young children and the number
one reason for visits to the pediatrician—accounting
for more than 35 percent of all pediatric visits.
half of all children will have at least one middle
ear infection before they're
a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at
least one such infection by age
3. The symptoms can include ear pain, fever, and irritability.
Otitis media can be
either bacterial or viral in origin, and frequently
results from another illness such
as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic
treatment year after year, and putting the child at
risk of permanent hearing
damage and associated speech and developmental problems.
treatment for most cases of otitis media is with antibiotics,
which can be
effective the culprit is bacterial (antibiotics, of
course, do nothing to fight
off viruses). But, according to many research studies,
antibiotics are often not
much more effective than the body's own immune system.
And repeated doses of
antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria that
scoff at the drugs, while leaving
the child screaming in pain.
ear infections are also the second most common reason
for surgery in
children under 2 (with circumcision being the first).
In severe cases—for
example, when fluids from an ear infection haven't
cleared from the ear after
several months, and hearing is affected—specialists
myringotomy and tympanostomy, more commonly known
as "ear tubes."
During the surgical procedure, a small opening is
made in the eardrum to place
a tube inside. The tube relieves pressure in the ear
and prevents repeated fluid
buildup with the continuous venting of fresh air.
In most cases, the
membrane pushes the tube out after a couple of months
and the hole in the eardrum closes. Although the treatment
is effective, it has to be repeated in some 20 to
30 percent of cases. And this kind of surgery requires
general anesthesia, never a minor thing in a small
child. If the infection persists even after tube placement
and removal, children sometimes undergo adenoidectomy
(surgical removal of the adenoids)—an option that
is effective mostly through the first year after surgery.
yet another round of "maybe-they'll-work-and-maybe-they-won't"
antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents
chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections.
Dr. Joan Fallon,
a chiropractor who practices in Yonkers, New York,
has published research
showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic
adjustments, nearly 80
percent of the children treated were free of ear infections
for at least the six-month period following their
initial visits (a period that also included maintenance
treatments every four to six weeks).
mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if
they can continue to
drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection,
they build up their own
antibodies and recover more quickly," explains
Dr. Fallon. She'd like to see her
pilot study used as a basis for larger-scale trials
of chiropractic as a therapeutic
modality for otitis media.
Fallon uses primarily upper-cervical manipulation
on children with otitis media,
focusing particularly on the occiput, or back of the
skull, and atlas, or the first vertebra in the neck.
"Adjusting the occiput, in particular, will get
the middle ear to drain. Depending on how chronic
it's been and on where they are in their cycle of
antibiotics, children generally need to get through
one bout of fluid and fight it off themselves."
That means, for the average child, between six and
eight treatments. If a child's case is acute, Dr.
Fallon will check the ear every day, using a tympanogram
to measure the ear and track the movement of the eardrum
to make sure that it's draining. "I'll do adjustments
every day or every other day for a couple of days
if they're acute, and then decrease frequency over
Fallon, whose research garnered her the acclaim of
child rearing magazines like
Parenting and Baby Talk, often sees great success
when she treats a child for otitis
media. "Once they fight it themselves, my kids
tend to do very well and stay away from ear infections
completely. Unless there are environmental factors
like smoking in the house, an abnormally shaped Eustachian
tube, or something like that, they do very well,"
she says."I have two large pediatric groups that
refer to me on a regular basis. In the winter, when
otitis is most prevalent, I see five or six new children
each week from each group," says Dr. Fallon.
"It's safe and effective and something that parents
should try, certainly before inserting tubes in their
American Chiropractic Association