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A Natural Solution for Ear Infections


It is that time of year again and all you have to do is start asking parents about ear infections and their experiences and you will hear one horror story after another.


Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

It is time to start thinking about how we have been handling this epidemic.  It is my understanding that if we continue to keep doing the same thing (treating a condition the same way) and expect a different result, then that makes us INSANE.  Either way, children should NOT have to suffer with ear infections.  There is a SAFE, NATURAL and EFFECTIVE approach.  There is another way.

  • Ear Infections known as Acute Otitis Media is the most common reason for trips to the pediatrician and emergency room for children.
  • Statistics show that 8 out of 10 children suffer from ear infections.
  • It is estimated that more than 35 million visits are made each year to deal with this issue.
  • The diagnosis and treatment of ear infections has risen nearly 60% in the last 20 years.
  • The word Otitis means “Inflammation of the Ear” and NOT infection.

Ear Infections are characterized by an earache, pressure in the ear and even trouble hearing because of the buildup of fluid.  Keep in mind that teething can also mimic many of these expressions, so please carefully evaluate the situation before jumping to any conclusions.

For the last 40 years (or more) the treatment for one of the most common childhood infections has been the savior ANTIBIOTICS.  However, this method of treatment might not be the answer.  (You would think that after 40 years we might be able to get ear infections under control, especially if antibiotics actually worked effectively.)

Are Antibiotics Helping OR Hurting?

Antibiotics can be very beneficial if used correctly for bacterial infections and NOT viral infections.

The problem we are seeing is that antibiotics are not being used correctly.  Antibiotic resistant bacteria are one of the fastest growing and greatest concerns in the health fields.  Research attributes much of this problem to the over prescription and over use of antibiotics for ear infections.  Basically, bacteria are adapting and evolving and are becoming resistant to antibiotics.  Because of this abuse, stronger antibiotics are needed, which is just leading to more and more resistance.  Eventually, antibiotics will be useless when necessary for “run of the mill” surgical procedures and to fight of life threatening bacterial infections.

Another concern is that numerous studies reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, etc, have shown antibiotics to be ineffective, and inappropriate for the treatment of ear infections.  Bottom line, antibiotics are not effective and they don’t work to correct the problem.  This is the exact reason why children are on frequent rounds of antibiotics with each one stronger than the last.  Sure, the infection goes away for a couple of weeks, but it quickly returns with a vengeance, and so begins the antibiotic/ear infection roller coaster.

Why Antibiotics do more Harm than Good

First off, antibiotics kill off most bacteria in the body including the helpful ‘good’ bacteria our bodies need.  This depletes our children’s natural immune systems, making them vulnerable to many more infections of varying types.  This depletion of the good bacteria (probiotics/prebiotics) not only leaves a child susceptible to future infections, but also destroys the gut (gastrointestinal tract) which plays a huge role in absorption and elimination as well as immunity.  Now these children not only have issues with fighting off infection, but they also become constipated and have digestive issues.

Second, antibiotics are only meant to treat the symptom and cover it up.  They have no use in actually correcting the problem or addressing the cause.  That is exactly why ear infections return and multiple rounds of antibiotics are given to children like they are guinea pigs.

Furthermore, research has demonstrated that up to 70% of ear aches are caused by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics.  Even with this statistic, antibiotics are still prescribed the majority of the time.  Why?  Because most pediatricians look in the ear and see inflammation.  They have a mother sitting in front of them expecting a solution and their only tool in their tool kit is an antibiotic.  Not to mention the profit of sales of antibiotics and treatment for ear infections exceeds 2 billion dollars per year.

What is the Cause?

The real question that needs to be asked is, what is the CAUSE?  The truth is that ear infections are quite simply an expression of a greater issue. Most ear infections are the EFFECT of inflammation (remember Otitis?).  The word Otitis means “Inflammation of the Ear” and NOT infection.

When the ear becomes inflamed because of of a cold, teething, another infection or due to a compromised immune system the ear will look red.  That is NOT necessarily an infection.  That is inflammation.  When inflamed, a child will have a lack of drainage and fluid will build up.  The stagnant fluid therefore becomes a perfect breeding ground for infection.  Where do you want to hang out if you are a virus?  In a damp, dark place.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 11.27.06 PMThe obvious question from most parents now is,  “What can we do?”  The answer lies in a new level of “inside out”, conscious and logical thinking that goes against the mainstream “outside in” irrational approach.

As Asheville’s Certified Pediatric Chiropractor, my primary objective is to address the health and happiness of a child by evaluating the root cause of the problem by working with the body from the inside out.  Treating and covering up symptoms with an outside in approach, as alluded to earlier, has been proven ineffective at the very best.  When dealing with your children and their ear infections, my goal is to correct the actual cause, and to allow them to heal and be happy.

Nerdy Neurology

Think of the Central Nervous System as the electrical wiring in your home.  The spine is the fuse box and nerves exit the spine and innervate every organ, gland, cell and tissue in the body.  The nerves of the upper neck (cervical spine) are the nerves that control the muscles and function of the ear, which includes balance, coordination, conduction and hearing.

More specifically, there is a direct link between the nerves in the neck (the superior cervical ganglion), the  muscles of the eustachian tubes (tensor veli palatini) and the middle ear.

Let me explain: The middle ear drains any fluid through the eustachian tubes.  These tubes open and close through the action of a muscle, which is controlled by a nerve.  This nerve originates in the neck.  When this nerve is not functioning properly or there is a “blown fuse” known as a SUBLUXATION, the tensor veli pallatini muscle may go into spasm, which constricts the eustachian tube, restricting drainage and causing fluid build up in the middle ear.  This fluid, combined with a stressed immune system, is a perfect breeding ground for infection to settle in.
The effects of Subluxation (blown fuse) on the upper cervical spine.

The effects of Subluxation (blown fuse) on the upper cervical spine.

Ultimately then, this “blown fuse” or interference on the nervous system (subluxation) can cause your children to be susceptible and to suffer with ear infections.  My job as a pediatric chiropractor is to evaluate for a blown fuse known as subluxation, and correct it.  A subluxation is a misalignment and a fixation of the vertebra in the spine that cuts of the flow of a nerve (blown fuse) causing dysfunction.

Where does SUBLUXATION come from?

Subluxation is caused by more stress than your child can handle, which results in a protective sympathetic dominant or fight/flight response.   The stress that causes subluxation is known as the 3 T’s: Traumas, Toxins and Thoughts (Negative).

Just ask yourself if the stress that your child has been through was enough to misalign the spine physically?  If the answer is yes, then your child is most likely subluxated.  OR, was it enough emotional or chemical stress to cause a protective neuromuscular response that could intern cause tension and spasm within the muscles that protect the spine, thus misaligning and fixating the spine?  Again, if you even have to ask yourself “was it enough stress to elicit a protective response and misalign the spine?”, then you already know the answer.

Keep in mind, it does NOT take a lot of stress or force to cause Subluxation, especially in a child.  It takes the weight of a dime to subluxate or “blow a fuse” within the central nervous system.

Examples of the stress that causes SUBLUXATION:

  • Trauma or physical stress causes include slips and falls, accidents intrauterine constraints, dystocia and birth trauma.
  • Formula, drugs (antibiotics),  vaccines and poor diet are examples of chemical or toxic causes of subluxations.
  • Stress, anger, neglect and fear are examples of emotional or negative thoughts that cause subluxations.

BUT, in regard to ear infections, the number one cause of Subluxation affecting the majority of all children that I see is from traumatic birth.

The twisting and pulling on the head and upper neck is easily enough force to shift the spine out of alignment and cause Subluxation.  A c-section for example puts up to 80 pounds of axial pressure on the head and neck, not to mention the twisting and yanking.  Even certain positioning in utero or a natural birth process can be traumatic, so having your child evaluated shortly after birth is of vital importance.  Also, being adjusted during pregnancy can help to lesson the stress on the mother and child throughout prenatal development and during the birth process, resulting in an easier, faster and more successful delivery.

Note:  Tympanostomy, or tubes in the ear, fails many times at reducing the occurrence of ear infections, and may be associated with long term hearing loss.


Correcting the cause through chiropractic care has been shown to help over 80% of all children suffering with ear infections.

By correcting the subluxation “blown fuse” with a SAFE, SPECIFIC and EFFECTIVE adjustment, a child with ear infections can begin the healing process from the inside out.  The interference on the nervous system will be removed, the inflammation will be reduced and the ear will drain appropriately.  The child can finally begin meeting their full potential and ultimately the little one will be healthier and happier without the need for drugs, antibiotics or invasive and traumatic surgery (tubes).

Give your children a fighting chance with chiropractic.  It could change your lives!

For more on the bigger picture check out the book Indifference:  Why Our Children Are So Sick

Much love and good vibes~
Dr. Derek
One Love Chiropractic
Asheville’s Certified Pediatric and Prenatal Chiropractor


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