Updated: Jun 15
More than 80% of children will experience at least one ear infection before they are three years old. Ear infections are one of the top reasons that parents seek medical treatment for their children; they cause fever, irritability and ear pain. The pain can be almost unbearable, making most children downright miserable and often screaming endlessly in agony.
An ear infection, also known as otitis media, is caused by fluid build-up behind the eardrum that results in inflammation. According to the Center for Disease Control, antibiotics are not a recommended treatment for most ear infections. (1)
The CDC also says most mild ear infections will resolve on their own in 2-3 days, however pediatricians see many children who suffer from chronic and severe infections resulting most commonly in tubes being put in surgically after several rounds of antibiotics. (2)
Even with the data from the CDC, the most common medical treatment of ear infections are antibiotics, which are controversial for serval reasons:
Most ear infections are viral, making antibiotics useless.
Many bacterial strains like Streptococcus pneumoniae that can cause ear infections are penicillin resistant (because of antibiotic overuse) and therefore stronger broad-spectrum antibiotics must be used, which do more harm to the body.
Antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bacteria, but the good bacteria in the body as well, and in kiddos this can mean the start to some serious health issues.
Antibiotics don’t relive pain, which is the worst symptom for the child enduring an ear infection, and for the parents watching over and caring for the child.
Really, antibiotics during the child’s first few years are life should be avoided unless it is a life or death scenario, simply because their immune systems are still developing. By using antibiotics as a ‘scorched earth’ approach, a child’s immunocompetency can be set back and potentially start them down a long road of health problems. Research shows that children who take antibiotics have a higher rate of reoccurring infections. (2)
Besides the conservative “wait and see” approach recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians, (2) there are natural options for treating ear infections as well.
Chiropractors have long known that children with ear infections respond very favorably, often cutting the infection time down, and more importantly seeing fewer reoccurring infections.
In fact, this is now shown in research as a very effective way to help your child and their immune system. A study in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics was done on
332 children with chronic ear infections who received Chiropractic care. Nearly 80% of them experienced no ear infections within the six-month period following their initial visits. (3)
A second study showed 46 children who were suffering from ear infections and received Chiropractic care. 93% of all episodes improved, 75% in 10 days or fewer, and 43% with only one or two visits. (4)
One of my favorite studies, being a family-focused wellness Chiropractor, is a study that compared 200 children under Chiropractic care to 200 children under conventional medical care. The Chiropractic group had fewer ear infections as well as overall better health. (5) That is so cool! Not only did they get less ear infections, but they also saw improved objective measurements of overall health! I, of course, see this in my practice members’ families and kiddos all the time, but to have it validated in evidence-based research is really important for the profession and the public.
Personally, and professionally, this is my passion: to keep my family and the families in my community as healthy as possible, as naturally as possible. Antibiotics save lives, but we can’t keep running to our pediatricians every time Sally and Johnny have a sniffling nose or ear infection. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) says that antibiotic resistant strains of Bactria are one of the biggest risks to our civilization! Imagine a healthcare system and society that no longer has medicine that works, it would be chaos! (6)
Luckily, we are not there yet, but if I can help more families avoid antibiotics with neurologically-based Chiropractic care, I’ve done my job. Not only do I see fewer reoccurring ear infections in my practice members, but less sick days, more focus, less brain fog and an overall stronger and more resilient immune system – simply by correcting any misalignments I find in there spine with gentle and specific adjustments that remove interference from the nervous system and allow it to control the body’s organ systems more efficiently and effectively!
1). Ear Infection | Community | Antibiotic Use | CDC
2) Antibiotics For Ear Infections in Children
3) JRNL OF CLINICAL CHIRO PEDIATRICS Fallon, J. D.C. "The Role of Chiropractic in the Care of 332 Children with Otitis Media" 97, Oct 2 p.167
4) Frohle, R.M. "Ear infection: A study Examining Improvement From Chiropractic Care". J. Manipulative Physiol. Ther. 1996 Mar.19(3):169-77.
5) Van Breda, W., & Van Breda, J.A. (1989). “A Comparative Study of the Health Status of Children Raised Under the Health Care Models of Chiropractic and Allopathic Medicine". J. Chirop Res. 1989;5(4):101-103