Chiropractic Care can help both children and adults with ADD and ADHD –Dr. Rose Minkiewicz, D.C.


chiropractic treatment of adhdThe spine specialists at Total Health Systems of Macomb County encourage parents to have their children adjusted on a regular basis regardless of whether or not they have back or neck pain or other symptoms. Not only do regular chiropractic adjustments help with the prevention of illness, they are especially important and beneficial if your child has been diagnosed with any health condition. One of the most frequent diagnoses that we currently treat in children is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 3% to 5% of children have ADD/ADHD. Some children with ADD/ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating on tasks. They seem bored or easily frustrated and can’t follow directions well. As they age, children with these conditions often grow into adults with poor organizational skills, goal setting, and time management. Some of these adults also have problems with addiction and maintaining meaningful relationships. The current method of diagnosis is based on observation of the child and questionnaires to gauge their level of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. There are no specific blood/chemical tests to diagnose this condition.


The exact cause off ADD/ADHD is unknown. In fact there is controversy as to whether or not it is actually a true disease. Some of the factors that may contribute to the development of the condition include: Heredity – some believe that ADHD tends to run in families, but no actual genetic link has been isolated; Chemical imbalance – experts feel that an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain may contribute to the development of the condition; Physical differences in the brain – it has been shown that the areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD than those without it; Head injury – Some reports suggest that certain types of head injury, especially concussions, can cause behavioral problems that may mimic ADHD.


Regardless of the cause and/or contributing factors, one thing is clear, the current treatment of the condition is to prescribe them a behavior altering medication and hope for the best. Since 1991, prescriptions for the most commonly used stimulant medication, Ritalin, increased five-fold in the past decade, with 90% of all prescriptions worldwide consumed in the USA. Psychiatrist, Peter Breggin wrote, “Hyperactivity is the most frequent justification for drugging children”.  Recently, many parents have grown wary of the traditional medical approach to ADHD, and are turning to doctors of chiropractic who are offering more promising results with non-drug treatments, such as the chiropractic adjustment, postural muscle re-education, nutrition and lifestyle changes; all of which can affect and improve brain activity. Dr. Robert Melillo, a chiropractic neurologist states, “Motor activity – especially development of postural muscles – is the baseline of brain activity. Anything affecting postural muscles will influence brain development. Musculoskeletal imbalance will create an imbalance of brain activity, and one part of the brain will develop faster than the other, and that’s what is happening in ADHD patients”. Correcting musculoskeletal imbalance is one of the primary goals of chiropractic.


An early study, published in 1975, compared drug therapy with chiropractic care in children with learning and behavioral impairments due to neurological dysfunction. This study was performed on children with a wide range of neurological dysfunction, focusing on thirteen symptom or problem areas. The study concluded that chiropractic care was 24% more effective than the medications for treating all 13 conditions. A 1989 study by Giesen et al, involved seven school age subjects whom had been diagnosed with ADHD and clinical findings which evidenced a vertebral subluxation complex/spinal misalignments. Although the study was small, the results were promising. Following a course of chiropractic care, 57% showed an improvement in chiropractic radiographic findings; 71.4% had a reduction in overt behavior activity; 57% showed improvement in their levels of autonomic activity; and 57% showed improvement in parental ratings of behavior and hyperactivity.


More research in this area is definitely needed, but the results from several of these small case studies over the last several decades should not be ignored. EVERY child needs chiropractic care, whether or not they have symptoms. By correcting postural muscle imbalance and nervous system interference, function is improved and many parents are able to withdraw their children from drug therapy and watch them express their true personalities without the mind-altering medications. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, I urge you to schedule an evaluation with one of our highly trained chiropractic physicians at Total Health Systems of Macomb County today, with the goal of working toward a drug-free future.



REFERENCES Helping Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.


Walton EV: “The effects of chiropractic treatment on students with learning and behavioral impairments due to neurological dysfunction.” International Review of Chiropractic 1975; 29:4-5:24-26.


Geisen JM, Center DB, Leach RA: “An evaluation of chiropractic manipulation as a treatment for hyperactivity in children.” JMPT 1989;12:353-363.