Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD and ADHD) are a widespread and common problem, especially for the pediatric population. According to the CDC’s parent report in 2016, approximately 9.4% of children 2-17 years of age (6.1 million) had been diagnosed with ADHD1. The American Psychiatric Association states in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, 2013) that 5% of children have ADHD2. These are disorders that result from imbalances of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers between other neurons, or nerve cells. Everything we do all day, every day, including sleeping, relies on communication between nerve cells.
People with ADD/ADHD usually suffer from sensory overload. “They have a heightened awareness of incoming stimuli, particularly sight, sound and touch,” and often have trouble focusing and remembering to do certain tasks3. In children, this can manifest by a short attention span and disorganization, like cluttered desks or messy rooms. It is important to understand that this has nothing to do with intelligence. Many children with ADD/ADHD are highly intelligent. They just have trouble concentrating and get frustrated very easily, so this may show up in their school work.
What are the causes of ADD and ADHD?
According to research done by Dr. Jay Holder, DC and Kenneth Blum, Ph.D., ADD people suffer from a “defective filtering system” where the “brain does not block out irrelevant stimuli,” so “they are aware of every sound, object, touch, and they all merge in a disorganized, unbearable bedlam.”3 It is the result of miscommunication between neurons, and neurotransmitter imbalances that allow too many signals to get through, thus creating confusion. There can also be a genetic component. According to Holder and Blum, 49% of ADD/ADHD children carry the A1 allele of the D2 Dopamine receptor gene3. This contributes to a Reward Deficiency Syndrome in which they have trouble with their state of well-being and experiencing pleasure. This puts them at risk for a later onset of alcohol or drug abuse. Another difference is abnormal brain wave patterns. Since they typically have low Beta waves and high Theta waves, activities associated with Beta waves like watchful anticipation and problem solving are difficult.3
How can the pediatric chiropractor help?
Neurophysiology tells us the brain communicates to the body through the spinal cord. If subluxations, (misalignments) exist in the spinal column, the inability to experience their full potential also exists. This is especially important in children as they are developing. Many things can contribute to these misalignments including falls and the birth process itself. A state of well-being is experienced when the mesolimbic system’s brain reward cascade of neurotransmitters is expressed without interference.3 Removing subluxations will restore communication and put the body at a greater sense of peace and ease. Many people report amazing life changes as a result of removing interference in the nervous system. Chiropractic is much more than just help with back pain. A back problem is in fact, a brain problem.
Dr. Michael Magwood, DC and Dr. Raeann Zshokke, DC are Advanced Certified in the research-based, Torque Release Technique. They work with Prenatal, Pediatric and families who visit the practices together. They are also trained in Auriculotherapy, which has also been shown to help with ADD and ADHD symptomatology.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional advice from your physician or other qualified health provider if you have any questions about a medical condition.
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition: DSM-5. Washington: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
- Attention deficit disorders (ADD): Biogenic Aspects: Chiropractic Pediatrics. Editorial. August 1994, Vol 1, No 2. (Pg. 21-23).