Holistic health care providers, like Chiropractors, look at a patient’s health situation in its entirety and how one condition might affect another.  Chiropractors focus on how the function of the nerves can be improved to allow the body to work the way it was intended.  Attention Deficit Disorder is a great example of a condition that has different systems in the body that can complicate the symptoms.  New estimates show that about 11% of children ages 6-17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit disorder, which equals around 6.4 million children.  Approximately two-thirds of them take prescription stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall.  The use of these Class II controlled substances to alter the behavior of children is disconcerting to many parents and chiropractors.

Chiropractors offer a non-drug and non-invasive treatment alternative for ADHD patients that effects the underlying problems, not just symptoms. “Motor activity—especially development of the postural muscles—is the baseline function of brain activity. Anything affecting postural muscles will influence brain development. Musculoskeletal imbalance will create imbalance of brain activity, and one part of the brain will develop faster than the other, and that’s what’s happening in ADHD patients,” says Dr. Melillo, one doctor who is extensively studying chiropractic care and ADHD.

Chiropractic can also help ADHD children with the sensory integration aspect of attention problems.  Children with ADHD are often irritated by the tags on their clothes. They may not like the texture and coarseness of certain foods. Chiropractic adjustments together with tactile programs, such as exercises, help reduce their sensitivity. Reducing sensitivity means better attention spans, as children will not be distracted by the factors that used to irritate them.

While chiropractors do not “treat” ADD/ADHD, the effects of chiropractic care on children diagnosed with learning disorders and hyperactivity have been described in a growing body of publications.  These studies show dramatic changes that have been reported in children ADD/ADHD following chiropractic care. Every child with a vertebral misalignment that reduces nerve function, called a subluxation, needs chiropractic care, whether or not symptoms are present. By correcting nerve interference, function is improved, with greater expression of human potential.  Very simply, chiropractic helps nerves work better to improve health.

Some other lifestyle changes can be made to help improve the child’s overall health and correct chemical imbalances that cause ADHD.  We would encourage these parents to:

  • Remove as many food dyes, sugar, preservatives, and additives from the diet as possible.
  • Focus on natural, mostly organic foods with as few pesticides or herbicides as possible.
  • Determine if there is an allergy—usually starting with dairy and gluten and try elimination diets.
  • Stop using pesticide sprays in the house.
  • Insure your child is getting quality sleep regularly.

According to the Center for Disease Control when compared to children with excellent or very good health status, children with a fair or poor health status were four times as likely to have ADHD.  Chiropractic is another way to help insure that your child’s little body is functioning at its highest potential for excellent health.

-Dr. Traci Nelson

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