OTITIS MEDIA AND CHIROPRACTIC CARE

(Ear Infection)

Earache is a very common childhood problem. In his book Childhood Ear Infections 1, Dr. Michael A. Schmidt states that middle ear inflammation is the number one childhood problem in America, accounting for approximately one-third of all pediatric visits. He goes on to say that by age three, more than two-thirds of all children have one or more episodes of acute otitis media (middle ear inflammation). What can chiropractic care do for this common problem?

The Medical Approach

The usual medical treatment for a child's earache is a prescription of antibiotics, but despite the vast increase in their use, the incidence of middle ear infections has been rising sharply. It seems that the use of antibiotics not only does not shorten the duration of the disease, but leads to resistant strains of bacteria, super-infection and allergic reactions. Recurrences of earaches in children may be due, in part, to how they are commonly treated. The Doctor's People, a popular consumer medical newsletter, states:

“Giving the child aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to ease the discomfort actually may lead to more infection, which in turn may take longer to heal. If Cortisone is used (in a nasal spray, for instance), the child's supply of zinc may be depleted, and he'll be less capable of fighting off future infections.” 2

More and more medical authorities are pointing out the dangers of the drug approach to childhood infection.

The Surgical Approach

The pain of a child with an earache is certainly apparent, and any adult who remembers such problems will attest to the fact. Actually, there is a fluid build-up in the middle ear, which creates pressure and pain. Tympanostomy, the procedure or puncturing the eardrum and placing a tube in the ear, is often prescribed as a last-resort measure for chronic earaches. However, this procedure is wrought with many risks and side effects. In his book, Dr. Mendelssohn, a prominent pediatrician, wrote:

“Controlled studies have shown that when both ears are infected, and a tube is inserted in only one of them, the outcome for both ears is almost identical. Meanwhile, the procedure itself carries many risks and side effects. Justified as a means of preventing hearing loss, tympanostomy can cause scarring and hardening of the eardrum, with resulting hearing loss. Incredibly, one of the side effects of this procedure, performed to cure recurrent otitis media, is acute otitis media.” 3

Yes, this surgical procedure has many problems and often creates more of that which it was intended to cure.
“So what's a mother to do?”

The Chiropractic Approach

First of all, let us recognize that the problem is not just an infection. Sometimes there is no infection at all. The problem is really internal malfunction. Something is not functioning correctly in the child's body, allowing for a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. The chiropractic opinion is that the nerve supply to the middle ear is disturbed by misalignments (subluxations) of the upper cervical vertebrae in the child's spine. This in turn may interfere with the child's lymphatic drainage system and lead to a build-up of pressure and resultant infection.

Most people realize that a child's neck is very vulnerable to jolts and jars and, especially with infants, we must always be on guard to prevent injury to this area of the spine. Recent research in Germany has shown that the nerve interference in the neck can lead to children having a lower resistance to infection, especially ear, nose and throat infections. Dr. Gutman stated:

“Blocked nerve impulses at the atlas cause many clinical features from central motor impairment to lower resistance to infections.” 4

Subluxations of the cervical spine, especially the atlas (the very top of the vertebrae), can lead to lowered tissue resistance and infection.

Chiropractors have always directed their concern to cause. Where medicine seeks to control the infection, chiropractic asks “Why?” Why does one child in the family have the problem and not the others? Why is it commonly in one ear and not the other? The answer to these and many other problems is found in nerve interference in the spine. Chiropractic patients across the nation can attest to the effectiveness of chiropractic care in many conditions that defy conventional medical treatment.

Remember, too, that when undergoing chiropractic care for persistent and chronic problems, you must give nature time to heal. Chiropractic spinal adjustments endeavor to restore proper nerve supply. Once restored, the body must then respond, build up its own resistance and restore its own normal function. When accomplished, healing takes place. Going to a chiropractor is not like popping a pill. It is no quick fix. Rather, it is a restoration of proper function, which leads to health. So if your child suffers from ear infection, why not consider the drugless, bloodless methods of chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care goes well beyond the effectiveness alleviation of backaches. Consider our natural alternative to health problems. The results are often very gratifying.

reference:
1. Childhood Ear Infections, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA
2. The Doctor's People, A Medical Newsletter for Consumers, Vol. 4, #1, Jan. 1991.
3. How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D.
4. Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome, Gutmann, I.C.A. Review