A recent case study reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research suggests that chiropractic adjustments can help reverse and prevent autism and issues related to the autism spectrum. The patient was an adopted three-year-old girl who was born at 28 weeks weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces by a woman who had a history of prior drug abuse. After two years of abnormal behavior and receiving multiple "autism" diagnoses from medical doctors, her parents decided to take her in for a thorough developmental evaluation. Five critical items were failed: social/emotional, communication, cognitive, adaptive/self-help and sensory.
The child's parents brought her to a local chiropractor, presenting with a cocktail of horrible symptoms including common neurological autism manifestations, unrelenting headaches, acid reflux, vomiting, sleeplessness and seizures. Subluxation-based specific chiropractic care was performed on the patient, which resulted in complete resolution of her headaches, acid reflux, vomiting and sleeplessness within one month. Significant improvements in autism-related issues were also noted, including calm behavior, increased eye contact, happier demeanor, improved attitude, increased focus and attention, and an initiation to sound out words. The study reports that the girl continues to progress as evidenced by a significantly increased vocabulary, continued improvement in attention and focus, and complete lack of epileptic episodes.
According to her mother, the patient from this case study has been "off all of her medications, she's making improvements with her occupational therapists, speech therapists, even her pre-school teachers are noticing a big difference. I'm getting my little girl back - look, she's making eye contact with me, and even starting to say a few words! She'll use her hands to do the motions to the Itsy Bitsy Spider song!" Her mother cannot stress enough the impact that chiropractic care has had on her daughter.
According to Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study, "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. Through research reports like this we are finding that correcting the misalignments or abnormal motion associated with these spinal problems reduces the nerve interference and people experience improvement."
The authors of the study stated, "We believe that working together, chiropractors, MDs, occupational therapists, and other health care provides will see results by managing the root cause(s) and not just the various symptoms presented by ASD children."
"Finding the cause of autism, and not simply masking the symptoms, is the most effective way of managing the disease," one author of the study says. One such risk is thought to be spinal misalignments and/or abnormal motion of the spine, termed "vertebral subluxations" by chiropractors, which result in structural and neurological interference to the spine and nervous system. It is this interference that may cause a cascade of neuroendocrine events that lead to abnormal cholesterol metabolism. The theory is that, once those spinal distortions are corrected, the body is better able to balance its physiology.
Not surprisingly, other researchers have found similar results in regard to diseases in the autism spectrum being managed by chiropractic adjustments, and this case is one of several emerging studies describing this phenomena.
The authors call for further study in a controlled environment.
Amalu WC. Autism, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, strabismus and illness susceptibility: a case study in chiropractic management. Todays Chiropr 1998;27(5):32-47.
Marini NSC, Marini SC. Improvement in autism in a child coupled with reduction in vertebral subluxations; a case study and selective review of the literature: case report; review. J Pediatr Matern & Fam Health Chiropr 2010; 3:107-115.
Cleave J, Alcantara J, Holt K. Improvement in autistic behaviors following chiropractic care: a case series. J Pediatr Matern & Fam Health Chiropr 2011; 4:12-13.
Hoffman N, Russel D. Improvement in a 3 1/2-year-old autistic child following chiropractic intervention to reduce vertebral subluxation. J Vert Sublux Res 2008; 7:1-4.
Cohn A. Improvement in autism spectrum disorder following vertebral subluxation reduction: a case study. J Pediatr Matern & Fam Health 2011; 4:87-91.
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