Recurring Ear Infections: A Family Determined to Prevent Surgery


Since December 18, 2012, our now ten-month-old daughter has suffered from five ear infections and has had an allergic reaction to two out of the five antibiotics.

To say the least, the past two months have been very upsetting, tiresome, stressful and draining for our entire family.

This past week my frustration hit a breaking point when she developed yet another ear infection and the pediatrician and her ENT specialist shrugged their shoulders and said, “Let’s give it a few more weeks and see what happens.”

When they spoke those words, I decided to take matters into my own hands as her mother. After hours of research, asking friends and family and even speaking with both of her doctors, my husband and I decided to call a chiropractor in our town to see if he could treat our daughter for recurring ear infections. After spending over twenty minutes on the phone speaking with the chiropractor about our daughter’s situation and feeling comfortable with his success rate, we will now be taking her three times a week to his office.  He said we should notice a difference in two to six sessions, which equals no more than two weeks!

While we are still cautious about bringing her to a chiropractor at such an early age, it’s worth the risk in hopes that this will prevent the need for surgery.

Next week we will be bringing her back to the pediatrician to assess the fluid in her ears (she’s currently being treated for yet another ear infection). If some of the fluid in the ears has properly drained, then we will know this is working!


I am going to continue writing about our journey towards (hopefully) preventing surgery and will be sure to keep readers informed. I hope that if you ever have to experience what we are going through, then you will be that much more prepared to make a decision on treatment.

Stay tuned and please share if you have ever taken your child to a chiropractor. No one in either of our families has ever been to one so this is very new to us.


14 comments on “Recurring Ear Infections: A Family Determined to Prevent Surgery”

  1. I think part of the ear infection-fluid-ENT cycle is that as a parent, with every cold, you think it’s an ear infection and go to the doctor who then, seeing a red ear, will prescribe antibiotics. Many cases are viral and if you do watch and wait (giving adequate pain control, assuming that your child is developing normally and you have no concerns for hearing loss, poor speech, etc), things would get better. As a new pediatrician, I definitely had parents (whose children had frequent ear infections) who would run in at the first sign of a cold and of course, when I looked, there was fluid or the ear was pink, etc and we gave antibiotics. Why? Because of parent anxiety, the child’s history, etc. Having 3 children, I have treated an ear infection in our family 0 times. How many times have they been sick? A million. Why haven’t I treated them? Probably because I have only looked at their ears few times since they usually got better after 2-3 days of just tylenol/motrin! Perhaps why the chiropractor route is so successful is because they aren’t overtreating like we are…..

  2. I haven’t had to take my son to a chiropractor yet, but would in a heartbeat if he was having chronic ear infections. My close friend has a daughter who had back to back ear infections for months, and to avoid excessive antibiotics and possible surgery she used a chiropractor and it worked well. I know it does not work for every case, but I think it’s definitely worth pursuing as an alternative to surgery. I have seen a chiropractor for years, and found it especially helpful when I was recovering from labor – as well as during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I am really curious to see how it goes – thank you for keeping us updated. It’s an important topic and I think more people should be aware of alternate treatments (and these are treatments that have been used for years and are supported by many pediatricians and ENT’s as supplements to regular care).

    1. Thanks Kate! I agree, we as parents need to know there are more options other than surgery. Our daughter went to the doctors on Saturday because she was pulling on ears, but guess what…no infection and no fluid in her ears! This is the first time in months! 🙂 I will keep everyone posted.

  3. I haven’t taken my baby to the chiropractor (yet), but I go on a regular basis. It has helped my sinus issues immensely (and my sciatica when I was pregnant). My sister has taken both her daughters to a chiropractor for ear infections, but it only helped the oldest. I think chiropractic care is like any other treatment — keep an open mind but ask lots of questions and don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with! Lastly, insurance usually covers a set number of visits with a copay.

    1. Thanks Alissa, yes i agree open mind and ask lots of questions. Our chiro. Is wonderful, doesnt proclaim he knows everything and values and respects the PCP role. Wish other chiros. Were like him.

  4. Forgive me if I asked this already, but does your baby drink a bottle of milk while lying down? MYS-27 had lots of ear infections as a wee one, and it turned out there was something structural that allowed the milk he was drinking to go into his ears and feed the earache monster!

    I have one caution — and I have to warn you, I’m a lover of medication, so we may not be on the same page here. My cautionary tale is that the very same MYS-27 was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder when he was 10 or 11 years old (which is about the earliest it can be diagnosed). The theory offered to me by people who know about these things was that having a lot of ear infections meant he wasn’t hearing the way he should — kind of like hearing underwater. That in turn causes the important nerve endings in the brain to not be stimulated properly in the younger years, and that leads to the auditory processing disorder. It’s really like having immature nerve endings that didn’t grow along with the rest of him. One good thing is that it’s one of the few learning disabilities that speech/language therapy really helps to fix — you can still stimulate those nerve endings later and get them to grow. I am oversimplifying but that’s basically how it works.

    There were many times he had no pain with the infections but still had the fluid in his ears that muted sounds. I would take him to the pediatrician for something else routine, and they would say, “Oh my, he has a big old ear infection!” when they looked in his ears. I had no idea.

    I don’t mean to scare you AT ALL, Melissa, and I hope I didn’t. I’m just sharing my story. MYS-27 is now a successful manufacturing engineer who hears just fine and recently got engaged to a smart and beautiful physician’s assistant. He is a wonderful loving and exuberant person. The auditory processing disorder of his youth could not keep his spirits down!

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you that prolonged fluid in the ear is a problem that can lead to developmentl delays. If she keeps on having fluid in the ears despite seeing a chiro. We would def. do the tubes. I am in weekly commnication with her doctor and ENT and we all agree if it doesnt get better in a month or two, we will do tubes. Also, on a side note, she went to drs. Yesterday and not only did she not have an infection, but she did not have fluid in the ear! Her first time in over two months! So fingers crossed this week continues the positive momentum. 🙂

      1. I’m glad you took my comment in a positive light. I was worried that I made everything sound so dire. Btw, no one ever suggested tubes for my kid — maybe we would have had less angst in the middle school years if they had.

        Also forgot to tell you that my grandson went to the chiropractor for a wee adjustment at TWO WEEKS OLD!! It was meant to help him make the transition from being all folded up in the womb to being out in the world. As he is now a wonderful adorable 6 month old, it certainly did him no harm and probably enhanced his adorability.

  5. Hi Alison, thanks for your comment. We actually consulted with both her ENT and her PCP prior to selecting the chiro. I dont think its doing her immune system any good being on medication for 50 out of the past 80 days. We are open to all forms of potential alternative treatment prior to surgery. Please feel free to share if you have any 🙂

  6. As a board certified pediatrician, I am uncomforable with this post. I have no problem with my patients seeking alternative medicine as long as it is not harmful (and doesn’t cost too much money “out of pocket”=insurance doesn’t cover) However, there is no evidence that “alignment” (or anything chiropractors do that including “devices”) works and can actually be harmful (from Web MD: Although rare, there have been cases in which treatment worsened a herniated or slipped disc, or neck manipulation resulted in stroke or spinal cord injury). This was an interesting post I read on one of my medical blogs where chiropractors teach how to undermine pediatrician credibility ( ) I suggest you read it and see if your chiropractor made any of these statements. Also, remember that many “ear infections” are just viral infections and tend to be overtreated with antibiotics.

    1. Also, thanks for the website link. I see our daughters ENT, chiro and PCP as a team, with PCP being the main, followed by ENT, then chirco. In addition, if she gets another ear infection, i think we are going to do the two day wait and treat with motrin and see if it gets better on its own.

  7. I myself have not used one for me or my child but a family friend swears by one for her kids ear infections. Since they have been going that have not had any at all. From what I have heard, the one they use doesn’t actual touch the children. They use this device that does the alignment for them. I also hear it helps with their sleeping. Good luck and beat wishes.

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