Clinical features: A 31/2-year-old boy presented to a chiropractic clinic with a 10-month history of continuous discharge with a distinctive smell emanating from both his ears. Upon a routine 3-year check-up for his hearing, 4 months prior to consultation, a slight hearing deficit had been identified. This was being reviewed in 2 months’ time with consideration for myringotomy and tympanostomic tube insertion. Cervical and thoracic segmental dysequilibrium was found on static motion palpation, suggesting the presence of a chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex at these levels.
Intervention and outcome: The patient was treated 4 times using cervical paediatric adjusting. Activator technique was applied to the thoracic region. Discharge from the ears disappeared immediately after the first visit. An improvement in hearing was identified at a hearing test 3 months after cessation of chiropractic care. Consequently, myringotomy and tympanostomic tube insertion was considered inappropriate. The patient now uses oil drops to prevent cerruminum accumulation. At 6 years old, he has had no further recurrences of OME and no speech or hearing problems are apparent.
Conclusion: Of the risk factors identified with the onset of otitis media with effusion, this patient exhibited the following: premature birth, breech presentation, low birth weight, time spent in intensive care, exclusive formula feeding, day care attendance and 2 or 3 recurrent episodes of ear infection for which antibiotics were prescribed. Despite these factors, the patient made rapid symptomatic improvement in a single treatment.
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