What about ADD/ADHD and upper cervical care (NUCCA)?

Is there a connection between the alignment of the neck, the upper cervical spine, and behaviors described as ADD/ADHD? Several studies and German doctors  say “Yes!”

Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, otherwise known as ADD/ADHD. It’s the number one reported behavior disorder for children in America. Many overlooked adults suffer with it too.

While there is no “gold-standard” diagnostic test for this disorder, kids are generally described as distracted,  inattentive, and behavior problems. The diagnosis is often contentious, and children are placed on addictive drugs, simply by observation alone.

What is the the major treatment?

For many years now, the treatment of choice by medical personnel is the use of behavior modifying drugs like Ritalin (Methylphenidate). This treatment option is often supported by classroom teachers, administrators, and parents who are often exasperated by the child’s behavior. They just want him or her to be able to concentrate and learn, or at least stop disrupting the classroom.

It is a noble desire, and can be an effective treatment, but it is  not without risks. Drugs like Ritalin are class II controlled substances, which are habit forming, and whose long term effects we are just beginning to understand.

The thought of using these substances to control child behavior causes some educators and parents to pause. They wonder, “Isn’t there another option before we resort to potentially addictive, mind-altering drugs?”

Why is this happening to my child?

Over the last 10 years, searching parents, doctors, and nutritionists have sought the answer for the rise in ADD/ADHD, and treatment options that do not have to involve pharmaceuticals. Although the not everyone sees the results that they want, the answers they have found are now providing natural, drug-free relief for many children and their parents.

They believe that one, or a combination of the following is playing a major role in the disruptive child’s behavior:

  • Vital nutritional deficiencies, particular in necessary fatty acids
  • Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins, through prior medical intervention, or through chemicals in the home environment
  • Toxic levels of food additives which over-excite parts of the immune system in those who are susceptible

What about spinal alignment?

In addition to the above possibilities, another cause needs to be examined: the influence of the spine, particularly the upper cervical spine, and the balance between the head and first two vertebrae of the neck.

In the  landmark book, Manual Therapy in Children, edited by German surgeon and manual therapist Heiner Biedermann, MD the author Reinhard W. Theiler (doctor of manual medicine) speaks of the role the top of the spine plays in attention disorders.

He writes:

Parents reported that in general the children’s’ ability to concentrate, sustained effort, ability to sustain attention, and impulsivity had improved considerably, and that their children seemed more mature. The follow-up tests confirmed this, with children working more quickly and confidently.

(Theiler, R. Attention Deficit Disorder and the Upper Cervical Spine. Manual Therapy in Children, H. Beiderman Ed.  Churchill Livinstone Press, Elsevier. 2004.)

What treatment did these improved ADD/ADHD children get?

They recieved manual re-alignment of the upper cervical spine, improving balance between the head and neck. These German doctors call the misalignment KISS (Kinematic Imbalance due to Subboccital Strain).

NUCCA doctors call it the Atlas Subluxation Complex.

In any case, if German surgeons are recommending upper cervical care for children with an attention-deficit problem, what about the ADD/ADHD person in your life…should not he or she be evaluated by a qualified upper cervical doctor here in the U.S. for an upper cervical imbalance?

The case for more than just Ritalin

Upper cervical alignment, environmental toxins, and food additives all may be playing a role in a child’s inability to concentrate. While Ritalin and similar substances may be effective in many cases, you do have other, safer, less invasive options to help control disruptive childhood behavior labeled as ADD/ADHD.

Even if you do not get support from your child’s teacher, principal, or pediatrician, you still have the right to seek alternatives to behavior modifying drugs.

What’s the next step?

First, talk to other parents in your community who have tried altering their child’s diet and/or assessed his or her exposure to environmental toxins, and see what resources are available in your area. Or, is there a teacher sympathetic to alternatives in your school district? She might have a few suggestions on where you should start.

Second, and just as important, examine your child’s posture for signs of upper cervical misalignment. If your child’s head is leaning or tipped toward one shoulder or the other, or if he carries his head forward, in front of the chest, then an exam by an upper cervical doctor should be helpful.

Other signs up upper cervical imbalances can be headaches in childhood, a difficult birth, and preference for nursing on one breast as an infant.

Remember adults need help too

Natural, non-invasive options for attention deficit problems may be just as effective for adults as well. Please have them get checked by an upper cervical doctor as well.

Article copyright 2009, DrZWard.com

Written by Dr. Ward

Father. Foodie. And dedicated upper cervical chiropractor. Find me practicing gentle upper cervical care in Oakland County, Michigan. Have a question or comment? I'm at your service. Reach me at my Auburn Hills chiropractic practice: (248) 598-4002. Or on Google +, Facebook, or Twitter.

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