ADHD, Superman, and Chiropractic — What the heck do these 3 things have in common?
Let’s start by taking a quick look at one of my FAVORITE scenes from the Man of Steel Movie:
In case you missed it – after a fight with Superman, General Zod’s helmet is destroyed and comes off. He starts hearing every little sound, losing control of his senses — and Superman responds, “My parents taught me to hone my senses, Zod. Focus… on just what I wanted to see. Without your helmet, you’re getting everything… and it hurts!”
While this may seem a bit silly – the reason I love this scene is because after interviewing countless children and adults suffering from ADHD, that last line from superman is almost exactly how they would describe the symptoms! It would be as if you and I were having a conversation and someone was SCREAMING in your ear the entire time – you would probably have difficulty filtering out the yelling your ear so that you could focus on the conversation we were having. I believe by addressing the concept of ‘filtering’ we identify one of the biggest challenges of those suffering from ADHD.
In chiropractic offices all over the world, what we see most commonly in individuals suffering from ADHD is a subluxation of the top bone of the neck, called the atlas. This ‘subluxation’ is just a scientific term for a misalignment of a vertebra which causes tension and interference on the nervous system instead of the proper protection it is meant to provide.
Passing through that top bone in the neck is almost every nerve fiber in the entire body. There are countless “prioprioceptors,” or receptors that sense position, that send a LOT of information up to the brain. So when the top bone in the neck MISALIGNS (as seen in the picture above) — the nerves running through it BOMBARD the brain with information through a process called ‘dysafferentation,’ as if they were saying “help me I’m out of place something is wrong!” The brain then receives SO MUCH information, it makes it difficult to pay attention to anything else. As a result, the brain has problems filtering out those messages and, over time, focus is lost because the brain is overloaded!
In many children and adults, this process may result in many of the symptoms associated with ADHD — unrest, the lack of focus, etc. In neurologically-based chiropractic offices, like Absolute Chiropractic, our first step is to perform an evaluation of our practice member’s nervous system to see if there are any subluxations that may result in this irritation of the nervous system. An example of an evaluation done in our office is below:
Ideally, we would see a scan that looks completely white. Any green indicates a mild increase of nerve activity to the muscles, blue indicates moderate, and red and black indicate a severe increase of nerve activity. In this particular individual, we see multiple levels of SEVERE increases of nerve activity ALL OVER — you can imagine just t how hard the brain is working to fight the dysfunction caused by those misalignments, and, as a result, how hard it would be for this person to filter out all these messages. A good analogy would be to imagine this person driving a car with a Ferrari engine and bicycle brakes!
After determining that an individual is a candidate for neurologically-based chiropractic care (the person we’ve used for this example would probably be a great candidate!), we develop a battle plan to determine exactly what is needed to realign those misaligned vertebra and restore proper function and communication to the nervous system. In a person with ADHD, this allows the proper information to reach the brain and for all those messages to be better filtered. Overall, our goal is to allow each and every person to function at 100% of their best – reaching what we call their absolute potential. We deliver very gentle and specific chiropractic adjustments to correct those subluxations. When it comes down to it, would you rather live your life with a misaligned spine and improperly communicating brain and body or with a good spinal structure and properly functioning nervous system? I believe that life is ALWAYS better when we are at our best!