As a Chiropractor, I often get asked questions from parents of special needs children on how a chiropractor can help? During my time at Chiropractic school, I had the opportunity to intern at the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. My 1st patient at chiropractic school was a 7 year old boy with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele. His name was Johnny. His condition is where his spinal cord was not protected by his spinal vertebra and exposed which required extensive surgery. He had a heart of gold and was in a wheel chair. Johnny had many bathroom and health sickness problems. I was able to adjust him for my entire internship (1 year) and was able to improve his overall health. I know adjusting Johnny allowed me to appreciate and see what chiropractic can do for children’s health and well being. At Palmer College, the staff understood the importance and could see the benefits that chiropractic care had on many children. After treatment, his mom would report improvement in mood, less colds and ear infections, and improvement in his constipation. In fact, chiropractic re-assessments showed improvements in physical strength, balance, posture and mobility.
The importance of chiropractic care is essential to children with needs and disabilities. These kids often have hypotonia (low muscle tone), poor posture, weak immune systems (sick all the time), delayed bowel functions (constipated) and decreased body awareness and as a result have more pronounced musculoskeletal problems such as restrictions on movement and stiff joints. Furthermore autistic kids are often have sensory stimulus deficits, either hypo (too little) or hyper (too much) sensitive. Many others have weak immune systems and poor digestion and elimination. Receiving the proper chiropractic adjustments can be like hitting the information reset button on the nervous system. Either calming or turning up the nervous system when the body requires and then allowing the nervous system to function more effectively.
Children with developmental disorders, CP, autism and other syndromes can benefit from chiropractic treatment that is focused to improve joint mobility, core muscle strengthening, vestibular (balance) exercise, sensory stimulation and a properly functioning nervous system. However, chiropractic care is only part of the treatment puzzle. Other avenues of care including biochemical, nutritional, cognitive and emotional components should be addressed to offer the best possible outcome for the child. Thanks for reading, Dr. Joe