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ADHD and Chiropractic

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In order to understand how chiropractic care can help the symptoms of ADHD we must first understand what is going on.

Most people look at children with ADHD as bouncing from one thing to the next and unable to pay attention ….so, why is that?

ADHD is neurological in nature and involves the autonomic nervous system. Our autonomic nervous system control our bodily functions that are non conscious (heartbeat, digestions, breathing, ect.) ADHD is a system of imbalance and disorganization of the ANS. There are two sides to the Autonomic Nervous system- Sympathetic and Papa-sympathetic.

Your sympathetic nervous system, also know as “fight or flight” is the “gas petal” to your body. Your para-sympathetic nervous system, or your “rest and digest” is the “brake” to your body.

The sympathetic system is more active when you are under stress (woken suddenly at night, work deadline, being chased). On the other hand your para-sympathetic is in action when you are relaxing, digesting, or sleeping. A healthy individual has a balance between these two branches.

Now in a person with ADHD the body is almost stuck in “Gas pedal” mode and their “brakes” barely works.

A person with ADHD is stuck in a sympathetic pattern. They can not turn off that fight or flight response. They need to be moving or if they are sitting they have to move a body part or squirm around to get that input. Think of when you are woken sudden at night by a sound. Is it easy to just fall back asleep? Does it take awhile to calm your nerves and remind yourself it is ok? A child with ADHD has a hard time calming down. This is were impulse, high energy and behavioral issue come from. The child has all of this pent of up energy and they can’t come down from it.

Now take a child who is stuck in fight or flight mode and people are trying to teach this child how to speak, how to act socially, how to pay attention and they can’t take anything in. I don’t know about you but when I am in a state of stress it is incredibly hard to learn anything or listen to someone talking and truly take in the information. That being said if you don’t first address the over dominance of the sympathetics and the disorganization anything you try and incorporate to help such as nutrition, behavior, concentration techniques is going to be an uphill battle. Once the autonomic nervous system is slightly more balanced it becomes easier and easier.

How can the chiropractic adjustment help?

I do not “treat” ADHD, however ADHD has a very strong neurological component. As a chiropractor I am working to reduce nervous system disturbances. What I do see in my office is a misalignment or fixation of the upper neck. If it is not caught early enough those fixations tend to travel along the spine as compensation starts to happen. This interrupts a normal flow of neuro-sensory input into the brain and abnormal energy output.

Through specific adjustments we are restoring proper alignment and movement, balancing out the autonomic nervous system, and calming the sympathetic nervous system.

It is not a magic wand. It is a tool in the tool box of ways to help and certainly a place to start. I would be more than happy to evaluate your child to see if it could help him or her find some relief.

-Dr. Becky Perry-Domres,

Minot Chiropractor