Improved Health and Quality of Life in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a study on March 22, 2018, documenting the case of chiropractic care improving the overall health and quality of life for a girl who was suffering with autism spectrum disorder.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a ‘developmental disorder’ because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.”

The study further explains the condition by saying that ASD is “… a multisystem neurodevelopmental condition that occurs in a period during the first 36 months of life that manifests as abnormalities in communication deficits, social skills, along with repetitive stereotyped behaviors.” This condition has become one of the most common disabilities in the U.S. with estimates being that ASD affects 1 in 68 children, with a higher prevalence in boys than in girls. The number of children being diagnosed with ASD has been growing rapidly. Between the years 2002 and 2008, there was a 78% increase in the number of diagnosed cases. The costs for care for children with ASD is staggering, with estimates of medical and educational additional costs being as high as $17,000 per child per year.

In this case, a 10-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor for care of her primary problems of neck and lower back pain. The girl did not suffer an accident or injury, but she did mention that her pain was worse when she was looking down at her book while studying. She was suffering with this pain for about four years, and running and sitting for too long made her pain worse. The girl had been previously diagnosed with ASD, pervasive development disorder (PDD), and explosive outburst disorder (EOD).

The history notes that the girl had met all developmental milestones until the age of 18 months. Then, at 18 months of age immunizations were given, after which developmental milestones were no longer being met. She became unable to throw a ball, climb or descend stairs, use a spoon, feed herself, identify body parts, sit herself in a chair or perform several other common tasks that a child of her age should be able to accomplish.

A chiropractic examination was performed with the conclusion being that multiple areas of vertebral subluxation were present in the girl’s spine. Chiropractic care then began at the rate of three visits per week.

The study reports that once chiropractic care was started, the girl only needed to be restrained once a week rather than the 20-30 times per week prior to chiropractic. As care continued, the mother reported that her daughter was hurting herself less, calming down, stopped flapping her hands, exhibited improved communications, had less repetitive behavior, had better interaction with other children, improved eye contact, and better sleep. Her original symptoms of neck and back pain were also improved.

In the study’s conclusion, the author wrote, “This case study shows improved health outcomes, behavior and quality of life, subjectively and objectively, following chiropractic care in a child with ASD.”

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