The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a report on March 20, 2015, reviewing a large volume of prior research on the effects of chiropractic care on patients diagnosed with a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. The journal report describes neurodevelopmental disorders as disabilities associated primarily with the functioning of the neurological system and brain.
Neurodevelopmental disorders represent a variety of problems including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disorders, sensory processing disorders, developmental delays, Cerebral Palsy (CP), mental retardation, epilepsy & seizure, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD). The authors report that the majority of cases seen in the chiropractic studies were children who had been diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or ASD.
The authors of this report reviewed 51 previous articles and studies which included chiropractic care for patients with the diagnosis of one of the forms of neurodevelopmental disorders. They noted that three studies were randomized controlled trials (RCT), which are the highest form of research. The remaining studies that were reviewed represented seven reviews of literature, three case series, 34 case studies, and three surveys.
An overwhelming majority of the case studies showed positive results for the patients under chiropractic care. The main focus of the care in almost all of the studies was correction of the subluxations found in the individuals. Subluxation correction removes interference to the function of the nervous system and creates an avenue toward better overall function.
Among the many case studies showing improvement were several notable case studies including a 23-year-old male patient who developed bipolar disorder, sleep disorder, seizures, back pain, and migraine headaches. He developed all of these symptoms after an injury at age 17 during a high school track meet, when he landed on his head while attempting to pole vault. The study recorded that after one month of chiropractic care, the patient no longer suffered from seizures and manic episodes. After 18 months of care, the patient was asymptomatic.
One other interesting case involved a 19-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with pervasive language delay. It was noted that she was unable to speak prior to 11 years of age. By age 19, when she was brought in for chiropractic care, she could speak coherently, but only with her neck in flexion and her eyes looking downward. The study reports that after her first visit for chiropractic care she was able to hold her head upright and said, "Thank you very much, goodbye."
In their discussion the researchers noted, "The subluxation is very much established within the realm of chiropractic treatment and removal, or treatment of the VSC (vertebral subluxation complex) may very well improve those persons suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders."
Some individuals would look at all of these neurodevelopmental conditions and think that there is no way a chiropractor could help correct or lessen the severity of them. However chiropractic is working with and helping to correct a dysfunctional nervous system. If the nervous system is dysfunctional then how can we expect a child to develop correctly and problem free? The body does not just correct dysfunction on its own if the process has been started. That is where chiropractic can unlock the true potential of function.