Treatment of Otitis Media (Middle Ear Infection) in Babies:

The first reaction one usually has is to ask: “What can a Chiropractor do for Infections in the Middle Ear?” It turns out that Chiropractic techniques are very effective at eliminating the need for continuous antibiotic therapy. We have a VERY high success rate at preventing the necessity of “installing tubes” in babies ears.

Before you can begin to understand how this can help your baby, you need to understand a bit about the basis of Chiropractic care. Virtually all functions of the human body are at some level controlled by neurological functions. That means that your nervous system, if properly working, and unimpeded, should help keep your glands, and other internal organs working at peak efficiency.

When there is some interference in nerve function, then the chemical environment in the tissues controlled by those nerves becomes out of balance, and pathological processes can start.

In the case of middle ear infections, one needs a grounding in the anatomy, physiology and neurology of the middle ear.

The innervation (nerve supply) of the tensor veli palatini (tvp) muscle (the small muscle which closes the eustacian tube in the middle ear) is through the motor fibers of the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve. These fibers unite to form portions of the superior cervical ganglion located between the C-1 and C-4 nerve roots. Neurological compromise of this muscle by osseous or soft tissue structures (meaning Subluxation) may contribute to the malfunction of the tvp muscle causing inadequate patency (opening) of the tube resulting in the pathological response of Otitis Media. Chiropractic therapy apparently improves the function of the TVP muscle.

Dr. Press has successfully treated many, many babies with chronic ear infections, and at least 80% of those patients have experienced complete relief from their symptoms.


Among the MOST significant of the numerous studies published…..
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1996 Mar-Apr;19(3):169-77. Related Articles , Links
Ear infection: a retrospective study examining improvement from chiropractic care and analyzing for influencing factors.
Froehle RM .

OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to determine (a) if the patients improved while under chiropractic care; (b) how many treatments were needed to reach improvement; and (c) which factors were associated with early improvement.

DESIGN: Cohort, nonrandomized retrospective study.

SETTING: Private chiropractic practice in a Minneapolis suburb.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-six children aged 5 yr and under.

INTERVENTION: All treatments were done by a single chiropractor, who adjusted the subluxations found and paid particular attention to the cervical vertebrae and occiput. Sacral Occipital Technique-style pelvic blocking and the doctor’s own modified applied kinesiology were also used. Typical treatment regimen was three treatments per week for 1 wk, then two treatments per week for 1 wk, then one treatment per week. However, treatment regimen was terminated when there was improvement.

OUTCOME MEASURE: 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. A data abstraction form was used to determine number of treatments used and presence of factors possibly associated with early improvement.

RESULTS: 93% of all episodes improved, 75% in 10 days or fewer and 43% with only one or two treatments. Young age, no history on 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.

CONCLUSION: Although there were several limitations to this study (mostly because of its retrospection but also, significantly, because very little data was found regarding the natural course of ear infections), this study’s data indicate that limitation of medical intervention and the addition of chiropractic care may decrease the symptoms of ear infection in young children.

PMID: 8728460 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]