Mar

31

In the past decade, prescriptions for Ritalin, a stimulant medication commonly used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), increased five-fold, with 90 percent of all prescriptions worldwide consumed in the United States. As many parents grow leery of the traditional drug approach to ADHD, promising results with non-drug treatments that focus on postural stability, nutrition and lifestyle changes that affect brain activity are emerging.  Some children may simply have difficulty learning certain subjects, but the current system, in a sense, prompts school officials to encourage their parents to have the children diagnosed with ADHD.  The higher the number of disabled kids in the school, the more funding the school can apply for.  Some teachers might also have difficulty with students who have a different style of learning. If the child is a visual learner and the teacher is not, perhaps the child is not being taught in a way he or she can learn from. Before diagnosing the child with ADHD, several questions need to be answered, such as is the child too active? Bored?  Does the child suffer with dyslexia or a different learning pattern? It can be a behavior problem, problems at home, or frustrations with the teacher’s style. If we went to a conference where the speakers taught in a way we can’t learn, we would be frustrated and would misbehave, we’d get up and leave or chat to the person sitting next to us.  The traditional medical model, however, seems to follow the cookie-cutter principle. The diagnosis of ADHD is based on a questionnaire. But this is not enough.  True ADHD patients have other signs, tics, tremors, balance or postural problems, or unusual sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds. Unfortunately, although medications can keep ADHD under control, they don’t cure it. Eighty percent of patients have ADHD features in adolescence, and up to 65 percent maintain them in adulthood. Our office offers a non-drug and non-invasive integrative functional neurologic rehabilitative treatment alternative for ADHD patients that targets the underlying problems, not just symptoms.  Motor activity, especially development of the postural muscles, is the baseline function of brain activity. Anything affecting postural muscles will influence brain development. Musculoskeletal imbalance will create imbalance of brain activity, and one part of the brain will develop faster than the other, and that’s what’s happening in ADHD patients.  Chiropractic neurologists are trained to identify the under-functioning part of the brain and find treatments to correct the problem, to help that hemisphere grow.  On every patient, we perform a brain function exam. We test visual and auditory reflexes through, for example, flashing light in the eye, or asking patients to listen to music in one or the other ear.  When the problem is identified, patients are placed on a treatment program, and most of the therapies can be done at home. Patients are asked to smell certain things several times a day … or wear special glasses. We also focus on their individual problems. Some children, for example, have difficulty with planning, organization, and coordination, so they benefit from timing therapies.  They learn to clap or tap to the metronome, perform spinning and balancing exercises.  Although currently no studies comparing chiropractic neurological and drug treatment for ADHD are available, chiropractic neurologists are compiling the data. We test children before they start the treatment and then every three months. Within the first three months, the children get a two grade level increase on average, which is pretty dramatic.  With children on medications, the improvement in academic performance is short term and lasts only as long as they take the medication. Our programs change brain function and the improvement doesn’t go away.

Mar

25

Current statistics show that approximately 13 million Americans over the age of 65 suffer from some type of dizziness or balance problems that significantly interfere with their lives.  Consider that half of all falls among the elderly are the result of untreated or mistreated vestibular problems, (vertigo).  Currently, falls are the leading cause of injury death in persons over 65.  In the over 75 age group, 75% of visits to the emergency room are for injuries associated with falls.  This is by no means a problem only affecting the elderly, as the number one cause of non-fatal injuries, in all age groups, is from falls.  Many falls are unpreventable, such as falling off of a ladder when a stair breaks.  But most are preventable, coming from poor balance associated with neglect of these systems over the course of our life.  Balance is essentially a sense, derived from the integration of vision, the vestibular labyrinth, (inner ear), and the proprioception, (sensation) perceived from the feet.  Any compromise of any one of these systems lends itself to decreased balance sense and thus increased risk of fall.  Quite commonly, humans develop an over reliance on the visual system, allowing a sort of semi-neglect of the other systems.  When this occurs, fall risk increases when one is in the dark, or on soft or uneven ground, or by example, stepping from a solid surface like a sidewalk to a soft surface like wet turf.  Attempting this maneuver after dusk complicates balance greatly in those with a strong visual reliance, thus increasing risk of fall further.  As a typical scenario, one leaves a restaurant after dinner and a few drinks.  On leaving the restaurant, it is dark and raining.  When stepping from the walkway to the lower parking lot, or onto soft wet turf, the proprioceptive system from the feet is relied upon heavily to maintain one’s balance.  If one is strongly visually reliant, this system may fail, and the individual will fall.  Compounding this are disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and particularly diabetes.  In our office, all patients are checked initially, and at regular intervals for balance and risk of fall, using a computerized posturography system, which is extremely accurate at predicting falls associated with poor stability.  Testing takes less than a minute, and as such, we offer this fall risk screening free of charge as a community service. We also offer free informational booklets on vertigo, dizziness and dystonia.  You may request one by calling toll free, (24 hr. recorded message only): 1 888 685-8386 to receive a vertigo/dizziness booklet, 1 800 296-7504 to receive a dystonia booklet.  Lastly, use good sense in fall prevention.  Use nightlights in hallways, near stairs, between the bed and the bathroom, and anywhere else you may be walking at night.  Consider that you may need to walk anywhere in your home in the event of a fire, as such, nightlights illuminating all areas would be appropriate.

Mar

13

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder affecting more than 300,000 people in North America alone. It is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which force certain parts of the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements or postures.  This typically manifests as a no-no tremor, (oscillation of the head side to side, as if nodding no repetitively).  Dystonia can affect any part of the body including the arms and legs, trunk, neck, eyelids, face, or vocal cords.  Because muscle contractions interfere with normal function, dystonia causes impairment such as incoordination and problems with balance, (and thus increased risk of fall).  As such, those afflicted with the disorder often find themselves unable to perform many of the things they did prior to its inception.  Pain and fatigue from the repetitive movement is not uncommon.  Features such as cognition, strength, and the senses, including vision and hearing, are typically normal and left unaffected.  As the disorder becomes intolerable, botox injections are typically used to help control the disorder and excess movement. Botox injections are simply isolated botulism toxins, which paralyze the muscles near the injection site for a period of time.  As the toxin’s effect wears off over time, the procedure must be repeated. Recent research demonstrates the tremendous effect chiropractic neurologists can have on cervical dystonia when managed in accordance with brain based neurology. Results using this approach have been described as outstanding and provide hope for dystonic patients looking for non-surgical and non-drug treatment options.  For this reason, it is recommended that patients who have dystonic movements and associated symptomatology be treated in this fashion before other treatments which may be associated with iatrogenesis, (problems induced inadvertently by a medical treatment), are considered.  At minimum, a fall risk screen should be performed on anyone suffering with this disorder, due to the increase risk of fall associated with the tremor.  Our office offers this service as a community service free of charge.