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ADHD and Chiropractic
Helping Children with Attention Deficit Disorder
past decade, prescriptions for Ritalin, a stimulant medication commonly used
for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), increased five-fold, with
90 percent of all prescriptions worldwide consumed in the United States.
As many parents grow leery of the traditional medical approach to ADHD, doctors
of chiropractic are offering promising results with non-drug treatments that
focus on postural muscles, nutrition and lifestyle changes that affect brain
Some children may simply have difficulty learning certain subjects, but the
current system—in a sense—prompts school officials to encourage their parents
to have the children diagnosed with ADHD, says Dr. Scott Bautch, past president
of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) Council on Occupational Health.
"The higher the number of disabled kids in the school, the more funding
the school can apply for," says Dr. Bautch.
Some teachers might also have difficulty with students who have a different
style of learning, according to Dr. Bautch. If the child is a visual
learner—and the teacher is not—perhaps the child is not being taught in a way
he or she can learn. Before diagnosing the child with ADHD, Dr. Bautch
recommends doctors talk to the child and the parents: "Is the child too
active? Bored? Has dyslexia or a different learning pattern? It can be a
behavior problem, problems at home, or frustrations with the teacher's style,"
explains Dr. Bautch. "If we went to a conference where the speakers taught
in a way we can't learn, we would be frustrated and would misbehave—we'd get up
and leave or chat to the person sitting next to us."
The traditional medical model, however, seems to follow the cookie-cutter
principle. The diagnosis of ADHD is based on a questionnaire. But this is not
enough, says Dr. Robert Melillo, a chiropractic neurologist. "True ADHD
patients have other signs — tics, tremors, balance or postural problems, or
unusual sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds." Unfortunately,
although medications can keep ADHD under control, they don't cure it. Eighty
percent of patients have ADHD features in adolescence, and up to 65 percent
maintain them in adulthood.
Doctors of chiropractic and chiropractic neurologists offer a non-drug and
non-invasive treatment alternative for ADHD patients that targets 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.
Chiropractic neurologists are trained to identify the underfunctioning part of
the brain and find treatments to correct the problem, to help that hemisphere
grow. "On every patient, we perform a brain function exam," says Dr.
Frederick Carrick, president of the ACA Council on Neurology. "We test
visual and auditory reflexes through, for example, flashing light in the eye,
or asking patients to listen to music in one or the other ear."
When the problem is identified, patients are placed on a treatment program—and
most of the therapies can be done at home. "Patients are asked to smell
certain things several times a day ... or wear special glasses," says Dr.
Mark S. Smith, a chiropractic neurologist. "We also focus on their
individual problems. Some children, for example, have difficulty with planning,
organization, and coordination—so they benefit from timing therapies. They
learn to clap or tap to the metronome, perform spinning and balancing
Although currently no studies comparing chiropractic neurological and medical
treatment for ADHD are available, chiropractic neurologists are compiling the
data. "We test children before they start the treatment and then every
three months," says Dr. Melillo. "Within the first three months, the
children get a two-grade-level increase on average—which is pretty dramatic.
With children on medications, the improvement in academic performance is short
term and lasts only as long as they take the medication. Our programs change
the brain function and the improvement doesn't go away."
While chiropractic neurologists have found success in treating ADHD and
learning disabilities by providing the necessary brain stimulation, they also
recommend nutrition and lifestyle changes that may help correct or prevent
biochemical imbalances that cause ADHD. Parents are encouraged to:
as many food dyes, sugar, preservatives, and additives from the diet as
on natural, mostly organic foods with as few pesticides or herbicides as
if there is an allergy—usually starting with dairy and gluten and try
using pesticide sprays in the house.
taking medications, nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs in pregnancy that
may harm the fetus.
ways to relax during pregnancy. Stress on the job may affect the unborn
baby's health, as well.
The first months and years of a child's life are critical to physical and
psychological development. Breastfeeding mothers' diets are important as
Chiropractic Care Can Help...
If you or your loved one is diagnosed with ADHD or has the symptoms, ask your
doctor of chiropractic if he or she has experience treating patients with the
condition. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to identify neurological
problems and find individual non-invasive treatment modalities. They can also
assess your nutritional status and help you find the diet that will help you
manage your condition.
Dr. David Pearson Chiropractic Physician
50 Leanni Way A-5 Palm Coast, Fl 32137 386-246-0739
Dr. David B. Pearson, Chiropractic Physician 50 Leanni Way (Unit A-5) Palm Coast, Florida 32137 (386) 246-0739
Palm Coast Chiropractor. Dr. David B. Pearson, DC is a chiropractor in palm coast who provides care for Back Pain, Auto Injury, Neck Pain, Massage Therapy, Headache, Pain Management, back pain relief, neck pain relief to the following locations: Palm Coast, Bunnell, Ormond Beach, Flagler Beach.