ADHD and Chiropractic Care


With increased awareness and interest in the symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it has become a huge concern in the U.S. More than 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, which is a 53 percent spike since 2001. While the main focus of research has been on children and adolescents, adults suffer from the disorder as well. An estimated 14 million prescriptions for ADHD are filled each month for adults between the ages of 20 and 39. So what has caused this vast increase in numbers, and can chiropractic care help?

The spine is connected to the intricate nervous system, which includes the cognitive means to stay focused on one task. Chiropractors believe if the spine is misaligned, it can cause uneven pressure on the brain and troubles with the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce this misalignment, which can lessen the symptoms of acting out, the inability to follow instructions and poor school performance.

When a child diagnosed with ADHD seeks chiropractic care as a treatment, the chiropractor will begin with an examination of the child’s vision, hearing and reflexes. After a series of tests, the chiropractor will determine the best course of action and treatment.

In a study of a five-year-old boy with the disorder, the chiropractor issued a treatment including spinal manipulative therapy, soft-tissue stimulation and stretching. On initial examination, the boy was reported to have no spinal misalignments nor any curvatures of the spine. He had full range of the spine and was reported to be effortless in movement. Finally, the chiropractor found a hypertonicity (enormous tension) in the paraspinal muscles that run lengthwise parallel to the spine. A treatment plan was designed specifically for the boy to minimalize or cure the tension in his back.

Chiropractors treating a child with ADHD will give the parents individualized exercises to do at home with their child. One example is if a patient has planning or organizational issues, the chiropractor will show them “timing therapies,” consisting of clapping or tapping their fingers to the beat of a metronome. Exercises like these will increase brain function and complements spinal adjustments. However, the research has not entirely been established.

In the study with the young boy, the researchers found that over a one-year treatment period, improvement occurred in behavioral patterns and ADHD symptoms. But further research is strongly encouraged among other scientists in the field.

Chiropractic care is safe and beneficial to patients’ overall wellbeing and is a promising treatment for ADHD. With methods ranging from massage therapy to basic spinal adjustments, any patient can find a treatment plan that works for them and their health needs.