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Breaking Through Adhd With Chiropractic Care

An estimated 3 to 4 million children, and probably even more adults, have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is most often thought of as a medical disorder requiring medical treatment, largely via mind-altering drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall.

There is no standard definition or standard of treatment for ADHD. The psychologist sees it as a mental disorder, the medical doctor looks at a neurochemical imbalance, the neurologist perceives a brain dysfunction, and the teacher observes a discipline problem. Then they attempt to treat these symptoms from their perspective, never seeing the whole picture. While each therapy has had some limited success in certain cases, they tend to fail when applied universally.

From the 1990 research findings of Dr. Kenneth Blum, the root cause in many cases of ADHD is often related to malfunctioning in what Blum has named the Brain Reward Cascade. Humankind’s very survival is dependent on the drive for pleasure. Whether eating, loving, working, or playing, the sense of pleasure is derived from the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nervous system. This results in the “natural reward” of pleasure. When dopamine production or transportation is insufficient, it requires ever-increasing stimulation to achieve a sense of satisfaction. This can be seen in the hyperactive response of those with ADHD.

Research by Dr. Candace Pert found that almost half of these primary reward centers reside in the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology have discovered neurons in the spinal cord that project directly to the amygdala and the orbital cortex. These neurons transfer somatosensory information, which ultimately affects autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral function.

The limbic system (especially the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and the dorsal nerve roots) can only function normally when it is free of interference. When out of balance, the Brain Reward Cascade does not function properly and symptoms of what Blum calls Reward Deficiency Syndrome, including ADHD, appear.

That is why a fully functioning nervous system is vital. When the limbic system’s Brain Reward Cascade can function without interference, the feeling of well-being can be restored. The vertebral motor units communicate with the Brain Reward Cascade by way of the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves. The nociceptive reflex (also called the withdrawal reflex) from the vertebrae therefore has a profound effect on the limbic system. If there is a spinal misalignment (vertebral subluxation), it can result in a warped perception of one’s environment.

Since chiropractors focus on correcting vertebral subluxations and their consequent effects on the nervous system, proper chiropractic care can be a vital part in improving the lives of those with ADHD.

Injury and ADHD

By Yannick Pauli, D.C.

Early research has shown that very young children who sustained head trauma often meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD within two years—even if they were not diagnosed with ADHD prior to the injury. Spurred by these findings, a study published in The British Medical Journal investigated a relationship between head injuries and childhood ADHD. The research team collected data from 62,088 children and divided them into two groups: children who had head, burns, or scald injuries before they reached the age of 2, and children who were injury-free. They discovered that those who received head injuries in early childhood are 90 percent more likely to get diagnosed with ADHD before they turned 10.

Spinal trauma usually accompanies head injury, as the abrupt cessation of movement to the head with impact also affects spinal alignment. For these reasons, it is important for your child to receive a chiropractic check-up or exam if he or she sustained any head injuries in childhood. Prevention can go a long way, too. Here are some ways to protect your child from spinal and head trauma:

Choose your birth options in advance, in order to avoid unnecessary birth trauma caused by instrumental intervention in birth.

Never leave a baby alone on raised surfaces like beds, changing tables, or chairs. If you have to leave the baby unattended, place him or her on the floor, in a crib, or in a playpen.

Childproof your home. Thoroughly install window guards, place safety gates near stairs and doors, and get rid of furniture with protruding edges. If there’s a playground in your yard, make sure there are shock-absorbing surfaces like sand or rubber mats under the playground equipment.

In the car, make sure your child is properly buckled up. Always use a child safety seat or, when they’re older, a seat belt.

Your children should wear appropriate headgear and other safety equipment when skating, riding a bike, skiing, or playing contact sports.

Be aware of what your kids’ sports activities entail.

Make sure your child takes it easy when recovering from a head injury, foregoing any sports or rough play until the injury has healed completely. Not only will it take longer for the brain to heal if it quickly gets re-injured, but every injury does additional damage.