Otitis Media and Chiropractic

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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Chiropractic Research Results for Otitis Media

Resolution of Recurrent Acute Otitis Media in a Child
Undergoing Chiropractic Care: A Case Report

J Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics 2015; 15 (1) ~ FULL TEXT

23-month-old female presenting with 6 acute otitis media episodes since the age of 6 months. Current allopathic treatment consists of antibiotic therapy but episodes of otitis media are still recurrent. The patient received 6 full spine diversified chiropractic adjustments with myofascial release of cervical muscles and effleurage of the frontal and maxillary sinuses over the course of one month. Treatment protocol was then changed to 1 visit per 2 weeks, 1 visit per month and lastly, prevention visits at 1 visit per 2 months or whenever the patient presented with cold symptoms. During the year following the first chiropractic treatment, the patient continued chiropractic care every two months and has had no reoccurrence of AOM.

Otitis Media and Spinal Manipulative Therapy:
A Literature Review

J Chiropractic Medicine 2012 (Sep); 11 (3): 160–169 ~ FULL TEXT

From the studies found in this report, there was limited quality evidence for the use of SMT for children with OM. There are currently no evidence to support or refute using SMT for OM and no evidence to suggest that SMT produces serious adverse effects for children with OM. It is possible that some children with OM may benefit from SMT or SMT combined with other therapies. More rigorous studies are needed to provide evidence and a clearer picture for both practitioner and patients.

Resolution of Conductive Hearing Loss Due to Otitis Media
After Chiropractic Treatment

J Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics 2011 (Dec); 12 (2) ~ FULL TEXT

A 6-year-old male with recurring otitis media and conductive hearing loss was successfully managed using chiropractic adjustments. This may suggest a role for chiropractic care the management of otitis media with conductive hearing loss. Further research is necessary to examine this in more detail.

Resolution of Otitis Media in a Nine Month Old Undergoing
Chiropractic Care: A Case Study and Selective
Review of the Literature

J Pediatr Matern Fam Health 2010 (Jun 21): 99–106

Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated according to the findings of subluxation. The study reports that by the second week of care the young boy's mother reported that the child was pulling at his right ear and was not sleeping well. Upon examination, both ears were clear, with some wax but no fluid. By the third week of chiropractic care the child stopped pulling on his ears and seemed to be doing well.

Chiropractic Treatment of Otitis Media with Effusion:
A Case Report

Clinical Chiropractic 2004 (Dec); 7 (4): 168–173

The patient was treated 4 times using cervical paediatric adjusting. Activator technique was applied to the thoracic region. Discharge from the ears disappeared immediately after the first visit. An improvement in hearing was identified at a hearing test 3 months after cessation of chiropractic care.

A Feasibility Study of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation
Versus Sham Spinal Manipulation for Chronic
Otitis media with Effusion in Children

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Jun); 22 (5): 292–298 ~ FULL TEXT

This study also demonstrated the feasibility of our study treatment procedures. Patient/parent compliance with the treatment protocol was excellent; 10 chiropractic treatment visits over a 4-week period is a feasible and realistic commitment that can be expected of patients and parents. Patients tolerated the treatments well, with only minimal, self-limiting side effects (ie, back soreness). In addition, parents and chiropractors were willing to participate in a study with a placebo or sham treatment group, as long as patients were allowed access to regular medical care and active treatment was offered to those who received the placebo after study completion.

The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Care and
Treatment of 332 Children with Otitis Media

J Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics 1997 (Oct); 2 (2): 167–183

To our knowledge this is the first time that tympanography has been used as an objectifying tool with respect to the efficacy of the chiropractic adjustment in the treatment of children with otitis media. The results indicate that there is a strong correlation between the chiropractic adjustment and the resolution of otitis media for the children in this study. This pilot study can now serve as a starting point from which the chiropractic profession can begin to examine its role in the treatment of children with otitis media.

Ear Infection: A Retrospective Study Examining Improvement
from Chiropractic Care and Analyzing Influencing Factors

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1996 (Mar); 19 (3): 169–177

93% of all episodes improved, 73% in 10 days or fewer and 43% with only one or two treatments. Young age, no history of antibiotic use, initial episode (vs. recurrent) and designation of an episode as discomfort rather than ear infection were factors associated with improvement with the fewest treatments. Improvement was based on parental decision (they stated that the child had no fever, no signs of ear pain, and was totally asymptomatic), and/or the child seemed to be asymptomatic to the treating DC and/or the parent stated that the child's MD judged the child to be improved.

Vertebral Subluxation and Otitis Media: A Case Study
Chiro: The J of Chiro Res and Clin Inves 1992; 8 (2): 38–40

In this case, a 23-month old female with chronic otitis media who has undergone traditional medical treatment with no relief of symptoms finds sustained improvement with chiropractic care. A mechanism for the etiology of chronic otitis media is suggested.

Otitis Media in Young Children
Chiro: The J of Chiro Res & Clin Invest 1989; 2 (1): 9–13

This explores the current medical literature on otitis media. Utilizing the information gathered from this literature search, a research study is being developed to test the hypothesis that chiropractic adjustments of the cervical region may effect a resolution of acute and chronic otitis media. The authors review anatomy of the ear and current medical treatment of otitis media and propose a hypothesis for future chiropractic clinical research.

Otitis Media: “The Miracle Cure”
Peter N. Fysh, D.C. ~ “Kids Need Chiropractic, Too!”

Jenny, age 3-years, presents with chronic recurrent otitis media. The problem has been a difficult one since the first year of her life. Frequent earaches and six trips to the emergency room in just the past five months is straining her parents' patience, not to mention the effect it is having on young Jenny. Consistent courses of different antibiotics have not been able to arrest the problem, and now tympanostomy tubes are being considered. At the recommendation of some friends, Jenny's parents bring her to the chiropractor.


Other Management Approaches for Otitis Media

Are Antibiotics Indicated as Initial Treatment for Children
with Acute Otitis Media? A Meta-analysis

British Medical Journal 1997 (May 24); 314 (7093): 1526–1529 ~ FULL TEXT

Early use of antibiotics provides only modest benefit for acute otitis media: to prevent one child from experiencing pain by 2-7 days after presentation, 17 children must be treated with antibiotics early.

Otitis Media and the Sanctity of Medical Guidelines
Dynamic Chiropractic (January 1, 2001)

Within recent times, however, we need only consider otitis media as an example of the extreme volatility of medical guidelines. A complete reversal appears to have taken place within just the past six years! Traditionally, the initial recommended intervention in the United States has been tympanostomy with the option to use antibiotics, [4] despite that in the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands, physicians have embarked upon a policy of watchful waiting with no deleterious consequences from their reluctance to use antibiotics. [5]


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Updated 7-21-2022

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