New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic, Speech & Learning Disorders

Recent research reporting on improvement in a 4 year old boy undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing children with speech and learning disorders.

Atlanta, GA, November 22, 2009 --( The research, reported in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic, includes a review of the literature supporting the role of chiropractic in children suffering from a number of disorders that share their origin with learning and speech delay.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and brain” stated Dr. Ben Lerner, lead author of the paper. “Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.”

Research has shown not only that the developing brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping humans to “feel good” are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. Sheri Lerner, a co-author on the paper. “We see this shocking increase in the diagnosis of things like ADHD, learning and other behavioral disorders at the same time that we see a huge increase of sedentary behavior in our children.”

According to Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study, “Researchers believe that the increase in the diagnosis of learning disorders, ADHD, pervasive developmental disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders, have their root in a “perfect storm” of abnormal spinal development coupled with cultural changes.

These changes include an increase in television watching, computer use, computer games and lack of exercise causing an increase in obesity and diabetes in children. “Together with the abnormal spinal development these habits are simply stunting the development of our children’s brains” stated McCoy.

In the case reported on in the article the initial application of chiropractic was followed by nutritional advice which included eliminating sugar and grains from the patient’s diet. Correction of the neurological interference was the first priority however.

According to Lerner “Children’s nervous systems need the constant stimulation of movement in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.”

The child reported on in the study suffered from a number of health challenges including speech so impaired that others could not understand him. Frustration and anger ensued when the child started school and still did not speak. Efforts at speech therapy left the parents wanting for other answers and so they sought chiropractic care. Immediately following the first chiropractic adjustment the patient began speaking and putting together full sentences that were coherent and understandable. He was also able to recognize his written name for the first time following the first adjustment. He has since started to color with crayons and he can now understand and follow verbal directions. Prior to care he was emotionless but he now smiles and cries appropriately.

The authors of the study call for more research on the role of chiropractic care in these types of disorders.

Matthew McCoy, DC, MPH
Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health - Chiropractic