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Chiropractic in the News
Pacifier Use May Increase Risk of Ear Infections
September 5, 2000 MSNBC reports that, "Infants who use pacifiers continuously after six months of age are at higher risk of ear infections, according to researchers." These finding come from the results of a study done on more than 400 Finnish children at the University of Oulu. The researchers estimate that between 75 percent and 85 percent of children in Western countries habitually use pacifiers.
One possible reason given by the researchers for the link between pacifiers and ear infections was that the sucking on a pacifier may upset the air pressure in the ear therefore blocking proper drainage. "It is reasonable to assume that the effect may lie in an alteration in the pressure equilibrium between the middle ear cavity and the nasopharynx, which apparently impairs the functioning of the Eustachian tube,"
The Eustachian tube is the passage that connects the back of the nose and the middle ear. It assists hearing and acts as a drain for the middle ear by opening when needed to regulate air pressure. If the Eustachian tube gets blocked it may prevent proper drainage and result in infections. The only recommendations given to the parents in the article by the researchers were to restrict pacifier use to the moments when older babies are falling asleep.
Ear Tubes in Children Questioned
In an April 19, 2001 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine is a report that concludes that for children younger than three years of age who have persistent otitis media, prompt insertion of tympanostomy tubes does not measurably improve developmental outcomes. The story, also reported in the April 18, 2001 issue of MSNBC.com also reinforces the problem with this procedure at an early age.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery estimates that 700,000 children undergo the procedure each year at an estimated cost of $2,000 each. The tubes have been used since the early 1960s. The stated purpose that these tubes are inserted in the eardrums is supposedly to help clear the fluid that can build up in a child's middle ear during an infection and to prevent further infections.
Researchers in Pittsburgh looked at two groups of toddlers: those who got ear tubes after three months of fluid in their ears, the standard guideline, and those who waited up to nine months before tubes were inserted. The children were tested for speech, language, learning and behavior when they turned 3. The chief researcher, Dr. Jack L. Paradise of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, summed up the results as follows, "The bottom line was there wasn't any difference in the developmental outcomes as best we could measure them at age 3."
Several Chiropractic studies have suggested the benefits of chiropractic care for children with recurrent ear infections. An article published in the March 1998 edition of Alternative Therapies based on a study authored by Drs. Fallon and Edelman, concluded, "There is a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustment and the resolution of otitis media for the children in this study".
Chiropractic Adjustments for Children with Acute Otitis Media
A recent study published in the March 29, 2004 peer reviewed journal, The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, (JVSR), showed that chiropractic adjustments had a positive effect on children with acute ear infections. In the study 21 children were examined. All these children showed acute inflammation in the inner ear with a red and bulging tympanic membrane accompanied by an increased mean oral temperature of over 100 degrees F.
The results of the study showed that after the chiropractic adjustments, the red and bulging tympanic membrane returned to normal in 95% of the children and a decrease in average oral temperature to 98.6 degrees F.
A similar story also appeared on the website of the television station, WIS TV news on March 30, 2004. That story featured a four year old girl Taylor, who went to see a chiropractor for ear infections. According to her mother Taylor had been suffering with about eight ear infections a year. Her mother noted that after two chiropractic adjustments, she hasn't had one ear infection in nine months, "This has been a big great help for us."
The news report ended with the following, "Besides ear infections another study found chiropractic care helps babies with colic. The study reports children cried two hours less after having adjustments than those who received the standard drug treatment."
Chiropractic Care Can Help With Ear Infections
The above headline comes from the January 2005 issue of the magazine Up & Coming. This article tells the story of a 13 year old girl named May Beth, who had suffered from ear infections most of her life. Her father, was the author of the article. He started off by describing May Beth's history and explained that by the time his daughter was 13 months old, she'd had 11 ear infections. He explained that each time she was given an antibiotic which caused the ear infection to go away after about a week, but it would soon return.
After a while May Beth was even give antibiotics as a preventative. However this did not work and her father began to get concerned about the effects all these antibiotics would have on his daughter. As matters got worse May Beth's father grew more concerned. He stated, "I became desperate for an end to her misery. I was concerned about how these chronic ear infections might be affecting her developing speech and how the antibiotics might be affecting her natural immunity. As a result, I arranged for her to have a myringectomy, a type of surgery in which tiny tubes are placed in the child's ear to prevent fluid buildup. While I believed the operation was May Beth's best option, I felt terrible about having her undergo a general anesthetic and surgery at such a young age. There are no words to describe the feeling I had watching my smiling baby girl dressed in a tiny hospital gown wave back at me as she was being wheeled in a little red wagon into the operating room."
Unfortunately, even after the surgery May Beth's ear infections didn't stop. Less than two months later, she was once again taking antibiotics. Soon after it was suggested that she have a second surgery. Her father noted, "I just couldn't bear it. I was at my wit's end."
Then coincidentally, May Beth's father had just started chiropractic school and had heard that chiropractic care had helped many children with chronic ear infections. He then took May Beth to a family chiropractor who began adjusting May Beth. The results were wonderful. May Beth's father described the events by saying, "Since that time, she's had one ear infection that lasted less than two days with no medication. Her overall health has been excellent - and she can talk up a storm!"
He summed up his comments in this article by explaining, "Chiropractic adjustment may resolve the ear infections without the need for surgery. Our bodies - young and old - are wonderfully made to take care of many of the problems we encounter. A correct alignment of the spine maximizes the body's potential to take care of itself."
Chiropractic Helping Kids Fight Ear Infections
A news story on February 13, 2007 appeared on CBS-11 News out of Dallas - Fort Worth as well as on their website, that chronicled chiropractic helping children with ear infections. This story reported on a mother, Susan Lekborg who says her son Cooper had suffered from chronic ear infections for years. During this time medical treatments did little to ease her son's suffering.
In this report Ms. Lekborg recounted the long, sleepless nights and stated, "We were up all night, he was miserable, cranky. He was on antibiotics all winter and it just wasn't helping. It would go away and come back, go away and come back." After feeling frustrated and helpless she reluctantly decided to go to a chiropractor. "I'll be honest, I was a little skeptical, nervous about a chiropractor adjusting my baby."
The story reports that the chiropractor she took her son Cooper to was Dr. Peter Martone. Dr. Martone explained the rationale for care by saying, "Chiropractic care is simply the art and science of aligning the spine to take pressure off the nerve and ultimately allow the body to heal itself." He continued, "So what happens with the adjustment, it allows for those ear canals to open up and the ears will drain, preventing any ear infection."
The news article noted that after only one visit Cooper started feeling better. The news story also interviewed Pediatrician Linda Nelson who said there's a lot about the body doctors just don't understand. "I'm very open to anything that's benign," she said. "And it's certainly isn't going to hurt the child."
The article concluded with Susan Lekborg stating that it worked for her children. "This will be their third winter, no antibiotics, no Tylenol, no Motrin. They're clean. I just feel like they're healthier."
Eighty one children under chiropractic care took part in this self-reported asthma related impairment study. The children were assessed before and two months after chiropractic care using an asthma impairment questionnaire. Significantly lower impairment rating scores (improvement) were reported for 90.1% of subjects 60 days after chiropractic care in comparison to their pre-chiropractic scores. In addition, 30.9% of the children voluntarily decreased their dosage of medication by an average of 66.5% while under chiropractic care. Twenty four of the patients who reported asthma attacks 30-days prior to the study had significantly decreased attacks by an average of 44.9%. Six different chiropractic techniques were used by the different chiropractors who participated in this study.
Graham, RL and Pistolese RA. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research 1997: 1 (4): 1-8
Asthma Patients May Benefit From Spinal Manipulation
The above were the findings of a research project conducted in Australia where 420 patients were studied. On October 5th 2002 at the 9th International Conference on Spinal Manipulation in Toronto, Ray Hayek, Ph.D., head of the investigative team told the assembly that patients afflicted with asthma may benefit from spinal manipulation in terms of symptoms, immunological capacity, and endocrine effects.
The proceedings and report of this study were published in the August 24, 2002 release from the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, (FCER). In that release Dr. Hayek reported that of the 420 patients in the study only those patients in the group which received spinal manipulation showed significant improvement in asthma symptoms, depression and anxiety.
The report also noted that there were positive biochemical and physiological changes that were not necessarily expected from spinal manipulation. The report suggested, "These biochemical changes not only suggest that the effects of spinal manipulation are more far-reaching than commonly believed, but that they may be more long-term as well."
Although the study was not specific to chiropractic care, chiropractic adjustments are the most specific form of spinal manipulation. The findings of the above study reinforce other studies previously performed that show the benefit of chiropractic care for those suffering with asthma. In a study conducted in 1996 by the Michigan Chiropractic Association (MCA), a panel of doctors performed an outcomes assessment study to test the qualitative and quantitative effectiveness of chiropractic care on children with asthma. The results of this study showed that after 30 days of chiropractic health care, patients averaged only one asthma attack, whereas prior to this study they were experiencing more than four attacks. Additionally, in the Michigan study it was noted that medications, which can be costly, were decreased by nearly 70 percent in the patients who participated.
Asthma Study on Benefits of Chiropractic
Asthma has become a large health concern for children in recent years. Over the past 20 years the incidence of asthma has doubled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 1998, approximately 17,299,000 people in the United States, or 6.4% of the population, with cases among very young children up 160%. As reported in the June 16, 1999 issue of JAMA, the CDC also noted that between 1980 and 1994, the number of people self-reporting asthma grew 75%.
In a study conducted in 1996 by the Michigan Chiropractic Council (MCC), a panel of doctors performed an out-come assessment study to test the qualitative and quantitative effectiveness of chiropractic care on children with asthma. The high demand of parents seeking alternative care for pediatric asthma was shown by the overwhelming interest in the study. More than 500 parents called the MCC seeking to get their child involved in the chiropractic study.
The study, which took place during May and June of 1996, examined the chiropractic effectiveness in correcting the cause of asthma in patients from birth to age 17. The average age of the participant was 10 years. "After 30 days of chiropractic health care, patients averaged only one attack, whereas prior to the study they were experiencing more than four attacks," said MCC Dr. Bob Graham, who directed the study. "Medications, which can be costly, were decreased by nearly 70 percent. Finally, patient satisfaction was rated 8.5 on a scale of 10." More than 70 chiropractors from 62 cities in Michigan studied more than 80 children suffering from asthma.
Asthma Study Shows Chiropractic Benefits
From the November / December 2000 issue of Todays Chiropractic, comes a study report on Asthma. The article notes that approximately 14 Americans die each day from asthma. Asthma is only one of three diseases that has shown an increasing death rate in recent years, up 58% since 1979. Presently estimates say that 17 million Americans suffer from the disease making it the most common and costly illness in the United States today, costing over $13 billion annually. Presently, asthma causes more hospitalizations of children than any other childhood disease.
In the study, 47 patients were observed for a two year period. These patients had all been medically diagnosed with persistent asthma ranging from mild persistent in 11 cases, moderate persistent in 28 cases, to severe persistent in 8 cases. The care rendered consisted of specific chiropractic adjustments. The range of visits was from 14 to 44, with the average being 26 during the study period. Most patients in the study began care at a rate of 3 visits per week with this frequency being reduced after 4 to 8 initial weeks.
The patient results were very good with all 47 of the study patients showing a marked improvement ranging from 87 to 100 percent. Patient observed improvement was measured by both improvement in their symptoms as well as a decrease in their usage of acute asthma attack medication. Even more impressive was that all of the patients in the study reported maintaining their improvement after a two-year follow up.
The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Care and Treatment of 332 Children with Otitis MediaJournal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics 1997 (Oct); 2 (2)
To our knowledge this is the first time that tympanography has been used as an objectifying tool with respect to the efficacy of the chiropractic adjustment in the treatment of children with otitis media. In addition, the role of the occipital adjustment needs to be examined. This study begins the process of examining the role of the vertebral cranial subluxation complex in the pathogenesis of otitis media, and the efficacy of the chiropractic adjustment in its resolution
A Comparative Study of the Health Status of Children Raised Under the Health Care Models of Chiropractic and Allopathic MedicineJ Chiropractic Research 1989; 5 (Summer): 101–103
This study, published in the Journal of Chiropractic Research, found that there is a “definite correlation between chiropractic care and superior health.” In fact, this study “has shown that children raised under chiropractic care are less prone to infectious processes such as otitis media and tonsillitis, and that their immune systems are better able to cope with allergens such as pollen,weeds, grasses, etc. compared to children raised under allopathic care. There is also a significant decreased history of antibiotic use among the ‘Chiropractic’ children, indicating a lower susceptibility to bacterial infections as a result of their greater immune system response.”
The Short–Term Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial with a Blinded ObserverJ Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Jun 11); 308: 1556-1559
This research project found chiropractic adjusting superior to the medical use of dimethicone for the treatment of Infantile Colic.
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Clinical Chiropractic 2008 (SeComparison of the Short-term Effects of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation and Occipito-sacral Decompression in the Treatment of Infant Colic: A Single-blinded, Randomised, Comparison Trialp); 11 (3): 122–129
Both treatments appear to offer significant benefits to infants with colic. Infants treated by SMT or OSD cried less and slept more after 2 weeks of treatment. There were no differences in outcomes between the two treatment approaches. Although the participants completed the trial of therapy prior to the usual age of remission for infant colic, the natural course cannot be ruled out.
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Chiropractic Management of Infantile ColicClinical Chiropractic 2004 (Dec); 7 (4): 180–186
These cases suggest a possible association between birth trauma; the development of cranial and spinal segmental dysfunction and consequential manifestation of symptoms of infantile colic. Secondly, they demonstrate chiropractic treatment successfully restoring correct spinal and cranial motion, with an associated resolution of symptoms.
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Infantile Colic Treated by Chiropractors: A Prospective Study of 316 CasesJ Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989; 12 (4) Aug: 281–288
A prospective, uncontrolled study of 316 infants suffering from infantile colic and selected according to well-defined criteria shows a satisfactory result of spinal manipulative therapy in 94% of the cases.
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- Klougart, Nilsson, and Jacobsen (1989) reported a prospective study of 316 cases of infantile colic. The authors found that 94% of the infants appeared to be helped by chiropractic treatment "within 14 days from the start of treatment" (287). The infants included in the study had moderate to severe infantile colic and were otherwise healthy, averaged two weeks of age at the outset of colic, and averaged 5.7 weeks of age at the start of treatment.
The authors found that chiropractic treatment resulted in "both a reduction of the daily length of the colic periods and a reduction of the number of colic periods per day" (287). Because recovery began between 5.7 and 7.7 weeks of age, the authors maintained that this provided substantial evidence that the improvement could not be attributed strictly to "natural cessation of colic symptoms" (286).
- In a 1999 study similar to the 1989 colic study noted above, Wiberg, Nordsteen, and Nilsson found that "spinal manipulation has a positive short-term effect on infantile colic" (520). Researchers randomly placed otherwise healthy, colicky infants into one of two treatment groups: chiropractic treatment and dimethicone medication. Parents kept a diary of symptoms and behaviors before the trial to establish baseline data and continued to keep a diary of symptoms during the trial. Both groups received two weeks of treatment. The infants in the chiropractic group exhibited "a reduction of 67% on day 12" of daily hours with colic, which was nearly identical to the results of the first study. The "dimethicone group only had a reduction in daily hours with colic of 38% by day 12" (520).
The dimethicone group had several subjects drop out of the study because their symptoms worsened. These subjects and their corresponding data were excluded from the results, creating better overall improvement statistics for the dimethicone group than actually occurred. Yet, the chiropractic subjects still exhibited twice as much improvement at the end of the trials when compared to the dimethicone group.
The authors noted that "[s]pinal manipulation is normally used in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, and the results of this trial leave open 2 possible interpretations. Either spinal manipulation is effective in the treatment of the visceral disorder infantile colic or infantile colic is, in fact, a musculoskeletal disorder, and not, as normally assumed, visceral" (520).