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Case Studies: Chronic Ear and Sinus Infections

Please note: Case studies summarizing patientsí responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.

Female twins, 14 months, Chronic Ear Infections

These twin infants suffered from chronic ear infections starting at 6 months. Both twins had undergone numerous courses of antibiotics. At twelve months, one of the twins came down with an ear infection that would not go away, even after 4 courses of antibiotics and several shots. The second infant also had an infection, but it was not quite as severe.

During their initial evaluations, it was discovered that both infants had upper neck injuries, perhaps stemming from birth (one was born breech). After the initial upper cervical corrections were performed on the infants, both recovered from their ear infections without any additional medical treatment. In addition, no further infections occurred.

Female, Age 13, Chronic Cough, Allergies, Ear Infections, Headaches

This 13-year-old female was chronically sick since birth. Her mother described her as getting a sinus/upper respiratory infection 5-6 times per year, each time also having an ear infection. By age 5, she had her tonsils and adenoids removed and had also had several sets of tubes for ear infections. By age 12, she began suffering from a chronic cough, daily headaches, and pain at the base of her skull/upper neck region.

During her initial evaluation, it was discovered that she had sustained an injury to her upper neck. Her mother described several possible traumas including using suction at her birth, a skate boarding accident, and a concussion after falling off the monkey bars. During the first week of care, her cough, headaches, and neck pain were markedly reduced. She also described having a lot of drainage out of her nose. Within a month, her nasal congestion, cough, headaches, and pain were all absent. Six months later, she had no experienced any infections during that time.

Female, Age 2, Chronic Sinus / Ear Infections

This 2-year-old female suffered from chronic sinus and ear infections for the previous year. Her mother described her as having an ear infection every other month, each time requiring 2-3 courses of antibiotics. She also presented with a chronic, green sinus discharge that never went away. Most of the time, her nose was completely blocked.

During her initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. Her mother recalled that during her daughter's birth, vacuum suction was used to extract her and it fracture her collar bone. Her mother surmised this must have also caused her child's neck injury. After care was administered, her nose drained until all of the green discharge was absent and no additional sinus or ear infections occurred.

Male, Age 6, Chronic Sinus / Ear Infections, Bedwetting, Headaches, Growing Pains

This 6-year-old male was described by his mother as "always sick." Due to chronic ear infections, he had already undergone three sets of tubes, the first at age 3. He was continuously medicated with allergy medications, sinus medications, and antibiotics for infections and had surgery to remove his adenoids. His mother described him as requiring antibiotics almost every month during the winter. She reported that his lymph nodes throughout his body were always swollen. In addition to his chronic infections, he also suffered from neck pain, headaches, and "growing pains" in his knees and ankles. He also wet his bed every night.

During his initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned, his mother recalled two falls her son had suffered that preceded all of his health problems and could have caused his neck injury. At ten months, he fell down the stairs and at twelve months, he fell headfirst on hard tile. Within the first weeks of care, the boy did not report any headaches, growing pains, or neck pain and his nose, ears, and sinuses began clearing up. Several weeks later, his mother was amazed that he was not suffering from any infections and was not requiring any medications. Months later, he still had not had any infections and the bedwetting cleared up. All symptoms remained absent.

Male, Age 40, Chronic Allergies, Sinus Problems

This 40-year-old male had suffered with allergies since age 2. He had seen allergists his entire life and took daily medications including claritin and nasonex. It had been determined that he was allergic to many foods (wheat, yeast, dairy, nuts) and while he eliminated these foods from his diet, the allergies continued. He described how his nose was congested on a daily basis, and that he frequently suffered from sinus headaches, infections, and pressure. While he was not aware of a neck injury, he decided to be evaluated upon recommendation by a friend.

During his initial chiropractic evaluation, an upper cervical injury was found. Upon correction of his neck, his nose and sinuses began draining. By the end of the first month of care, all draining had ceased and his nose and sinuses were clear, so he was able to substantially reduce his medications.

Male, 10 Month Old Baby, Pain, Infections, Sleeping Trouble

This 10-month-old baby was sick since birth-- a difficult birth requiring forceps. Since his birth, his mother reported that he did not sleep longer than 45 minutes in a row. He frequently cried-- with a high-pitched scream. He also suffered 5 ear and sinus infections since birth, 2 accompanied by skin rashes, and took five prescriptions of antibiotics. His parents also noticed that he did not like to be left on his stomach, and he appeared to be in pain if he tried to lift his head up. They also noticed that he held his head tilted off to the left.

During his upper cervical exam at 10 months, a neck injury was found, most likely stemming from the birth process. At the time of the exam, he also had a sinus infection.

After the first adjustment, his mother reported that his mood was much improved. He seemed happier, smiled more, and began to sleep through the night. She also reported that his sinus congestion decreased and that he began to get up on all fours to start crawling. Both parents noticed that his head tilt appeared to be less. One week later, his mother said his sinuses and ears were completely clear and that all signs of infection were gone. She reported continued progress in his mood and sleeping habits. Two weeks later, he was still doing fine. No further adjustments were necessary after the initial adjustment.

Male, Age 2, Ear Infections, Hearing Loss

This 27-month-old was not speaking as he should at his age so his mother took him in for an exam with an ENT specialist. Upon exam, the ENT found that his ears were full of fluid, and that the tympanic membrane was immobile. In addition, his hearing test was below normal, suggesting that the hearing difficulty was preventing normal speech.

During his examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered. His mother could not recall any falls or accidents that could have caused his neck injury and presumed it must have happened during his birth. The boy was adjusted one time and the adjustment held in place immediately.

Two weeks after the adjustment, the boy was brought back to the ENT by his mother to be re-tested. Upon exam, the ENT found that the fluid had drained from both ears and that the tympanic membrane moved well. The hearing test had also returned to normal. Because he could hear normally, he worked with a speech therapist to bring his speech up to normal.

Female, Age 5, Asthma, Neck Pain, Headaches, Sinus Congestion

This 5-year-old female frequently complained of neck pain and headaches. She also suffered with severe asthma attacks for the past 3 years in which she was frequently taken to the emergency room. In addition, she explained that her nose was constantly plugged and that she had difficulty smelling. This child's neck injury most likely stemmed from the birth process, as her birth was difficult and premature.

One week after her first upper cervical adjustment, her mother reported that she began to sleep through the night without wheezing or coughing. The 5-year-old said she had not noticed any trouble with her neck or headaches and she demonstrated that she could now breathe through her nose. She was also able to discontinue asthma medications.

Female, Age 16, Chronic Sinus Congestion, Sinus Headaches

This 16-year-old female suffered with chronic sinus trouble since approximately third grade. She always had a stuffy nose and clogged sinuses and had frequent colds, causing her to feel sinus pressure and headaches. One year ago she had surgery for a deviated septum in an attempt to improve the problem but it had little effect. She frequently felt sinus headaches and vertigo during altitude, pressure, or weather changes. During her initial evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered. After upper cervical care, her sinuses drained, her nose cleared, she breathed freely through her nose, and she no longer had headaches, pressure, or vertigo.

Male, Age 50, Dizziness, Ear Congestion, Sinus Headaches

This 50-year-old male was involved in an auto accident in 1986. One year later, he experienced a stiff neck, fatigue, dizziness, ear congestion, and ringing in his ears. The symptoms came and went for the first three months. Finally they became constant, and were aggravated during flying. He tried many types of decongestants but the problems persisted. Medical doctors had no answers for him. During his chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was found that most likely stemmed from his auto accident. During the first two months of upper cervical care, the symptoms decreased dramatically. Several months later, he was symptom free, the first time in two years.

Female, Age 51, Dizziness, Labyrinthitis, Hearing Loss, Ear Congestion

This 51-year-old female suffered from her first dizzy spell in the early '80's while flying on a plane. She had a cold at the time and her ears didn't adjust to the altitude. Her ears filled with fluid so she had them drained by puncturing her eardrum. Unfortunately, the clogged ears returned and she was plagued by dizzy spells and congestion and was forced to take Drixoral on a daily basis to keep the congestion down. She also suffered from hearing loss as a result of the congestion. Prior to the first dizzy spell, she was in an auto accident in which she sustained enough injury to her neck to require a month's hospitalization. She suffered from chronic congestion and frequent dizzy spells for ten years before seeking help from upper cervical care.

During her chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered, which probably resulted from her auto accident.

After beginning upper cervical care, no further dizzy spells occurred. Her ear congestion cleared so she discontinued daily medication. She also reported having better hearing and that her ears adjusted properly to the altitude during flying.


"After the better part of a decade, I've been able to stop taking a daily decongestant thanks to Dr. Erin Elster. About 10 years ago I began having dizzy spells, possibly the result of an earlier car accident that landed me in the hospital for a month with two fractured cervical vertebrae. Doctors, however, diagnosed me as having labyrinthitis and prescribed decongestants and anti-nausea medication. The decongestants kept the dizziness at bay, but each attempt to stop taking them resulted in catching colds, including stuffy ears and returned dizziness. I did not like the prospect of relying on a decongestant for the rest of my life, and became very excited when I heard the many successful results that Dr. Elster's patients were reporting. However, having had two fractured cervical vertebrae, I was not going to let just anyone mess with my neck. It is very reassuring for me that she measures my progress with her scanner and computer system, and gives me an adjustment only when I need it. I stopped taking the decongestants immediately after my first adjustment, and am elated that the dizziness has not returned. In the past eight months, I've taken a decongestant only two days because I caught a small cold and didn't want to fly with stuffy ears. It has been worth every mile that I travel to see Dr. Elster, and I am so thankful that she's been able to eliminate the dizziness and get me off decongestants. " Debbie, Age 51

Female, Age 8, Chronic Runny Nose, Ear Infections, Headaches, Neck Pain

This 8-year-old was chronically affected with daily headaches, daily neck pain, daily runny nose, and frequent ear infections. Her allergy / sinus symptoms had been present since birth. She also suffered with colic as a baby. During her initial exam, her neck and spine was extremely sore to the touch. Her mother described her behavior since birth as "irritable."

After the first adjustment, her headaches and neck pain were absent. After the second adjustment, the sinus and ear infections also disappeared. She did not require any adjustments since and had no return of symptoms. Her mother reported her being "the healthiest she has ever been."

Male, age 9, Chronic Ear Infections, Headaches, Muscle Aches

This 9-year-old male suffered with health problems since he was born (he had a difficult forceps birth.) He had 3 sets of tubes in his ears and a tonsillectomy by age 5. At age 9, his ears were again filled with fluid and his hearing was greatly diminished. In addition, he suffered with daily headaches and nightly muscle aches. During his chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered.

After upper cervical care, the fluid drained from his ears and his hearing was restored. Also, the muscle and headaches disappeared. Years later, his problems had not returned.


"My son, Max, was plagued by ear infections almost from the time he came home from the hospital (after a forceps birth.) After many rounds of antibiotics, he eventually had 3 sets of tubes, a tonsillectomy and an adenoidectomy by the time he was 5 years old. This past fall, at age 9, he had 2 very poor hearing test scores at school. His ears were full of fluid, there was absolutely no movement of the eardrum and his hearing was bordering on the point where he would require a hearing aide. The ear doctor told me that Max would need another set of tubes and the audiologist was pushing me to do something quickly because the hearing loss was so severe. This was all very upsetting to me because I did not want to do another set of tubes-- I felt intuitively that they could cause hearing damage and the operation was too invasive.

A friend recommended that I see Dr. Erin Elster. Dr. Elster saw Max for a few months in the fall. Then we went back to the ear doctor who had still been recommending that we do the ear tubes immediately. The doctor let me look in the ear scope with him and I saw instantly that Max's eardrums were clear and pink with perfect movement. The doctor could almost not believe it and he said we would have to wait and see how the hearing test came out. The audiologist tested his hearing on the spot and burst out of the room with a huge smile on her face and said that his hearing was great. The change was miraculous-- I never expected such an incredible turnaround and amazing results. I have to say it feels like a miracle to me-- thank you God and thank you Dr. Elster." Nancy, about her son, Max, age 9, January '98



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