Chiropractic's Effect on Learning Disorders and Dyslexia

Chiropractic care of the spine may stimulate nerve pathways to an area of the brain important to learning, resulting in enormous benefits to children with learning disabilities and dyslexia, according to a recent study. "This review critically assessed eight previously published studies involving a total of 160 children," explained Swiss chiropractor Yannick Pauli, the research leader and president of the Swiss Chiropractic Pediatric Association. He specializes in the care of children afflicted by learning and behavioral disorders.

"Although the results remain preliminary and more research is needed, the evidence strongly suggests that chiropractic care may help various cognitive abilities that are essential to learning," Pauli said of the study, which was published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. Some 3 percent to 10 percent of school-age children in the United States suffer from learning disorders and dyslexia.

Those with these conditions often experience low self-esteem, diminished interest in school, academic difficulties, loss of motivation and difficulties in social functioning. The researcher pointed to neurological issues - specifically improper brain development as a result of maternal stress during pregnancy, traumatic birth, poor diet and/or sedentary lifestyle - as the root cause of learning disorders, and said these same neural factors can hamper life skills, sports activities and family relationships.

"Learning disorders and dyslexia are increasingly recognized as a neurodevelopmental disorder," he said. "Children suffering from those problems have parts of their brain that are not functioning adequately or are even delayed in their development. Among those dysfunctional areas is a small part located at the back of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum plays a vital role in learning. It helps the brain coordinate and integrate sensory information, as well as to increase the processing speed of the brain."

Chiropractic care, Pauli emphasized, isn't all about back-pain issues in adults. "The only source of constant stimulation to the brain comes from the spine and the postural muscles constantly adjusting to the force of gravity," he said. "the daily physical stresses of life cause misalignments in the spine - called vertebral subluxations by chiropractors - the brain is not adequately stimulated.

 This can cause problems throughout the body.%u201D Thus, he speculated, when chiropractors correct spinal misalignments, even if these are not causing any symptoms, spinal function can be improved and nerve pathways to the cerebellum and other parts of the brain can be powerfully stimulated. "In the case of children, this may, in turn, help brain functions necessary for learning," he concluded.


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