Recent research in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic reporting on improvement in a nine-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder, undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing children on the autism spectrum.

“Research indicates that minor shifts in the structure of the spine may impact function, suggesting that these structural shifts may be a factor in a number of disorders. Structural shifts may lead to nerve obstruction and could possibly be involved in a host of health problems such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and other neurobehavioral challenges” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. Other chiropractic researchers have reported on similar results and reviews of the scientific research reveal numerous other studies that have shown similar connections. McCoy added, “It’s reasonable to suggest that if you obstruct or damage the nerves exiting the spine, the result of the obstruction(s) and/or damage can have far reaching implications on the functioning of the body.

Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system, and the brain.  Basic science and clinical research show that the proper development of the brain relies heavily 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 respond to their environment are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.

Some researchers believe that the increase in the diagnosis of such disorders as autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, 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.

The child reported on in this study was a 9-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome who was suffering from neck pain, mid back pain, lower back pain, stomach aches, and anxiety.  He was easily agitated, and his temper took its toll on his quality of life and those around him.  He suffered from torticollis and colic as an infant.

The chiropractor examined him and found abnormal posture and structural shifts in his neck, mid and low back. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. Testing of his nervous system confirmed the neurological obstructions.

The boy was adjusted by the chiropractor over a period of a month and the parents reported improvements to his behavior, communication, sociability, stomach aches, and anxiety.  He reported having the best day at school.

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome.