Improvement in ADHD Following Chiropractic – A Case Study

From the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research comes a case study published on July 10, 2014, documenting the subjective and objective improvement of a young boy with ADHD after receiving chiropractic care. The author begins his study by explaining that “Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a condition known to cause bouts of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, poor academic performance and disruptive social behavior.” He notes that ADHD has been shown to affect 5% of children and 4% of adults.

The common medical practice in cases of ADHD is the use of medication. The author warns of the dangers of this approach. “Although medication has been shown to help in the management of symptoms in children with ADHD, research shows that academic performance is not improved in the medium and long term and may have harmful effects given the typical way the medications are used in the community and the adverse side effects caused by the medications.”

In this case, an 11-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor having been diagnosed with ADHD two years earlier by his psychologist. He was originally given Concerta but was later taken off that drug by his guardians due to the boy experiencing the side effects of appetite loss and reportedly turning him into a “social zombie.” He was also suffering from neck pain for the past three years.

One of the examination procedures performed was a “TOVA” examination. This procedure objectively tests and rates some of the issues with ADHD such as an individual’s sustained attention, speed and consistency of responding, and behavioral self-regulation. With this test, it was possible to rate changes to the boy’s ADHD before and after his chiropractic care.

A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed which determined that vertebral subluxation was present at the top of the boy’s neck. Based on this finding, specific chiropractic adjustments were started to correct the subluxations. The boy was also given exercises and his diet was more closely watched and regulated.

After the first adjustment, the boy’s neck pain was gone and did not return. After three months of care, the boy was re-evaluated using the same processes performed at the beginning of his care which included the TOVA examination. The test showed improvement in the boy’s spinal structure, and improvement in his neurological imbalances back to normal levels. The TOVA test showed the most objective improvement. A normal TOVA score is “0” or above. The boy’s original score was (minus) -3.94, and had dramatically improved after three months of chiropractic to a (minus) -0.46.

In his discussion of this case the author notes, “Although the purpose of chiropractic care was not to diagnose or treat the patient’s ADHD, his condition improved both subjectively and objectively and that likely translated into academic improvement.” He continued in his conclusion, “Although it is impossible to make sweeping conclusions about the link between the Atlas Subluxation Complex being a causative factor of ADHD, we can conclude that this patient has achieved quality of life improvement that has been subjectively reported and objectively measured by the TOVA software, neurological exams and behavioral evaluation.”

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