Natural & Alternative Treatments for Ear Infections

July 13, 2011

Middle ear infections (known as otitis media) are the number-one reason parents bring their children to the doctor and, unfortunately, over the last decade, the number of children with earaches has risen sharply.

 

An earache develops when the tissue lining the middle ear or eustachian tube swells causing the opening of the eustachian tube to become obstructed, thus preventing the middle ear from draining properly. As inflammation continues, the production of fluid increases and exerts pressure on the pain-sensitive structures of the middle ear.

 

Approximately $8 billion is spent annually on conventional medical treatments for OM including  antibiotics, antihistamines, and surgical insertion of “ear tubes”.  However, several studies have shown that for most children, drugs and surgery are not only ineffective, but these costly measures may actually predispose children to recurrences of OM. In fact, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that children who took amoxicillin (the pink, bubble-gum flavored and most commonly prescribed antibiotic for ear infections) for chronic ear infections were 2 to 6 times more likely to have a recurrence of their ear infection than those who received a sugar pill.  And, ongoing studies at the University of Pittsburgh suggest that only about 1 out of 7 children with otitis media should receive a prescription for an antibiotic.

 

Otitis media can occur when the eustachian tube is blocked or obstructed by physical or mechanical means.  Swollen tonsils or adenoids which may be caused or aggravated by allergies are one of the most commonly encountered mechanical types of blockages.  Biomechanical obstruction such as abnormal structure or function of the skull, the jaw, and especially the bones of the neck, can contribute to and often cause the development of ear infections. 

 

                                              

These biomechanical problems often develop due to positioning problems in-utero, due to birth trauma, or following a prolonged or difficult labor and delivery, which may in turn result in swelling, muscle spasm, decreased circulation, decreased motion, and even misalignment of the spinal bones in the neck relative to one another (called a subluxation).  Believe it or not, these effects can go undetected for months or years unless your child has a chiropractic check-up.

 

In fact, Gottfried Gutmann, M.D., one of Europe’s most prominent researchers in the field of physical medicine, has found that one of the most common consequences of these upper neck