Published on January 25, 2021, in the journal Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, was the results of a case study which documented the improvement under chiropractic care of a patient diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The study begins by explaining that “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a life-long early developmental disorder that causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or functional areas in the person’s life that are not otherwise explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes ASD by saying “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people.”
In this case, a 22-year-old woman who had been medically diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder was brought by her mother to the chiropractor for issues of menstrual pain and discomfort. The woman’s mother stated that her daughter’s ASD was vaccine induced, following an MMR vaccination in 1995. The mother commented, “After vaccine (daughter) lost all verbals less than 12 hours after (vaccine administration)”.
In addition to ASD, the mother reported that her daughter suffered from anxiety, nervousness, and menstrual disorders. The young girl also had difficulty with personal interaction in social settings and speech. Her mother brought the young woman to the chiropractor in the hopes of obtaining optimal health on all levels and increased interaction with others.
A physical examination was performed as best as possible due to the limited cooperation of the autistic girl. Postural abnormalities and muscular asymmetry along with areas of spinal sensitivity were noted. Range of motion was decreased in all areas of the spine and certain spinal segments showed lack of individual movement upon palpation. From the examination, it was determined that multiple levels of spinal subluxation were present and specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started to address the subluxations.
The young girl was seen eight times in the first thirty days. As care progressed, the mother reported that her daughter was talking more and fairing better with daily routines. A test known as the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), developed by the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, was used to objectively monitor the young girl’s progress. The results of this test after chiropractic care showed that the girl had progressed with an improvement of 41% in the subscale of sociability and 24% improvement in the subscale of health/physical/behavior. The girl’s total improvement was 18% following chiropractic care according to the pre and post ATEC questionnaire with online grading.
In their conclusion, the authors explained how correction of the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) through chiropractic care could help patients with ASD: “Chiropractic is used to correct subluxations that result in improvement in autonomic nervous system function by normalizing mechanoreceptor signaling to the brain. The autonomic nervous system is closely related to autism symptomatology and we can see improvement in behavioral functioning correlating to the Limbic system. Improvements in behavior are correlated with the removal of VSC in autism spectrum patients.”
The authors summed up this case by saying, “The patient in this study experienced improved health outcomes related to autism following chiropractic care.”