More and more parents are concerned about both the short and long term effects of psychotropic medications such as Adderall or Ritalin on their children to treat ADHD. Needless to say, many of these same parents are searching for alternative treatments and solutions to the challenges these children face.
While natural ADHD treatment options are already available, more might have been under our nose this whole time. New research by Joel Alcantara and James Davis has analyzed the affects of chiropractic care on ADHD and its symptoms, and the results have been noteworthy to say the least.
Children analyzed in the study were subject to the following inclusion criteria, namely: (a) the child was clinically diagnosed as having ADHD, (b) the child underwent a diagnostic workup, including a history and physical examination to screen for comorbidities and signs and symptoms indicative of a contraindication to chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), and (c) the child underwent consistent chiropractic care for at least five months. All children in this particular sample who had met the criteria were males, ranging in age from seven to 11 years.
To assess the progress and results of the treatment, both the children’s parents as well as their teachers on both symptoms of ADHD as well as overall emotional and social behaviors. Moreover, both parents and teachers were asked to fill out this 15 point questionnaire periodically throughout the treatment (six separate questionnaires, one per month of treatment). The results of which are displayed below in Figures 1-4.
This retrospective review demonstrated that with continued chiropractic care, the symptoms of ADHD (ie, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention as well as behavioral, social, or emotional difficulties) improve as measured by the questionnaires filled out by both parents and teachers. Given that ADHD is a chronic condition, it remains to be determined if continued chiropractic care will result in continued improvement (perhaps even to the point where ADHD symptoms are no longer problematic for patients) or a “saturation effect” occurs (ie, ADHD symptom improvements have reached a plateau regardless continued care), or if withdrawal of chiropractic care maintains the improvements observed.
Regardless, the article showed continued improvement in only five months of care. As such, this study provides supporting evidence that chiropractic may abate the symptoms of ADHD and may provide a complementary or alternative care approach to allopathic care approaches (ie, psychotropic medication). It should be noted however that this study does not imply chiropractic treatment is a complete cure for the condition, but rather the symptoms of ADHD are abated (ie, “like a dimmer for the lights”) which is theorized to be concomitant with improvement in spinal function.
As such, we’ll eagerly await more research on the topic with larger sample sizes.
Alcantara, J., & Davis, J. (2010). The chiropractic care of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a retrospective case series. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 6(3), 173-182.