Recent research reported in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic on a child with cerebral palsy reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing these patients.  The literature review included in the paper supports the role of chiropractic in those suffering from related health challenges and calls for more research in this area.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between structural abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and brain” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study.

Research has shown not only that the brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurological communication and pathways involved in helping humans balance and orient themselves in space are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “challenges from cerebral palsy may be related to how the entire body communicates with the brain and the most critical area for this is the spine.”

According to McCoy “People’s nervous systems need the constant stimulation of movement in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal structural shifts can occur in the spine and these structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

According to researchers the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body and structural shifts in the spine can occur that obstruct the nerves and interfere with their function. By removing the structural shifts, chiropractic improves nerve supply and function.

“With everything we know about the spine and nervous system, chiropractic intervention makes perfect sense in the case of an infant who has cerebral palsy” remarked McCoy.

The 3.5-week-old male in this study experienced lack of oxygen for 30 minutes at birth.  Upon arriving at the hospital, he was blue and had a low heart rate.  He stayed in the hospital for 18 days and was placed on 10 different medications.  His parents were told he would be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.

The chiropractor examined him and found structural shifts in his sacrum, upper neck, and skull.  MRI, EEG, decreased range of motion, and absence of reflexes confirmed the findings.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves, and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Following chiropractic adjustments, he experienced improvement in his symptoms.   Signs of his cerebral palsy decreased, his vision, gait, and speech improved and his overall quality of life improved. With continued chiropractic care he was no longer bound to a wheelchair.

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.


To learn more about this study and chiropractic research visit, Vertebral Subluxation Research.