Chiropractors have long said that ear infections can be treated by chiropractic.  Although I won’t directly treat an ear infection with NUCCA, I know that ear infections will often improved after an atlas adjustment.

Here’s some anatomy to explain.  The tensor veli palatini muscle is innervated by the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V).  The trigeminal nerve comes from the superior cervical ganglion (from nerve roots C1-C4).  NUCCA utilizes the atlas (C1) as a lever to correct the entire spine. It follows that correcting C1 will improve function of the trigeminal nerve and therefore improve how the tensor veli palatini holds the Eustachian tube open.  When the Eustachian tube is open, it allows more fluid to drain, therefore keeping infection at bay.

A study is in progress to show how chiropractic may increase function of the tensor veli palatini.  In 1996, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics, was a retrospective study with 46 five-year-old children who had otitis media (ear infection). 93% improved with chiropractic care, 43% with one or two relief care.  The improvement was determined by one of the following: parental observation, chiropractor declaring patient asymptomatic, or the medical doctor saying the patient is improved.

In 1997, published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, a study of 332 children, ages 27 months to 5 years, was done and showed a “strong correlation” between chiropractic and improvement of otitis media.  There are many other case reports as well.

If your child suffers from chronic ear infections, bring him or her in for a consultation to see if NUCCA can improve the function of the tensor veli palatini and help your child to live a healthier life.


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Dr. Andrea Pritchett of Vital Life Wellness Center in Dublin, California is an Dublin Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Her upper cervical clinic also serves Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville. She is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including children’s conditions such as ear infections, colic and scoliosis and problems that adults face including migraines and other headaches, fibromyalgia, sciatica, neck and back pain, and more. More information can be found on our website at