Improvement Following Chiropractic Care in Boy with Traumatic Brain Injury

Published in the October 20, 2016, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health is a case study showing a young boy who had suffered from issues related to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) being helped with chiropractic. According to the Mayo clinic, “Traumatic brain injury occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.”

TBI occurs at a high rate in the general population. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year. Of these, it is estimated that 52,000 cases die, 275,000 people are hospitalized, and 1.365 million, about 80%, are treated and released from hospital emergency departments.

The study authors report that the usage of chiropractic for TBI is well documented and fairly common. However, in a literature search for research articles on chiropractic and TBI in children, this current study may be the only one that has been published.

In this case, an 11-year-old boy was brought to the outpatient clinic of a chiropractic college in Florida. The boy was experiencing decreased coordination in his left hand as well as a decrease in strength in his right leg. He was also exhibiting altered and slower speech.

The boy’s history revealed that the boy was in a motor vehicle accident five years earlier and sustained a traumatic brain injury along with a fractured right wrist, right femur, and pelvis. Prior to the accident, his mother reported that he broke his left wrist from a fall. His mother also stated that previous doctors had told her that nothing could be done to improve her son’s coordination. His family physician diagnosed the boy with traumatic encephalopathy, intellectual functioning disability, and acne.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural inspection, spinal palpation, range of motion, and a variety of orthopedic testing. The conclusion based upon the examination was the presence of subluxations in the boy’s spine.

Over an eight month period of time, the boy’s coordination improved. He was also able to pronounce words more clearly, and his ability to perform certain types of exercises improved greatly. The boy’s mother reported that her son was able to perform daily living activities much better and had been hitting baseballs in the batting cage.

The study quoted one of the mother’s reports of her son’s improvement when she stated, “The other day he ran to me saying he was able to tie his shoes and had me watch him. He was not able to button his pants, dress himself, or tie his shoes before coming here to the clinic. Now he is able to button his pants, dress himself, and tie his shoes without any help. He is getting better grades in school and is now participating in sports and activities in his Physical Education class. He is so much happier and more independent.”

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