Information on Treating Ear Infections

Alternative health

Chiropractic and ear infections? Here’s a small collection of interesting research on ear infections (Otitis media).

ear infection girl and dog Information on Treating Ear Infections | Denver ChiropractorFrom a Postgraduate Medicine, Oct. ’87, review article by Moshe Frenkel, M.D., Acute Otitis Media; Does Therapy Alter its Course?:

Eichenwald (1985): no bacterial cause can be identified in 1/3 of cases; spontaneous resolution in 60% within ten days of onset

Fry (1958): 85% of those not receiving antibiotics had complete resolution; no differences in recurrence or hearing loss.

Townsend (1980): study showed that a placebo-treated group had no greater incidence of recurrence, or of middle-ear effusion than an antibiotic-treated group.

Van Buchem (1981):  children with symptomatic treatment alone did as well as those treated with antibiotics and/or myringotomy (ear tubes); no differences were noted in effectiveness of pain reduction, hearing levels, or incidence of complications.

Van Buchem (1985):  in a large-scale study of 4,860 children, 90% recovered with “minimal” treatment (nose drops and analgesics)


Dr. E. Cantekin did a study of amoxicillin treatment of otitis media and fund that it was not effective for secretory otitis media (fluid behind the eardrum.)  He also found that the antibiotics Pediazole and ceflaclor were not effective.  (JAMA, Dec.  1991)

A number of recent studies have shown that for earaches, 2, 4, 5, and 7-day courses of treatment with antibiotics were just as effective as the usual 10-day course, when effective at all. (Schmidt, Beyond Antibiotics, 1993, p. 29)

A 1974 study showed that children with acute otitis media receiving antibiotics within the first few days of the illness had up to 2.9 times more recurrence that those in whom antibiotic use was delayed or avoided.  (Diamant, Arch Otolayrngol, 1974)

A 1991 article in the AMA Journal stated that children with chronic earaches who received antibiotics experienced two to six times more recurrent middle ear fluid that those receiving placebo.  (Cantekin et al, JAMA, 1991, 266(23)

A two-year study of myringotomy (surgical incision of the tympanum) and tymapanostomy (ear tubes) found that they did not alter the long-term course of otitis media; eardrum scars and tympanum thickening were 3X more frequent in the group receiving tubes. (J Laryngol. Otol. 86:881-888, 1972)

Many chiropractors and natural health doctors experts feel that recurrent upper respiratory infections, including otitis media, may be the result of allergies, including food allergies and intolerance.  Cow’s milk is the most frequently-mentioned allergen.  An ENT specialist in Florida who exclusively does tympanostomies (ear tubes) first puts all patients referred to him on a diet free of dairy products.  As a result, he claims three-fourths of them never need the tubes.  (cited in Schmidt, Beyond Antibiotics,  1993, p. 76)

Below are some great books to help you understand more about your options in helping childhood ear infections.

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Ron Spallone
Dr. Ron Spallone, DC is the chiropractic clinic director. His passion is the driving force behind Denver Chiropractor dot com. He's been a Colorado chiropractor for over 15 years.


  1. 14 July 10, 5:52am

    Generally, an ear infection is a simple, non serious condition without complications. Most children will have minor, temporary hearing loss during and right after an ear infection. This is due to fluid lingering in the ear.

    • Dr. Ron
      14 July 10, 11:12am

      Thanks. Hypertonic or spasm within the neck can cause a blocking or compression of the lymph system, thus contributing to a back up of fluid in the ear. That ‘fluid’ consists of
      partially lymph itself which is , in laymens terms, ‘gunk.’ Bacteria like gunk, they’re not dumb, they seek gunk. Soft tissue mobilization techniques can help drain the fluid, which serves as ‘food’ for the bugs. Bugs aren’t dumb either- no food? Bugs leave.

  2. 01 December 10, 5:32am

    Chiropractic treatment is a conservative, drugless approach to try if your child has a history of chronic ear infections. Chiropractic adjustments are usually painless and are not invasive, like drugs that can have harmful side effects.

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