Recent research reporting on improvement in a 22-year-old woman undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a review of the literature supporting the role of chiropractic in adults and children suffering from a number of disorders that share their origin with autism.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between 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. “Basic science research shows that the proper development of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.”

Research has shown not only that the 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.

Researchers believe that the increase in the diagnosis of such disorders as ASD, ADHD, pervasive developmental disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders, have their root in a “perfect storm” of abnormal, structural spinal shifts and spinal development coupled with cultural changes.

“Not only does television watching, computer use, computer games and lack of exercise cause an increase in obesity and diabetes in our children” remarked McCoy “These habits spill over into adulthood and affect the development and functioning of our brains.”

According to McCoy, “People’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 from structural shifts. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.”

The 22-year-old female in this study had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder which started after receiving a vaccine at the age of two.  She was experiencing menstrual pain, discomfort, anxiety, and nervousness.  She was limited in her daily activities like personal interactions and speech due to autism.

The chiropractor examined her and found postural abnormalities and structural shifts in her neck, mid back, and low back.  Muscle imbalance, spasms, decreased range of motion, and additional testing confirmed these 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, her speech improved as she began talking more and her participation in daily personal interactions improved. There was an improvement of 41% in sociability and 24% improvement in health, physical symptoms and behavior according to measurements taken before and after care.

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

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