Published in the June 2019 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics is a case study documenting the improvement under chiropractic care of behavior and attention in a child diagnosed with ADHD. The study defines ADHD with “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex pattern of persistent inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsiveness that can interfere normal functioning or development.”
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), 26 million children and adolescents have ADHD. The study authors point out that the stimulants Ritalin and Dexamphetamine have been common medical treatment for ADHD for years. The study notes that while these drugs may yield short-term success in managing the symptoms of ADHD, they do not address the cause of the problems.
The study also addresses the usage of non-medical approaches to ADHD by stating, “Current non-pharmaceutical treatments for ADHD, including behavioral therapies, educational therapies, family counseling, and dietary or nutritional intervention, have exhibited varying degrees of success, though none stand out as significantly more effective than others.”
In this case, a 7-year old girl with anxiety, sleep disturbances, learning difficulties and behavioral issues was brought to a chiropractor for evaluation. Her history revealed a difficult birth requiring forceps to be used, and a fall at 22 month of age that require medical attention. Her sleep disturbance was that she was unable to fall asleep. Her anxiety was explained to be that she believed she was being bullied at school. Due to her shortened attention span, the girl had difficulties learning in school .She was medically diagnosed at age seven with ADHD by a general practitioner and pediatrician, who prescribed Ritalin.
A chiropractic examination was performed which resulted in the diagnosis of subluxations being present in the girl’s spine. With the consent of a parent, chiropractic care was started on the girl at the initial rate of one visit per week.
The study reports the outcome of the chiropractic care by stating, “Over the course of chiropractic care the child demonstrated reduction in symptoms associated with ADHD, was less anxious and had improved sleep patterns.” The changes to the girl’s sleep pattern and behavior was noticed after just the second chiropractic adjustment. The parents also reported that by the third visit, their daughter was able to better concentrate, and by the fourth visit, the girl was able to have a successful sleepover for the first time in her life.
The study authors explain the chiropractic approach for children in general by saying, “Chiropractic care for the pediatric population has grown in acceptance. Parents regularly choose chiropractic care to help manage common childhood conditions. Chiropractic care aims to optimize health and wellbeing through the enhancement of the nervous system function by removing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxation.”
In their conclusion they note, “Chiropractic care focused on the correction of vertebral subluxation, was associated with improvements in the child’s presenting symptoms associated with ADHD.”