Hyperactivity in Children and Chiropractic
What Is Meant By 'Hyperactivity'
A term as widely used as "hyperactivity" tends to become hazy in its meaning. To be clear, within this article hyperactivity in children refers to repeated, chronic, impulsive behavior which affects the child's home, social and/or school lives.
Many times parents, teachers or other school officials are quick to diagnosis children with a disorder when in reality they are just behaving like children. According to the Center for Disease Control, a child with ADHD can present with the following; "daydream a lot, forget or lose things a lot, squirm or fidget, talk too much, make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks, have a hard time resisting temptation, have trouble taking turns and have difficulty getting along with others."
That describes 80% of the adults I know, let alone children. Using those guidelines to diagnose a disorder seems rash. Furthermore, to give medication to a child just because they exhibit those characteristics seems irresponsible.
According to chiropractic neurologist Dr. Robert Melillo, a "true ADHD" patient presents with more pronounced signs such as "tics, tremors, balance or postural problems, or unusual sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds." This definition describes more of a disorder rather than a simply misbehaved child.
Accurately diagnosing true ADHD can be frustrating for parents. In some cases medication can be warranted, but in others it is overkill. Chiropractic care can prove to be an effective alternative for treating hyperactivity.
Is Chiropractic Safe For Children?
Chiropractic is very safe for children. According to a study done by Alcantara et al (2009), using 239 patients as subjects, chiropractic for children was found to be both safe and effective for both musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal complaints. Speaking from personal experience, I have treated children as young as 3 months old with much success.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
Chiropractic care can help hyperactivity in several different ways. Chiropractors are neuromusculoskeletal specialists. In other words, they assess, diagnosis and treat conditions involving nerves, muscles and bones. Although they are put in the "spinal specialist" box, the treatment benefits of chiropractic care are demonstrated throughout the whole body.
Sroubek et al (2013), classifies ADHD as a "neuro-developmental disorder". Hyperactivity has a foundation of nerve dysfunction, something chiropractors are very familiar with.
When there is a joint fixation (where the joint can't move as well), it can lead to nerve irritation. If left uncorrected, this nerve irritation can result in what are called 'abnormal neurosensory patterns' where the nerves are over-excited, like those associated with ADHD. Over time, these patterns become the body's new 'normal' state.
Chiropractors restore normal motion to the spine through the use of adjustments. These adjustments secure the health of nerves exiting the spine. Adjustments also help to reboot the nervous system, giving it a chance to recover from chronic nerve dysfunction.
Dr. Melillo comments on the role of postural muscles in brain function in the article Helping Children with Attention Deficit Disorder on the ACAs (American Chiropractic Association) website. He states, "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," Chiropractors not only treat imbalances of postural muscles but are also trained in patient education for active care to sustain postural strength.
Do Your Research. Be Informed.
The purpose of this article was to inform those who are at a loss of what to do that there are other options besides medications. While there are people, patients and doctors alike, who continue to have reservations concerning chiropractic, it is ultimately up to you to decide what's best for you and your child.
- Inattentiveness in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [Abstract]
Sroubek, A., Kelly, M., Li, X. (2013). Inattentiveness in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [Abstract]. Neuroscience Bulletin, 29 (1), 103-110.
- Learning and behavior improves with chiropractic care | Natural Health 365
If you’re looking to enhance your learning and behavior – you may want to consider visiting a chiropractor. Learn how a healthy spine improves brain function.
- The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: A survey of chiropractors and parents in a p
Alcantara, J., Ohm, J., Kunz, D. (2009). The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: A survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore, 5(5), 290-295.
- ACA - Helping Children with Attention Deficit Disorder
The American Chiropractic Association gives some insight to the effectiveness of chiropractic care in treating ADD.
- CDC - ADHD, Facts - NCBDDD
ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.
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