Written by Dr. Matthew Alvord DC, DPhCS


Over half of all children in the US have an ear infection by the time they are one, more than 80 percent by age three, and almost all will have at least one ear infection by age five. This accounts for 25 million office visits annually with direct costs for treatment estimated at $3 billion. Ear infections are no laughing matter.


Part of the problem is how we view the problem. Ear infections aren’t an ear problem. The ears are like tornado sirens hanging off the side of our heads. If the tornado siren went off in the middle of the night, what would you think if a disgruntled neighbor came storming out of their house, a pair of

thumbnailscissors in hand, looking to cut the power to the blaring horn? We might have silence for a while but we also know there was a very good reason why that siren went off in the first place. Inevitably, we would have to deal with the aftermath that followed. If we disconnect the siren, the tornado is still coming, but if we don’t disconnect the siren, the tornado is still coming just the same. And we can’t heed the warning if we don’t understand the warning. 


If a child has an ear infection, we also have several ways to look at the problem. If we demonize the infected ear by just treating it, we will miss the bigger issue of why the ear is infected in the first place.  Ears don’t all of a sudden get bored and go off like a faulty siren. There is a very good reason for why the body does every single thing it does. 


If we take a step even further back, we can appreciate that the immune system is what controls every infection in the body, so a properly functioning immune system is essential with every infection, including ear infections. But what controls the immune system? The nervous system controls and coordinates every single function of the entire body, including the immune system, so the nervous system ultimately controls the ears and their infections.


The nervous system is comprised of your brain, your spine and all the nerves that control every cell in your body. Interference frequently happens in the spinal when bones misalign and put pressure on the nerves connecting your brain and your body. This compromises immune function and makes your body more susceptible to all infections, including ear infections.


Millions of desperate parents drag their compromised children into the next pediatrician hoping that the 20th, 30th or 40th round of antibiotics will do the “trick.” Unfortunately, even if the antibiotic treats the present condition, it has been shown that taking antibiotics for ear infections can increase the rate of re-occurrence of the infection six times higher than doing nothing at all! And similar studies also show that these same children are more prone to many other immune system related problems later on in life as well.


The best an antibiotic can do is to win the battle but lose the war. And this war is being fought on a much bigger field than just the eardrum of the child. It is taking place in the immune systems and the nervous system of the entire body. So when we hear that misaligned spinal bones can lead to ear infections, our culture needs to start looking at this problem differently if it wants to truly get to the cause of this problem. Can you hear me now?