Recurrent Middle Ear Infections

Recurrent middle ear infections, otitis media, occur in up to 20% of children under six.  Osteopathy is a natural, drug free treatment, which can help these children to recover quicker, and also help them to be less susceptible to subsequent infections.

Middle ear infections occur when the eustachian tube becomes blocked.  This tube runs from the ear into the back of the throat.  In children, this tube sits more horizontally than in adults.  This means that when mucous is produced in the area, it is not assisted by gravity to drain.  As the child gets older, they usually grow out of the tendency towards infection as the eustachian tube becomes more vertical. Unfortunately there may be several years of infections before this occurs.

Osteopathic treatment of recurrent ear infections is aimed at improving the drainage from the middle ear.  This is achieved by improving the function of the throat and sinus regions of the face.  Treatment can also help to calm the nervous system so that any mucous which is produced is less viscous, allowing it to be blown out the nose more easily. Moreover, osteopathic treatment may prevent or decrease the need for surgery or excess antibiotic use.

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Steele KM, Carreiro JE, Viola JH, Conte JA, Ridpath LC.

Published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association

A standardized osteopathic manipulative treatment protocol administered adjunctively with standard care for patients with acute otitis media may result in faster resolution of middle ear effusion following acute otitis media than standard treatment alone.

Mills MV, Henley CE, Barnes LL, Carreiro JE, Degenhardt BF.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003 Sep;157(9):861-6

The results of this study suggest a potential benefit of osteopathic manipulative treatment as adjuvant therapy in children with recurrent AOM; it may prevent or decrease surgical intervention or antibiotic overuse.