Objective: To describe the positive health outcomes following chiropractic care of a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD), sleep challenges, and speech delay. A selective review of the related literature and proposed neurophysiological mechanism are included.
Clinical Features: A 3½-year-old-male with SPD, sleep challenges, and speech delay presented with a history of premature birth. He became overwhelmed when needing to process multiple stimuli, still used a pacifier as a coping mechanism, and had could not sleep through the night. Physical examination, paraspinal surface electromyography (sEMG), and paraspinal thermography revealed vertebral subluxation.
Intervention and Outcomes: Chiropractic analysis was done by advanced muscle palpation technique and manual adjustments were given utilizing diversified technique. After 36 visits over 3 months, reduction of vertebral subluxation was demonstrated by improvement in sEMG and thermography. The patient was reported to be more independent, to have improved quality and quantity of his speech, to have slept 11-12 hours per night for 3 consecutive weeks, and to have freely chosen to dispose of his pacifier.
Conclusions: This case presents the improvement in a child with SPD, sleep challenges, and speech delay after reduction of vertebral subluxation. Based on the additional cases presented and possible neurophysiological mechanism involving the autonomic nervous system, more research in this area is recommended.
Author keywords: Chiropractic, subluxation, adjustment, spinal manipulation, sensory processing, sleep, speech, diversified technique, advanced muscle palpation, autonomic nervous system, surface electromyography, thermography
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