Data and Statistics
Cost of ADHD
The Science of ADHD
The Importance of Science
Understanding Research Studies
Levels of Evidence for ADHD Interventions
Treatment of ADHD
Complementary and Other Interventions
Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback)
Fish Oil Supplements and ADHD
Nutrition and ADHD
Carrying Your Medication
ADHD, Sleep and Sleep Disorders
Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Tics and Tourette Syndrome
Professionals Who Diagnose and Treat ADHD
Hospital and University ADHD Centers
Insurance and Public Benefits
The Insurance System
Paying for Medications
Private Health Insurance
Public Health Insurance
Frequently Asked Questions about ADHD
Myths and Misunderstandings
Glossary of Terms
ADHD in the News
Fact Sheets on ADHD
For Parents & Caregivers
Parent Training and Education
Social Skills Interventions
Coexisting Conditions in Children
Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Substance Abuse and ADHD
Common Coexisting Conditions in Children
Preschoolers and ADHD
Behavioral Therapy for Young Children
ADHD and Childcare
Diagnosing ADHD in Adolescence
Treatment of Teens with ADHD
ADHD Information for Teens
Parenting Teens with ADHD
Teens with ADHD and Driving
Teens and Driving
Medication Abuse and Diversion
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Requesting an Evaluation in Public Schools
Tips for Working with the School
Tips for Talking to Teachers about ADHD
Finding the Right College
Disclosing ADHD During the Admissions Process
Succeeding in College with ADHD
Scholarships & Financial Aid
Tips for Completing Homework
How to Communicate with your Child’s Teacher
Homework Help for ADHD
Surviving the Holidays with ADHD
Diagnosis of ADHD
Diagnosing ADHD in Adults
ADHD and the Military
How to Succeed in the Workplace
Laws and Legal Protections
Americans with Disabilities - ADA & ADAAA
Legal Rights in Higher Education and the Workplace
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Finding an Attorney or Legal Advocate
Living with ADHD: A Lifespan Disorder
Women and Girls
ADHD Medication and Pregnancy
ADHD and Driving
Organization and Time Management
Relationships & Social Skills
Marriage and Partnerships
Social Skills in Adults with ADHD
Mastering Social Skills
Time Management and Using a Day Planner
Apps for ADHD
For Healthcare Professionals
Clinical Practice Guidelines
The ADHD Diagnostic Process
Diagnosis in Adults
Diagnosis in Children
Clinical Practice Tools
Evaluation and Assessment Tools
Rating Scales and Checklists
Treatment of Adults
The Role of Medication
Teacher Training on ADHD
Tips for Teachers Video Series
Recursos en español
Tips and Resources
Medical Benefit Program
Start a Group
Current CHADD Volunteers
Volunteer Leader Center
Login to your CHADD email
Edit your website
Other Local Support Resources
Find a Study
Post a Research Study
Young Scientist Awards
CHADD's Amazon Store
P2P On Demand Webinars
CHADD Advocacy Manual
Training & Events
Save the Date - CHADD Conference 2018
2017 Annual International Conference on ADHD
Pre Conference Handouts -Thursday 11/9/17
General Conference Handouts -Friday 11/10/17
General Conference Handouts - Saturday 11/11/17
General Conference Handouts - Sunday 11/12/17
2017 Conference Web Site
ADHD Awareness Month
ADHD Awareness Month Calendar
Ask the Expert
Ask the Expert Educator Edition
Parent to Parent Program
P2P On Demand Sessions
Family Training on ADHD In Your Community
Teacher to Teacher
Teacher to Teacher - School System
Calendar of Events
Training for Professionals
Health Care Providers
Training for Parents
Find a Chapter
Local Affiliate Resources
Tools and Resources
Start a Group
Recruitment & Retention Tools
Renew My Membership
The ADHD Tool Kit
Membership Types and Benefits
Get Listed in CHADD's Resource Directory
JOIN CHADD - International Membership
JOIN CHADD - US Membership
Attention Magazine - Digital Editions
Attention Magazine Subscriptions
CHADD Discount Advantage Programs
Mission and History
National Resource Center
Boards and Staff
Board of Directors
Professional Advisory Board
Public Policy Committee
CHADD Funding Sources
Advertise with CHADD
Jobs at CHADD
Report a Problem
Gifts that Lead
Gifts that Sustain
Gifts that Double
Other Ways to Donate
Corporate Partner Members
Donate Your Vehicle
ADHD Weekly Newsletter
Is Chiropractic Effective for ADHD?
Join the discussion.
Could a visit to a chiropractor help you manage your ADHD symptoms? You may have heard a friend or another acquaintance say a visit was helpful for him. Is this possible? And what is chiropractic?
Most people know chiropractic medicine is used to treat the spine and other common physiological conditions, such as low back pain, neck pain, and headaches. But there are many misconceptions about what it is and the conditions it can effectively treat. Some chiropractors say they have success with patients affected by ADHD. But are there any evidence-based studies that show that chiropractic medicine is effective in helping to reduce the symptoms of ADHD?
What is chiropractic medicine?
Chiropractic medicine focuses on the spine and the nervous system without employing medication. The spinal cord passes from your brain down through your spine, with nerves leaving the spinal cord along the way toward every part of your body. If there is a misalignment in the joints of the spine, it can cause compression and inflammation in the joints. It can also exert pressure on the nerves, causing swelling and discomfort, or pain that radiates into other parts of your body.
How do our joints get misaligned? Micro-injuries caused by the stress of daily life, lifting something that is too heavy, or lifting improperly and putting strain on your back, or car accidents or falls can cause joints to become misaligned. A chiropractor realigns the joints using manual adjustments, freeing the joint to move properly and releasing pressure on the nervous system.
Does chiropractic help ADHD symptoms?
The use of
complementary and alternative medicine
for people affected by ADHD has increased as parents and healthcare providers either seek to include it as part of a treatment plan or look for alternatives to stimulant medications.
According to the
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association
, there are many people who have reported chiropractic has helped them or their children manage the symptoms of ADHD more effectively. In one case study, a mother reported that her son had difficulties with stimulant medications that negatively impacted his weight and growth. After taking him off his medication at age six, his appetite increased and he grew rapidly but his ADHD symptoms worsened. She decided to try chiropractic care, and after six weeks his teacher reported to her that his work had suddenly improved, he was able to concentrate better and answer questions correctly.
How does it help?
ADHD is a brain-based condition. ADHD is
based on behavioral symptoms, and “we believe that we have multiple centers in the brain that work in concert for behavior and attention regulation,” says CHADD Professional Advisory Board Co-chair Craig Surman.
Neural signals do not just go from the brain to the rest of our body. They also go from the body to the
brain via the spinal cord
. If the spine is misaligned and negatively impacting the nerves and nerve function,
restoring that alignment
and removing pressure from the nervous system enables it to function better.
What do studies report?
, and a more recent study
The chiropractic care of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a retrospective case series
, show a correlation between chiropractic manipulation and improvement in ADHD symptoms. These studies also concluded further research was needed. A
review of the literature
in 2010 found a lack of high quality evidence to support claims that chiropractic care improves ADHD symptoms for young people, and that more rigorous scientific research should be undertaken.
Does this mean that you should not consider including it as part of your treatment plan? Not necessarily; for most people affected by ADHD, the most successful treatment plans include a number of tools. For more information and helpful guidance about how to consider complementary treatments, see
Complementary and Other Interventions
Finding a chiropractic doctor
There are a wide variety of philosophies and techniques in chiropractic medicine. Choosing the one that is right for you can involve research to learn about the different types, asking your healthcare provider for referrals, and interviewing potential doctors. Resources such as the
American Chiropractic Association
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association
have tools to help you find chiropractors near you.
When choosing a chiropractor, there are several things to consider:
All practicing chiropractic physicians are required to pass extensive tests to become licensed, proving they have the required training, skills, and experience. Licensure is conducted and maintained by each state, and information about specific doctors can be found on their websites. The
Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards maintains a list
of state boards with links to their websites.
As with most healthcare providers, the more experience a chiropractor has, the more likely you’ll have a positive outcome. When interviewing a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), ask her how many patients she has treated with your specific symptoms.
It is important to be comfortable discussing your symptoms and health history with your doctor. When you interview a prospective doctor, be prepared with a few questions to learn about the doctor’s experience and training. Notice whether she is comfortable taking the time to answer your questions, and whether she answers them in a way you understand. You want to feel she has an interest in getting to know you and in understanding your concerns.
Having coverage for chiropractic care is a practical matter that can be helpful to reduce your out of pocket costs. Most insurance plans include chiropractic care, but to receive the highest reimbursement you may need to choose an in-network doctor. Contact your insurance company for details relevant to your plan.
Making the call on chiropractic care
While a few studies have shown chiropractic has been helpful for young people affected by ADHD, there is not enough evidence to show that chiropractic could replace stimulant medications. The most effective treatment plans include multiple tools working together to manage your ADHD symptoms. Which options are best to support to your needs depends on your symptoms and circumstances. You need to work closely with your health care provider to determine the best approach and interventions for you.
Have you been to a chiropractor as part of your treatment for ADHD?
What has your experience been?
Has someone suggested you add a chiropractor to your treatment plan team? We took a look at some of the research on chiropractic medicine and ADHD treatment. Keep reading for what we found.
This article appeared in
May 11, 2017.
The information provided on this website was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number NU38DD005376 funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services.