On January 16, 2020, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic published the results of a case study documenting the improvement in developmental delay of a baby girl undergoing chiropractic care.
The authors of this study begin by noting that a child is considered developmentally delayed when he or she is not obtaining specific milestones of ability at a predicted rate or age. As of 2008, one in six children was considered to be to some degree developmentally delayed. They note that this number increased dramatically since 1998. They point out that the milestones children are supposed to reach are separated into five separate and distinct categories. They are:
- 4 months: The ability to lift chest up from a belly down position
- 6 months: Child can pull up into sitting position
- 9 months: Ability to roll both ways and sit up
- 12 months: Child can pull himself/herself up to stand and walk with one hand holding on
- 18 months: Getting up into standing position and walking alone
In this case, a 15-month-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother. It was reported that the girl was suffering with hypotonia and developmental delay. According to the study, “Hypotonia is a term used to describe low muscle tone in young children. It presents as excessive spinal range of motion, decreased postural stability as well as an overall diminished quality of movement.”
The mother stated that her daughter had always been small and had always been one to two months developmentally delayed in achieving the standard milestones. The baby was born by Cesarean section and had a mild torticollis at birth. At six months, the baby girl was unable to sit by herself and strongly disliked lying on her belly.
An age-appropriate chiropractic examination was performed and resulted in the determination that multiple levels of subluxation were present. A course of specific chiropractic adjustment, appropriate to age, were started to address the subluxations.
After six chiropractic adjustments, the girl was able to stand and walk while holding on to some means of support. After 20 visits, the girl was able to repeat some simple words clearly. She was also able to stand and take up to six steps without holding onto anything. After five months of chiropractic care, the girl was walking unassisted with ease and had become more verbal. After seven months of care, the girl’s mother reported that her daughter was able to climb down off a chair and move a foot stool so she could climb up to put her cup on a bench.
The authors of the study explained subluxations by quoting a chiropractic authority group, “Vertebral subluxation is a chiropractic term that has been defined by a collective of chiropractic colleges named the Rubicon group as: ‘a self-perpetuating, central segmental motor control problem that involves a joint, such as a vertebral motion segment, that is not moving appropriately, resulting in ongoing maladaptive neural plastic changes that interfere with the central nervous system’s ability to self-regulate, self-organize, adapt, repair and heal’.”
In the conclusion of this study the authors wrote, “Improved outcomes in this 15-month-old could be associated with improvement in sensorimotor integration following the correction of vertebral subluxation during chiropractic care.”