ADHD / ADD, Learning Disorders, and Chiropractic Care
Many parents of children with ADHD come to Kempsville Chiropractic to discuss options for treatment and management of their children with ADHD. As doctors of chiropractic and parents ourselves, we recognize the concerns that parents have for their children and their want to give them the best available health care possible.
As doctors and parents, we also know that many families spend a lot of time researching and sifting through information on the best approach to many different conditions and illnesses. The following is information on ADHD and how Chiropractic can help you and your family member manage this condition. As you will see at the end of this article, many famous people have overcome their ADHD problems. Their names may surprise you!
What Is ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood and, according to the CDC, can last into adulthood.
There are 3 main signs and symptoms of ADHD:
- not paying attention to details
- making careless mistakes
- having trouble staying focused
- not appearing to listen when spoken to
- having difficulty remembering things or following instructions
- having trouble staying organized
- being bored
- frequently misplacing or losing toys, homework and other items
- leaving their seat when they are expected to be quiet
- constantly moving around
- talking excessively
- having difficulty playing quietly
- always on the go
- having a quick temper
- acting without thinking
- blurting out answers
- not waiting for their turn
- saying the wrong thing at the wrong time
- interrupting others
- unable to keep powerful emotions in check
- guesses rather than taking the time to solve the problem
- intruding on conversations of others and games
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 5 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Of these children, boys are being diagnosed with ADHD at around three times the rate of girls. Twelve percent of all boys, age 3-17, and 4.7% of all girls in the same age range, have ADHD. There is a several step process in order to officially diagnose a child with ADHD, so be aware of that as a parent.
Causes of ADHD
Although scientists are not sure of what actually causes ADHD, many studies now suggest that genes may play a large role in the cause of this condition as it tends to run in families. However, there is no genetic test to test for ADHD.
In addition to genetics, researchers are also looking at environmental factors such as brain injuries, nutrition, and even social environment as contributing factors to this condition.
- Smoking or drinking during pregnancy
- Birth complications or very low birth weight
- Exposure to lead or other toxic substances
- Extreme neglect, abuse, or social deprivation
- Food additives like artificial coloring, which might make hyperactivity worse
Since the 1980s, when ADHD was first diagnosed, lifestyles of children and adults have changed radically. Here is a partial list of lifestyle changes in America:
- Large amounts of processed foods are now part of their diets
- Artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup used everywhere
- Soy (a plant estrogen) has been added to most processed foods
- Corn, Wheat, and Soy have all been genetically modified (along with many other foods)
- Children no longer go outside and play
- Most schools no longer require P.E. class or recess
- Sleep patterns are altered as more and more children have TVs, computers, smart phones, and other electronic devices in their bedrooms
- Children spend most of their day sitting — at home and at school
- Quality fats like Omega 3 fatty acids (needed by our brains) are missing or at low levels in our diets
- Most Americans are Vitamin D deficient; hindering the absorption of the vitamins and minerals we eat
- Changes in the way we farm and the vast amount of pesticides used in farming have lowered the nutritional value of our food
- Antibiotics are added to the meal fed to cows and chicken, which pass these drugs along to us
- And this is just a partial list…
Treatment of ADHD
Mainstream treatment of ADHD more often includes stimulant medications such as amphetamines, behavioral therapy, or a combination of the two. Many parents who come to our office have already met with pediatricians and therapists, and have decided there must be other ways to manage their child with ADHD rather than putting them on medications that have many side effects. To them the risks outweigh the potential benefits. For example, Ritalin, a commonly used ADHD drug has the following side effects:
FDA Warnings Regarding Ritalin
- Heart Problems:
- Sudden death in patients with heart defects or problems.
- Stroke and heart attack in adults.
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate.
- New or worse thought and behavioral problems.
- New or worse bipolar illness.
- New or worse hostility or aggressive behavioral problems.
- New psychotic symptoms (including hearing voices) or manic symptoms.
- Circulation problems in the fingers and toes so they may feel cool, numb, painful, or change skin colors (pale, blue, red).
- Peripheral vasculopathy
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Unexplained wounds appearing on fingers and toes.
The same report by the FDA then goes to the “lesser” category of serious side effects where they list:
- Slowing of growth in children
- Eyesight changes or blurred vision
- Painful, prolonged erections (priapism) with the potential for lasting damage.
And then the FDA lists other common side effects:
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased appetite
Chiropractic Care as an Alternative to Drugs
At Kempsville Chiropractic we have children of our own, and are very concerned about their health and development. We recognize the value of providing children with proper outlets for their energy and creativity, and also understand the importance of having a central nervous system that is not compromised, and is functioning as it should. All of our children receive chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis.
When we see children and adults with ADHD, clinically we find they typically have subluxations / spinal misalignments in their upper cervical spine (neck), which would be the C1 through C4 vertebrae. When you have misalignments or dysfunction in the upper cervical spine this will decrease nerve afferentation. Nerve affrentation is the nerve impulses from the spinal column to the brain. Decreased nerve afferentation will change brainwave function from the more normal functional waves to the dysfunctional, unfocused types of brainwaves similar to that in ADHD.
Let us share with you an email Jennifer W. sent us regarding her son Nicholas.
My son, Nicholas, had had many injuries, as well as issues with memory and school. His pediatrician wanted to put him on medication, but we refused. I pulled him from public school, where he had already been labeled as a troublemaker by age 8, and began chiropractic care when we transitioned him to a private school.
Nicholas' transformation was like night and day. He went from all D's to A’s, B’s and C’s. He sleeps better, is more outgoing, and his maturity has increased tremendously. He is also more aware of his body and lets me know when he has to be adjusted. Nicholas said, "The people in my head are bringing up the right folders now.” When I asked what this meant he said, "When my head wasn't on right the people would bring up the wrong folders to get me in trouble on purpose. Now I can tell them to go back and get the right folders.” Amazing for a 9-year-old to describe his learning disability this way!!
We are extremely pleased with the progress Nicholas is making, and are delighted that because of chiropractic care he does not have to take medications.
Some Famous People with ADHD
At the top of this list is Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. Einstein was totally bored in school, and Edison was so hyperactive and prone to distraction that his teachers labeled him as “difficult.” His mother ended up pulling him from school. What would our lives be like today if these men had been labeled as having a neurodevelopmental disorders and put on Ritalin?
Here is a partial list of famous people who have, or were thought to of had, ADHD
- Albert Einstein – Physicist
- Thomas Edison – Inventor
- Benjamin Franklin – Inventor, one of our Nation’s Founders
- Henry Ford – Business Leader
- Bill Gates – Business Leader
- John F. Kennedy – President of the United States
- Frank Lloyd Wright – Architect
- Vincent Van Gogh – Painter
- Michael Phelps – Athlete
- Michael Jordan – Athlete
- Emily Dickinson – Writer
- Robert Frost – Writer
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Composer
- Ansel Adams – Photographer
Having ADHD is like having a
Ferrari mind with bicycle brakes.
Dr. Frank Lombardozzi has a great analogy he shares with patients who have ADHD. He says that "having ADHD is like having a Ferrari mind with bicycle brakes." So our focus is not to slow down the Ferrari mind, but on how to build better brakes. ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing. Some of the most successful people in history have been diagnosed with ADHD, but, they’ve learned how to functionally work with it — instead of relying on drugs, which chemically alter their brain function.
Treating ADHD with Chiropractic Care
Over the years we at Kempsville chiropractic have had tremendous success in treating children and adults diagnosed with ADHD. In helping our patients, we examine and design treatment plans to successfully find and eliminate nervous system dysfunction as well as recommend lifestyle management techniques to naturally treat this condition. There are many facets to our approach:
- Design a spinal adjusting treatment plan to correct spinal misalignments (Subluxations) and restore normal central nervous system function.
- Review and recommend nutritional plans to eliminate chemical stresses to nerve system function, and promote healthy nutritional choices to maximize brain function.
- Eliminate sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial food coloring, food preservatives, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, MSG, and other neurotoxins
- Sitting in the front of the classroom to avoid visual distractions of other children who may be playing with their hair, pulling at their ears, or other distractions
- Sitting on a balance ball while doing homework helps to calm their brain
- Chewing gum while doing homework, which will stimulate the jaw joint nerve endings that help normalize brain function
- During homework, every 15-20 minutes have children take a break to do some physical activities such as: jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, or Wii Fitness game
- Make sure they are do a variety of daily exercises and sports
- Include balance and proprioceptive exercises (exercises requiring balance and coordination) that fire more nerve impulses to the brain, helping calm the brain and manage energy levels
If you are concerned about your child’s learning abilities, and are looking for an alternative to putting your child on drugs, please contact the doctors at Kempsville Chiropractic, 757.467.5258, and arrange for a consultation. Please recommend this article to help make others aware of the chiropractic alternative to drugs when treating ADHD.
© 2013-2016 Kempsville Chiropractic
These articles are the property of Kempsville Chiropractic. They may not be reused without permission. You are welcome to link to this article. Kempsville Chiropractic has been proudly serving Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia since 1996.
The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
Contact us at 757.467.5258 to set an appointment.