For many families, ear infections are a normal occurrence. Some kids get them only a few times during childhood, while others get them several times a year. The most common ages for kids to get ear infections is between birth and 6 years, although older kids and even adults can suffer from them as well.

Ear infections are medically known as otitis media, and they can be bacterial or viral in nature. Many ear infections are treated with antibiotics, although viral ear infections often don’t respond to these types of medication. Additionally, antibiotics can bring about some undesirable side effects, particularly in children, and they don’t actually get to the root cause of the ear infections or keep them from reoccurring.

Although nearly half a million kids have tubes put in their ears each year to help with ear infections, this procedure can come with a number of risks, and it’s not always effective in the long run either. Thankfully, pediatric chiropractic is a safe, effective, and natural solution that has brought ear infection relief to many adults and children alike.


What Causes Ear Infections?

Ear infections typically stem from a blockage in and/or inflammation of the Eustachian tubes. These are tiny tubes that run between the middle ear and the back of the throat. They are responsible for proper drainage in the area. In adults, these tubes are tilted diagonally, allowing for optimal draining of fluids. But in kids, the Eustachian tubes are nearly parallel, leading to poor drainage and a higher likelihood of blockage. That blockage can irritate the Eustachian tubes and lead to inflammation, which eventually leads to an ear infection.

This lack of drainage and other problems that lead to ear infections is most commonly affected by the position of the Atlas vertebra, which is the top vertebra that sits atop the rest of the spine. When it is shifted or twisted even the tiniest bit, it can cause dysfunction in the Eustachian tubes and lead to recurring ear infections. In fact, when misaligned, the Atlas bone can actually block the tubes and create a backup of fluid. This pooling of fluid is what leads to the growth of bacteria, and subsequent inflammation.


How Does Chiropractic Help Ear Infections?

When a child begins chiropractic care and a primary complaint is ear infections, the chiropractor will first look at the Atlas vertebra. More often than not, the child will have a misaligned Atlas that can be gently and safely adjusted back to its proper alignment. While this can not only clear up any current ear infections, it also drastically reduces the recurrence of future ear infections since the root cause of the infection has now been remedied.

If you or your child have been dealing with recurring ear infections, or if you have dealt with one that was enough to send you to the doctor for relief, consider neurologically-based chiropractic care from Dr. Shane Hoffman of Thrive Family Chiropractic. Dr. Hoffman serves the Des Moines and Urbandale area with a passion for chiropractic and improving the lives of his community members. Contact the team at Thrive Family Chiropractic to learn more about how chiropractic can help you.



Korn, C. & Stone-McCoy, P. “Resolution of Otitis Media & Avoidance of Tympanostomy Tubes in a 16-Month Old with Birth Trauma Following Subluxation Based Care: A Case Study and Selective Review of Literature.” J. Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, May 2013: (39-46).

Pohlman, K. A., & Holton-Brown, M. S. (2012). “Otitis media and spinal manipulative therapy: a literature review.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 11(3): 160–169.



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