By Dr. Matt Hill

“We have been on antibiotic after antibiotic for multiple ear infections and now have been referred to the ENT for tubes and also for tonsil and adenoid removal, which make us uncomfortable as parents. I know there has to be something else to try before we go the surgery route.” 

Bryce’s mom Samantha shared this with me in a motivated tone when we first met. Samantha was on a mission like so many parents who also want to take the natural, less invasive route but are prescribed medications or tube surgery first.

She was determined to find a natural ear infection remedy that would be an effective option to hold off surgery, as well as get to the root cause of Bryce’s chronic ear infections. She hoped this would stop the seemingly endless cycle of pain, sleepless nights, and antibiotics that she knew was wreaking havoc on her gut and immune system long-term.

She was looking for a natural ear infection remedy and a drug-free option, and she knew she wouldn’t find those at her pediatrician’s office, so she reached out to us.

And here was the good news we were able to share with Samantha and now parents reading this article – these natural remedies for ear infections do exist!

These natural remedies have been around for a long time, and they help provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, promote drainage, and over time work to not just help a child get past an acute ear infection but prevent further ones as well.

In order to best understand the role that natural remedies for ear infections play, we’ve first got to understand the root cause(s) of ear infections in the first place. And that all starts with what we call the “plumbing,” or drainage of the inner ear.

The number one issue that really causes ear infections in the first place is the buildup of fluid. The entire ENT, respiratory, and lymphatic system work just like the plumbing in your house in that it’s all linked together. So not only do the nerves and muscles of the inner ear need to be working well and moving fluid along, but it’s got to keep moving through the neck, lymphatic system, and throughout the whole body.

Put simply, if the body can’t expel the viruses and bacteria, it becomes chronically congested with them, leading to ongoing inflammation and recurrent, chronic ear infections and other illnesses. Therefore, any natural ear infection remedy must first address the poor drainage and get things moving!

Just like a clogged drain in your home can cause the buildup of junk and crud, it’s honestly the same thing happening in your child’s inner ear.

Unfortunately, the natural remedies you’ll learn about in this article are not the kind of information you’ll be told about in your standard pediatrician or ENT’s office.

While many years ago, the AAP and CDC did finally approve a “watch and wait” guideline for ear infections, reviewing this 2-page document on the CDC’s website is equal parts encouraging since they do recommend at least 2-3 days of “watch and wait” before antibiotics, but also very discouraging since the only thing they recommend for treatment without antibiotics is ibuprofen, acetaminophen, fluids, and rest. Just like every single medication out there, ibuprofen and acetaminophen come with plenty of risks themselves, weakening the immune system over time.

What’s really exciting for parents is this – these natural remedies have been around for years and have helped countless kids stop the endless cycle of ear infections, antibiotics, and ear tube surgeries!

Here’s a short list of the natural remedies to get your child relief, and we will discuss each below:

  • Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic care
  • Warm or Cold Compress
  • Rest, Vitamin D, and Distraction
  • Salt Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Ginger
  • Naturopathic Ear Drops
  • Changing sleep positions


Deep down, each of us parents wants to know just one thing when our kids are sick and struggling with a health challenge – what’s the root cause? Well, that’s the exact focus of every Pediatric Chiropractor from our PX Docs Network, and it’s the one thing that makes us significantly different from your pediatrician and medical providers, whose focus remains on treating symptoms.

Finding the root cause begins with a deep dive into your child’s case history, and here’s what we continually find in children struggling with chronic ear infections:

  •  Birth interventions and trauma such as forceps, vacuum extraction, induction,    and c-section delivery
  • Health challenges as an infant, such as colicreflux, and constipation
  • Early exposure to antibiotics and steroid-based medications
  • A diet high in sugar, processed foods, dairy, grains, gluten, etc.

Each of those early stressors increases the tension and stress on the nervous system, leaving it stuck in a more sustained sympathetic fight-or-flight response. That sustained sympathetic and subluxation then increases the tone and tension on all the soft tissues and muscles in the upper neck, including the Tensor Veli Palatini muscle, which then gets too tight and wound up and limits proper drainage of the eustachian tube. 

Additionally, sustained sympathetic tone creates a condition called dysautonomia, which leaves the body in a more inflammatory state and weakens the immune response as a whole.

This leaves the ears and immune system facing two (2) main problems –  unable to fully drain the fluid from the ears and in a pro-inflammatory or weakened immune state. But the good news is chiropractic adjustments help with both! 

Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic has been shown to have an incredible impact not only on the prevention of ear infections but on helping kids get better when the ear infection is the worst. In retrospective studies, 93% of kids with acute ear infections improved after Chiropractic care.


So often, ear pain starts late at night and on the weekends when it’s not easy to get adjusted by your Pediatric Chiropractor or send a message to your provider. In times like this, parents often use ice packs or a warm compress, like a heating pad or damp washcloth, to relieve pain. While the ice pack or cold compress may help relieve pain. We recommend starting with a warm compress. The warm heat can help relax the muscles around the ear, helping with drainage, and if there is an excess of wax buildup, the heat will facilitate drainage.

To make a warm compress run a towel under warm to hot water (not too hot to burn the child) and wring the towel out, and gently lay on top of the child’s infected ear when they are lying on their side. After 10-15 minutes, have them roll over to have the infected, painful ear side down with the reheated warm compress on the bottom. 10-15 minutes in this position allows gravity to help with drainage or wax build-up.


Did you know that getting enough Vitamin D and rest can help prevent ear infections? While it may not seem directly related, boosting your child’s immune system is a great way to keep them healthy and less susceptible to ear infections.

Rest is key in helping your child recover faster from an ear infection, in fact, if you struggle with sleep, it could be contributing to more than just ear infections. Sleep has been shown to help regulate blood sugar, behavior, and overall immune and digestive health.

Distraction techniques such as reading, playing games, or watching a movie can help take their mind off the pain and make the recovery process easier for them.

Additionally, Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can help boost your child’s immune system. Vitamin D can be obtained through vitamin supplements, exposure to sunlight, and consuming foods such as fatty fish and mushrooms (I know what you’re thinking, parents, we don’t have any creative recipes for this one!). Since many of us live in the Northern States, supplementing Vitamin D is key during the winter months (November through March). Ask your healthcare provider for specifics about the right dosage for your kiddo.


Did you know that creating a saltwater ear gargle can help reduce inflammation and alleviate ear discomfort, much like a saltwater gargle can help with a sore throat?

To create an ear salt water gargle, simply mix one teaspoon of salt in one cup of water. Make sure the water is warm but not too hot to avoid any burning sensation.

Once the solution is mixed, tilt your head to the side and pour the salt water into your ear. Let it sit for a few seconds before tilting your head to the other side to let the solution drain out.

This simple and easy method can help to reduce inflammation in the ear and provide relief from discomfort. However, if you are experiencing severe pain or other symptoms, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional.


Hydrogen peroxide is a natural and inexpensive option for those looking to alleviate the pain of an ear infection. Many people have used this remedy for years, and it’s still a popular choice today. The hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen in the ear canal, which helps remove ear wax and debris. Additionally, it can also help to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, which can help to alleviate ear pain.

To use this remedy, simply tilt your head to one side and add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide directly into your ear. Allow the hydrogen peroxide to stay in your ear for several minutes, then tilt your head to the other side to let it drain out. It’s important to note that hydrogen peroxide should not be used in the ear if you have a ruptured eardrum.  If you’re unsure about using hydrogen peroxide for an ear infection, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional first.


Garlic and ginger are natural remedies that may help ease ear pain and discomfort. Garlic has both antibiotic and pain-relieving properties, making it a potential option for treating ear infections. To use this remedy, you can soak crushed garlic in warm olive oil for several minutes and apply a few drops into the affected ear canal.

Ginger, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and soothe pain from earaches. You can apply ginger juice around the outer ear canal to potentially help ease discomfort.


If you want to “press the easy button” on Garlic and Ginger, many health food stores sell a mixture of garlic, ginger, and other Naturopathic supplements designed to help the ears. While they all are a bit different,  they are formulated to ease discomfort naturally with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Most brands contain a combination of Garlic, Ginger (tea tree oil), Mullein, Lavender, Vitamin E, Olive Oil, and other herbs. These drops are often as effective as OTC ear drops in caring for children with ear infections.


Helping pick a sleeping or laying position can be difficult for a child, but it can make a difference. When it comes to ear infections sleeping on the ear without an infection or on the back can promote faster healing of the infected ear. This is because sleeping on the infected ear can cause pressure to build up, exacerbating the pain and inflammation.

On the other hand, sleeping on the unaffected ear or on the back can help remove pressure from the infected ear, allowing for better airflow and faster healing. While this may not be doable for an entire night, using this as a way to help your child get to sleep in a comfortable position can make all the difference.


When Samantha first found Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic Care, she truthfully wasn’t exactly sure how long it would take or what exactly her Care Plan would be focused on. But after our initial consultation and hearing the  5-Step Clinical Process she knew she was in the right place.

After deep diving into Bryce’s history, we found she had a difficult birth and delivery, snored when she slept, and had a very weak immune system from a young age.

Next, Bryce’s INSiGHT Scans showed that she had extra tension in her Upper Cervical spine (neck) region right around the muscles that help drainage from the sinuses into the neck’s lymph nodes; this was holding fluid where it shouldn’t be.

Putting her clinical history and scan findings together, we built a Care Plan specifically for her. After just a few months, she was entirely in the clear from ear infections and on the path to a healthy, thriving childhood!

When we guided Samantha through Bryce’s Insight Scans at the Report of Findings visit, it was “eye-opening” to see the exact area the struggle was coming from.

“I learned so much during that first report of findings, and everything started clicking into place. I understood why Bryce had these challenges, and it felt encouraging to see it on paper.” 

Following the report,  Bryce started her Care Plan, and immediately after Bryce’s first gentle adjustment, the results were evident.

“After Bryce’s first adjustment, she fell asleep in the car. She has never been a car napper, not even as a baby.  Then she took 3 more naps that first week! It has been probably 2 years since she has taken consistent naps. After about two weeks of adjustments, she started sleeping through the night…When she gets sick, the symptoms are less severe, shorter-lived, and no more ear infections! She is slowly starting to let her true personality shine outside of our house, and others are finally able to see and experience our very best girl.”

Natural Ear Infection Remedy | PX Docs

The above INSiGHT Scans show Bryce’s amazing progress! This is an EMG scan that looks at the energy and tension in the muscles of the neck that help drain the inner ear and keep fluid moving through the neck, lymphatic system, and throughout the whole body. In Bryce’s ‘before’ scan, you can see the red color in the neck and upper back. This showed the tightness and tension holding back the full drainage system from working. It was simply getting stuck in her ear canal. In Bryce’s progress scan, the tension was drastically reduced, going right along with mom reporting she was no longer congested, clogged, and filled with fluid in her ears, nose, and throat! Giving mom full confidence that her body was draining! Making clogged ears and sinuses a thing of the past! 

Yes, a natural ear infection remedy may not be on every Google search result. Still, they are proven very effective in helping children get past the cycle of chronic ear infections. If you have questions about the natural remedies put forth in this article, we encourage you to reach out to your local PX Doc and schedule a consultation!

If, after hearing Bryce’s Story and learning about Neurologically-Focused Pediatric Chiropractic, you think that subluxation may be playing a role in your child’s chronic ear infections, and you are local to San Diego, give us a call today!  If you are out of the area, check out the PX Docs Directory to find a office near!


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About the Author
Dr. Matt Hill is a pediatric and family chiropractor who practices at PWC Chiropractic in Crystal Lake, IL. In addition to full-time practice, Dr. Matt is the Lead Clinical Guide at PXDocs. Dr. Matt’s specialty in neurological-focused chiropractic for children started 13 years ago with his son Micah. Micah was diagnosed with a brain injury that happened in utero during development. After talking with many medical professionals and being left without hope that anything could help his condition, Micah started Neurologically focused Chiropractic Care, showing remarkable changes. He went from a baby with low motor tone, immobile and struggling to communicate, to walking, interacting, and using actions and communication tools to tell us what he needs. Despite his diagnosis and struggles, he is now the happiest teenager – growing and learning despite his developmental challenges! When not in practice or teaching, Dr. Matt is with his family, which has grown to include four boys! Micah, who is now 13; Eli, who is 10, 7-year-old Zachary, and racing after them all 4-year-old Josh.