Can Chiropractic Adjustments Help Decrease The Incidence Of Otitis Media?

Melissa D. Sonners, DC, CACCP



While there are different types of ear infections, Otitis Media, meaning infection and inflammation of the inner ear is the most common. Otitis media affects three out of four children by the time they reach age three making it the most common illness in babies and young children1. Due to their developing immune system, children are more prone to getting illnesses and infections. Other contributing factors to the high incidence of ear infections in children can include; pacifier use, exposure to tobacco smoke, exposure to other children with illnesses such as in daycare centers, colds, food sensitivities and allergies.

Traditional treatment of otitis media has involved antibiotic therapy. Unfortunately some of the bacteria that can cause otitis media have become resistant to antibiotic due to the overuse of antibiotics for colds and other viral infections3. When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, those treatments are then less effective against infections. This means that several different antibiotics may have to be tried before an ear infection clears. Antibiotics may also produce unwanted side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and rashes.3 Antibiotic therapy has been shown to provide little clinical benefit while promoting bacterial resistance. When antibiotics were started immediately symptoms were reduced by one days duration but not until after the first 24 hours when symptoms were already improving2.


To examine the effectiveness of chiropractic care as an alternative in relieving ear infections and improving overall health and well being in the pediatric population.

Clinical Feature:

Two sisters, Sister A, a two year old and sister B, one year old were brought to our office for chiropractic evaluation and care. They had both been suffering from chronic ear infections since birth. Both girls were on inhalers and allergy medicine and were sick every week, according to mom. With each ear infection they were treated with one to three rounds of antibiotics which gave them diarrhea, vomiting and diaper rash. The girls pediatrician recommended tubes be put in their ears. Their parents decided to try chiropractic.


The girls were both seen once a week for nine weeks and then every other week for eight weeks. The chiropractor assessed the children using motion palpation and Sacro-occipital technique. Chiropractic examination revealed the following subluxation patterns in sister A; C1, C3, C7, T4, T6, T12, L1 and L5. Chiropractic analysis of sister B revealed vertebral subluxation complex of C1, C2, C5, T3, L2 and S2. A high velocity low amplitude thrust was applied to vertebral subluxations in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine.


Both patients response to care was positive. After the first three visits the patient’s mother reported noticing that both girls had less mucus coming out of their noses and their eyes seemed clearer. At the end of the nine weeks both patients had not had any ear infections or colds. After sixteen weeks of care the patient’s conditions had completely resolved. Mom reported noticing a big change in both of her daughters. They made it through allergy season for the first time without any medications. No sick doctors visits were warranted. She also noted that sister A’s eyes looked much healthier and sister B’s digestion had become more regular than ever before.


Although it is challenging to prove prevention, it appears that both girls for the first time got through cold season without any ear infections. It is important to note the other changes noted by the patients’ mother. Improved digestion, less mucus and clearer eyes are all indications of improved health and well being. By removing nervous system interference the chiropractic adjustments helped restore health in these two sisters. Chiropractors are trained in specific techniques that can improve symptoms of ear infections by increasing drainage, removing any excess pressure on the Eustachian tubes caused by a neuro-muskuloskeletal misalignment.


In both cases chiropractic adjustments were shown to improve health. Chiropractic care is an effective and natural option for parents seeking relief for their children suffering from ear infections. Due to the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, other options should be researched before prescribing antibiotics for otitis media.