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Doctor treats ear infections with unconventional surgery

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If you're a parent, you've likely faced the dreaded ear infection. Next to the common cold, ear infections are the most commonly diagnosed childhood illness in the United States.

A Trumbull county chiropractor is speaking out and talking about an alternative solutions.

More than 3 out of 4 kids have had at least one ear infection by the time they reach 3 years of age.

For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.

The most common treatment is antibiotics. But an area chiropractor, Matt Mason, says he's found a new way to treat young children; even infants.

For Loni Capan, the early months with her first born son Dameon were trying, with chronic ear infections from the time he was an infant.

"The first one he was good," Capan says. "He took an antibiotic and then it's like they never went away." 

After rounds of antibiotics doctors began to talk about ear tube surgery, but surgery wasn't an option.

Capan sought an alternative treatment with Dr. Matt Mason, who also treats her for chronic pain. Now, he treats chronic ear infections with spinal adjustments on children.

"Research clearly demonstrates that antibiotics and ear surgery should not be used as first treatment of choice," Mason says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics seem to agree with that and have put out stricter guidelines regarding the use of antibiotics for young children.

Medical research shows that many childhood ear infections like those Dameon had are caused by bacteria and excessive use of them has led to "super strains" resistant to even the most aggressive drugs.

Mason believes chiropractic adjustments can help treat those chronic ear infection.

"We need to support and strengthen the immunce system and then correct the spinal misalignments in the upper neck," Mason says. "Then remove any kind of food allergies or food sensitivities."

So Mason worked on Dameon when he was just nine months old. Since then, Dameon's been clear of infection.

Dr. Allan Lieberthal with the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that it's possible doctors were overdiagnosing ear infections and thus treating too often with antibiotics.

But he says he's worried about a chiropractor adjusting an infant and believes there's no evidence it has any benefit.

For Capan, though, it's the treatment she believes made her sick child well again.

"This was about two years ago, even his pediatrician was surprised," she says.

Doctors like American pediatrician and author Dr. Bill Sears says he firmly believes that chiropractic adjustments to the skull and neck can improve middle ear drainage and decrease ear infections.

But the Mayo Clinic says anytime you decide on an alternative therapy with your child it's important to tell your doctor. Some treatments may alter the effect of other therapies or medications.

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