Could visiting a chiropractor really help children with autism? A case study published in the journal Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research suggests that may just be the case. The study followed an adopted three-year-old little girl diagnosed with autism.
Born at 28-weeks to a mother with a history of drug abuse, the little girl had exhibited abnormal behavior for most of her life. After several doctors diagnosed her with autism, her adoptive parents decided to seek out a developmental evaluation. The little girl failed five key areas of evaluation: sensory, communication, cognitive, self-help and adaptation; and social and emotional.
The child’s parents decided to take her to a chiropractor, with the hopes that some chiropractic adjusting could provide some natural relief for her myriad of ailments. She was experiencing some typical neurological autism manifestations such as persistent headaches, vomiting, acid reflux, trouble sleeping and seizures. The chiropractor performed subluxation-based chiropractic care on the patient.
In just one month, all of her ailments were resolved. In fact, the child improved in many ways and exhibited great progress in several domains. She began making more eye contact, has a happier demeanor, better attitude, greater focus, increased attention, and is even beginning to form words. The authors of the case study state that the little girl has continued to expand her vocabulary and improve her ability to focus and pay attention. The child also appeared to stop experiencing epileptic episodes.
The little girl’s mother has said that she is “off all of her medications, she’s making improvements with her occupational therapists, speech therapists, even her preschool teachers are noticing a big difference…” The effect of chiropractic care on this little girl truly can’t be understated.
Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractic doctor, public health researcher and editor of the journal which published the study, says, “If you damage or compress or otherwise interfere with the neurological structures in the spine this can have far reaching implications on the functioning of the body.” He also goes on to explain that case studies such as this suggest that correcting the misalignments or abnormal movement associated with spinal problems can also reduce interference in nerves, leading to overall improvements. Essentially, correcting spinal problems may also correct issues in communication between nerves, leading to improvements across the nervous system.
This effect seems very similar to what past research on food allergies, food intolerances and autism has revealed. As a 1999 study emphasized, food intolerance can make the symptoms of autism worse. In the study, autistic children were placed on a dairy-free, yeast-free diet. Of all the kids, 49 percent exhibited improvements while on the diet.
It makes sense that if a child has a food allergy or intolerance that hasn’t been diagnosed, removing that item would help kids to feel better, and consequently function better. Chiropractic care likely functions in a similar way; by removing discomfort or other issues, autistic children are then able to function at their best.
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