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I was out whale watching with some friends when we were talking with the marine biologist and exchanging what we did for a living. As the conversation got around to me, I shared my love for chiropractic and pediatrics.

She told me of her 15-month-old grandson and some neurological challenges he was having and that his specialists did not have any answers. I offered to check him and see if chiropractic might help; while I could not make any promises, I knew that removing any nerve interference was going to be an essential piece to aid in his recovery. I had been seeing extended members of their family, so the infant’s mother easily said yes and brought him to our office for care.

The little boy’s history included an easy, happy pregnancy that would end with a planned Caesarean section for delivery. The plans were abruptly changed when labor began on its own and early at 37 weeks. While not considered an emergency caesarean section, the shift in timeline was cause for concern for the parents. The family had previously lost a baby after premature birth and now the newest member of their family was delivered early and was struggling to breathe. Thankfully, he was able to recover fairly quickly and was placed in the loving arms of his mom.

The baby’s development was typical; he had reached all of his milestones and all at once during a diaper change, at 6 months old, he became unresponsive. His mother cried out his name repeatedly and jostled him, but it was an agonizing minute before he came around again. She was frantic and panicked while calling her husband. They immediately took him to the hospital where blood was drawn and were told everything came back normal, so they were referred to a specialist in Seattle, Washington. An EEG, ECG, and an MRI were all performed and returned normal.

After his mother had shown a video of one of the episodes to the specialists, they concluded that it would be classified as a working diagnosis of syncope, but the diagnosis did not completely fit that either and the parents were to “wait and see.”

The family had moved when the little boy had another seizure. This was the first episode in eight months and presented very differently to his mother. They took him to the emergency room at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, where another EEG was performed and again came back clear. Their specialists were dumbfounded as well, with no concrete diagnosis or treatment plan to offer the parents. They felt helpless and out of control of their child’s health. As time went by, every bowel movement was met with the same 1 to 2 minute inability to move his body. They had no answers and nowhere to turn.

He was 15 months old at his first visit to our office and during his examination, spinal subluxation, cranial asymmetry, and persistent primitive reflexes were all identified. Primitive reflexes serve a purpose during labor, delivery, and nursing and become the framework upon which the developmental milestones are built.

Though he was meeting his milestones, he had also retained five primitive reflexes (Spinal Galant, Babinski, Palmar Grasp, Rooting, and Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex). By the end of his appointment, his spinal subluxations were corrected, cranial symmetry was restored, and his parents were given progressive neurological exercises to do at home involving stroking his face, hands, and soles of his feet with a soft paint brush, as well as assisted bouncing and rolling on an exercise ball while sitting, kneeling, and standing.

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They were also instructed to sit him on their knee, leaning him from side-to-side, and to make a game out of it, as making it fun is the key to compliance. Our brains also retain new information at a much faster rate when we learn as a result of play.

The parents went home with renewed hope and something they could do to help their child. His mother said, “I felt like I was finally doing something proactively. We had something to focus on at home and having instructions gave me the feeling of a little control where before I felt like I had none.” His parents found that as they were more consistent with the exercises, the seizures became less frequent. Where previously both sides of his body were affected during an event, one side began to heal more quickly until all symptoms subsided on both sides of his body. 

Over the course of the next eight months, 17 adjustments, and at-home neurological exercises, their son stopped having seizures and has led a happy and healthy childhood ever since. He recently celebrated his eighth birthday and loves to go fishing and hunting for any kind of critter (frogs, bugs, worms, etc). He is obsessed with Godzilla and enjoys being a typical kid.