Cerebral Palsy and Chiropractic Care

Alternative, Cerebral Palsy Treatments

Chiropractor performing adjustment on young male patient

When we picture someone lying on a chiropractor’s table for an adjustment, it’s most likely an adult. After all, neck pain, back pain, spinal discomfort, and the struggle to sit or stand is usually a result of the wear and tear of our joints and bones over time.

But here in the cerebral palsy community, we know that this kind of pain, discomfort, and struggle with mobility control also affects children of all ages. While there isn’t a cure for cerebral palsy, there are ways to help with the muscle stiffness, coordination, and other physical difficulties that your child may experience.

Many families turn to alternative forms of treatment, such as chiropractic care, as a way to help their children live a daily life that’s as stress-free and pain-free as possible. Here’s what you need to know about incorporating chiropractic treatment into your child’s health and wellness routine.

Can a Chiropractor Help with Cerebral Palsy?

Although there have only been a few published studies on the efficacy of chiropractic care on children with cerebral palsy, the few that have been conducted have shown remarkable neuromuscular and mobility improvement. More specifically, some children were able to sit upright, maintain control of their hands and arms, and walk upstairs without needing assistance after treatment. Some specific results of those studies include:

  • The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research found in a 2006 study that children with cerebral palsy who were determined to have subluxations—slight misalignments of the vertebrae—showed increased mobility after just one month of care.
  • According to a study published by the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, a two-year-old boy with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy experienced improvement in mobility and motor function after receiving chiropractic care. Before treatment, he was unable to crawl or walk by himself. However, after just two visits, the child’s mother reported that for the first time, her son was able to pull himself up to his hands and knees and crawl on his own.
  • The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine published a study in 2018 that examined the short-term effects of some chiropractic therapies on spasticity in children with CP. An orthopedic medical doctor performed identical spinal manipulation on participants aged 8-18 in a rehabilitation clinic. The spinal manipulation was applied from the neck to the lower back—the thoracic, lumbar, and cervical regions—because spasticity in CP usually affects the entire body. While this study was limited, the results are considered promising.

Some other areas of improvement reported after children with CP received chiropractic care include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Neck and chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Drooling
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Gait issues
  • Spine issues
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Speech problems due to respiratory issues
  • Spasticity
  • Urinary incontinence

Is Chiropractic Care Right for Your Child?

These case studies and research findings suggest that there’s a link between chiropractic treatment and improved conditions of cerebral palsy in children. However, because the studies are so few, it cannot yet be medically proven without a larger sampling of studies.

This makes it critical to talk with your child’s doctor and seek their advice before implementing chiropractic care—or any other form of treatment. If your doctor does suggest visiting a chiropractor, you’ll want to make sure you ask questions of any potential practitioner, including:

  • What is your specific expertise in treating children?
  • How much experience do you have in delivering care to children with cerebral palsy?
  • What is your relevant education, training and licensure?

Experienced Attorneys Who Care About Our Clients and Their Families

If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of medical error, we’re here to help with the educational and legal resources you need. Contact the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs to discuss your case, and let us help move your family forward.

Was Your Child's CP Preventable?