How Can Chiropractic Care Help With ADHD?
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, affects many individuals worldwide. Characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity, attention difficulty, and impulsiveness, ADHD can pose significant challenges in everyday life.
Is attention deficit disorder (ADD) different? No it isn't. ADD is the same as ADHD. In the early 90s, it was decided that all forms of attention-deficit disorder would be referred to as ADHD. This is true even if hyperactivity is not present.
Many are familiar with conventional treatments of ADHD like medications and therapy. However, there's growing interest in alternative approaches like chiropractic care. Due to its holistic and non-pharmacological method of symptom management, chiropractic care is growing in popularity among those who struggle with ADHD.
Whether you're an individual with ADHD or a parent of a child with the disorder, this article aims to shed light on the intersection between ADHD and chiropractic care. Here’s everything you need to know.
Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects an individual’s ability to maintain attention, control impulses, and manage hyperactive behaviors. It's one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood, but it can also continue through adolescence and adulthood.
ADHD is more than simply being "overactive" or "easily distracted." It's a complex condition with neurological roots that can profoundly impact an individual's life. Academic performance, career progression, and social interaction can all be affected by ADHD.
Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD symptoms can vary by individual, but they're generally grouped into two main categories: inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.
An individual who struggles with inattention:
Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities.
Frequently has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or activities.
Often doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to directly.
Regularly has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Avoids or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require consistent concentration.
An individual who struggles with hyperactivity-impulsivity:
Often fridges with or taps hands and feet, or squirms in their seat.
Frequently leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
Often runs or climbs in situations where it’s not appropriate (adolescents or adults might be limited to simply feeling restless).
Frequently talks in excess.
Often interrupts or intrudes on others’ conversations or games.
Struggles with waiting for their turn.
While everyone may display these behaviors from time to time, individuals with ADHD experience these symptoms more severely. They may also experience them more frequently and these symptoms can even interfere with or reduce some aspects of their day-to-day life.
The Connection Between ADHD and the Spine
When exploring ADHD, it might seem unusual to discuss the spine. However, understanding the connection between the two can offer insights into holistic approaches that can help manage ADHD symptoms.
The Central Nervous System and ADHD
At its core, ADHD is a neurological condition. The brain, being a primary component of the central nervous system, is responsible for functions like attention, impulse control, and activity levels. These are all areas affected by ADHD. The spine also plays a crucial role in the central nervous system as it's the communication channel between the brain and the rest of the body.
Any misalignments in the spine, particularly the upper cervical region, can potentially interfere with these neural communications. If messages from the brain are not being relayed efficiently due to spinal issues, it might worsen or contribute to neurological conditions such as ADHD.
Spinal Misalignments and Brain Function
Spinal misalignments, known in chiropractic care as subluxations, can have effects beyond physical discomfort or pain. These misalignments can impact the flow of nerve energy and blood circulation to the brain. Given that altered brain activity and blood flow patterns have been observed in individuals with ADHD, addressing spinal health becomes crucial.
For instance, if there's reduced blood flow to certain areas of the brain responsible for attention and impulse control, it might manifest as symptoms synonymous with ADHD. Correcting spinal subluxations might enhance blood flow and neural communication, potentially influencing ADHD symptoms.
Benefits of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care for ADHD
Upper cervical chiropractic care focuses on the delicate region at the top of the spine, where the skull meets the neck. This area, encompassing the atlas and axis vertebrae, plays a pivotal role in the central nervous system's functioning.
While current research is ongoing and results are not definitive, some individuals with ADHD have sought upper cervical chiropractic care as a treatment option to manage their symptoms.
In fact, the National Library of Medicine conducted a case report that indicated the positive effect between ADHD symptoms and spinal adjustments. Scientific research is still needed and encouraged, the case study reported “supporting evidence on the benefits of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy.”
Here’s How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treatment Can Help Manage the Symptoms of ADHD:
Increased Neural Communication
The upper cervical region is a neurological powerhouse with numerous nerve pathways. Proper alignment may promote clearer nerve communication which would influence ADHD symptoms.
Improved Blood Flow to the Brain
The vertebral arteries, which supply a significant portion of the brain's blood, pass through the cervical vertebrae. Ensuring this region is free from misalignments can foster better blood flow, potentially aiding in optimal brain function.
Stress and Tension Relief
Physical discomfort and tension can heighten ADHD symptoms. By addressing misalignments in the upper cervical area, chiropractic care can offer relief from physical stressors.
Some individuals report better sleep after receiving chiropractic adjustments. Given that sleep disturbances are common in people with ADHD, any improvement in sleep quality can potentially help symptoms during waking hours.
Holistic Approach to Health
Upper cervical chiropractic care views the body as an interconnected system. Addressing issues in one area, like the upper spine, can influence other parts of the body. This holistic perspective might resonate with those looking for comprehensive care for ADHD and give them another option beyond stimulant medications.
Frequently Asked Questions about ADHD and Use of Chiropractic Care
Does Going to a Chiropractor Help with ADHD?
While research is still ongoing, many small-scale studies have shown promising results for the role spinal manipulation plays in the treatment of ADHD in patients. Additionally, doctors of chiropractic, such as Dr. Alexa, will focus on a patient’s overall health, so they may suggest dietary changes as developing a healthy lifestyle is recommended by the CDC to help manage ADHD symptoms.
Can a Chiropractor Help Kids with ADHD?
In short, yes! Again, more research is needed to understand the full scope of chiropractic care’s role in ADHD treatment, but many studies on children and adolescents have been conducted and show promising results. The National Library of Medicine shares the results of one study that involved chiropractic care for a 5-year-old boy with ADHD where his symptoms improved significantly over a one-year period. Several other case studies exist including one on the effects of chiropractic treatment on students. In this study, 12 students were given ADHD medication to aid their symptoms and 12 students received chiropractic care instead of medication. The study concluded that chiropractic care was more effective over a wide span of symptoms.
How Does ADHD Affect the Spinal Cord?
While ADHD doesn't directly affect the spinal cord, behaviors associated with the condition can influence spinal health. For example, individuals with ADHD often exhibit constant movement. Frequently shifting positions, fidgeting, or assuming non-standard positions over time can lead to strain or misalignment in the spine. Additionally, inattention can lead to less awareness of one’s posture which can lead to prolonged periods of slouching or sitting improperly.
[...]After two serious bouts with bells palsy I watch my stress and wellness level continuously. Dr Alexa helps me stay in alignment and is a huge part of my wellness team that keeps me not simply functioning but thriving. [...] - C. Medina rated LIV Chiropractic Center 5 stars on Google.
Discover How Regular Chiropractic Care Can Have a Positive Impact on ADHD
While traditional ADHD treatment options like medication and therapy remain primary approaches, it's encouraging to explore other options that might offer relief and holistic well-being. Chiropractic care, especially focusing on the upper cervical region, has shown potential benefits for a variety of health concerns.
If you or a loved one has ADHD, book a free evaluation with Dr. Alexa today to discover how chiropractic care can help improve your ADHD management strategy.
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