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Childhood Earaches (acute otitis media).

What is otitis media?

It is a middle-ear inflammation, usually caused by an infection that blocks the Eustachian tube. The resulting pain is highly distressful to young children... and their parents.

Who suffers from it?

Otitis media is extremely common – seen most often in children 6 to 36 months of age. Up to one-third of the child population will have 6 or more episodes before starting school, and some can have up to 12 episodes in a year.

What should I be concerned about?

Every year in the United States, approximately 30 percent of children under age three receive antimicrobial (antibiotic) treatment for acute earache. In fact, treating earaches is the most common reason for outpatient use of antibiotics.

But scientific studies have shown little evidence of shorter duration of symptoms, fewer recurrences or better long-term outcomes for children given antibiotics for their acute otitis media than for those who did not receive the medication. Moreover, researchers have found that giving so many children so much antibiotic medication poses a serious risk to the youngsters and to their community. It promotes the emergence of strains of microbes that are resistant to the very antibiotics that are being used.

What can chiropractic do?

A chiropractic treatment plan featuring gentle adjustments and light neck massage appropriate for very young children, offers hope for comforting relief – without recourse to heavy use of antibiotics or surgery. Chiropractic upper-spine adjustments and massage of the tissue surrounding the ear can help clear the Eustachian tube blockage that causes otitis media. Dietary/nutritional guidance (such as testing for food sensitivities and vitamin deficiencies) may also be offered. The chiropractic approach is an alternative to traditional medical treatments that may be less effective and involve serious side effects.

Other Resources :

The More You Know About Pediatric Health

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More Articles on Childhood Earaches


• Lamm L, Ginter L. Otitis Media: A conservative chiropractic management protocol. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic, March 1998; vol. 5, no. 1, pp18-28.
• Froom J, Culpepper L, Jacobs M, et al. Antimicrobials for acute otitis media? A review from the International Primary Care Network. British Medical Journal 1997, vol. 315, pp98-102.
• Fallon JM . The role of the chiropractic adjustment in the care and treatment of 322 children with otitis media. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, Oct. 1997; vol. 2, no. 2, pp167-83.
• Neu HG. The crisis in antibiotic resistance. Science 1992, vol. 257, pp1036-1038.
• Kline MW, Otitis Media, in Oski, et al., Principles and practice of pediatrics, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1990.
• Browning GG. Childhood otalgia: Acute otitis media. British Medical Journal, 1990, vol. 300, p1005.

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