Cotton Chiropractic Homepage

Mon 9am-12pm & 2pm-6pm
Tue 2pm - 6pm
Wed 8am - 12pm
Thurs 9am-12pm & 2pm-6pm
Fri - Sun Closed

117 Sheraton Drive
Salem, Virginia 24153


Neurodevelopmental Challenges


We do not "treat" ADHD

However, ADHD appears as a neurological disorder and chiropractic care reduces nervous system interference, allowing the body to thrive as it was naturally designed to thrive. Many parents seeking natural, non-drug solutions for their child find chiropractic care amazingly beneficial, even miraculous.adhd.jpg

Common Symptoms

Most often parents and teachers notice:

  • Being easily distracted
  • Difficulty concentrating & inattention
  • Inability to control impulsive thoughts and behaviors
  • Easily distracted by noises and activities
  • Fidgety movements -- fingers, hands, arms, feet or legs

From the beginning

It is important to begin making nutritional and lifestyle changes. Rule out environmental factors by reducing your child's exposure to toxins that are increasingly common these days:

  • Removing preservatives, food dyes and additives from the diet is key.
  • Natural, organic foods grown without pesticides or herbicides should be primary food choices.
  • Determine if allergies are involved; such as dairy or gluten. If so, eliminate these from the diet.
  • Eliminate all excess sugars and artificial sweeteners.
  • Reduce the use of inorganic agents, detergents, fabric softeners and other chemical toxins.

Regardless if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or not, these are great choices to make for your family!

Traditional Treatment

Currently, the “standard” approach to managing symptoms of ADHD is to administer regular doses of methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin®.

Ritalin® is a schedule II controlled substance related to, and producing similar effects as, amphetamines and cocaine. The side effects include personality changes and permanent changes to the brain. Many parents who are aware of this are looking for alternatives. More and more parents are wisely turning to chiropractic.

Chiropractic: All Natural

Ritalin® shortage is not the result of increased hyperactivity! We specifically look for interference within the child’s nervous system (subluxation). The upper neck is most commonly where we find this interference. The relationship between the spine and brain stem dysfunction in ADHD is common. Through a carefully designed plan of safe and natural chiropractic adjustments, these often resolve, leading to reduced tension within the nervous system and less symptomatic expressions for your child.

Find Out More

We understand all a parent wants is the best for their child. If your child exhibits the symptoms of ADHD, you know it affects virtually everyone your child is in contact with. Before you submit to drug therapy, make an appointment for a chiropractic evaluation. Call our office today! 540-765-2990

Autism and Chiropractic Care

An important note again, we do not “treat” children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, we know that autism typically involves the deepest level of neuro-developmental challenges and MANY parents are in disbelief at the improvements their child has had after beginning a strategically mapped chiropractic care plan.

Child with autismHow can chiropractic care help my child with Autism?

The truth of the matter is, everything our office knows and stands for revolves around one recurring theme – the central nervous system. The CNS is the master control system for the entire body. A few of the CNS’s functions includes processing sensory information from your environment, making and secreting vital hormones, controlling your digestive and immune system and even regulating proper behavior, sleeping patterns and social skills. We understand, like many other professional who work closely with children diagnosed with autism, that the CNS is extremely affected in this disorder – leading to difficulties with behavior, hyperactivity and social issues at home, school or in public.

Possible ways the Nervous System can be damaged

There are a multitude of different factors that can damage the nervous system. For the sake of time – we are going to key in on the most common cause we see in our office. Birth Trauma is the most common association we see in children who have been diagnosed with ASD – specifically C-section delivery.

The sad truth – in the United States, we currently have levels of birth intervention that even the WHO has termed to be at “epidemic” levels - including the use of Cesarean delivery. The WHO states that C-section rates around 10% are normal and necessary, while anything above 15-20% “likely does more harm than good” – in the US 33-50% C-section rates are the norm for most hospitals.

“Augmentation” itself has become a part of “natural” childbirth. It must be recognized that even the majority of vaginal deliveries include the use of induction and epidurals. We have adopted a culture that chooses to view birth as a medical condition instead of the natural process it truly is. This in turn leads to further risk of birth trauma and injury – specifically to important areas where normal function is pivotal. The area that is most commonly injured during the birth process is the upper neck and skull. The risk of injury to these areas go up exponentially as intervention levels go up. C-sections, forceps, vacuum extraction, and prolonged pushing all lead to greater risk of traumatic birth injury to the infant’s head and neck.

We know cause -- What about the effects?

As we’ve discussed previously, injury to the upper neck and spinal cord, when left untreated, can have a dramatic effect on proper development and growth in a newborn, infant, or young child. The problem that arises during birth trauma is that misalignment and joint fixation (subluxation) are already created before baby takes their first breath. This leads to the deeper effects of improper signaling into and out of your brain and spinal cord (CNS). Though our bodies have the ability to heal themselves, entering the world already far too stressed leads to a cascade of chronic stress for these children. Physiologically speaking, their bodies are stuck in sympathetic dominance (fight-or-flight) from the moment they enter the world, sometimes even before. This is why we commonly see children who have been diagnosed with ASD later in childhood have already been through the gamut of infantile colic, chronic ear infections, allergies, asthma, multiple rounds of antibiotics and so forth. Not only are chronic immune challenges an issue, chronic digestive and gastro-intestinal issues (cramping, constipation, food-sensitivities) are also incredibly common. It really is no wonder children diagnosed with ASD have challenges with sensory processing, social interaction and behavioral impulsivity because their bodies have always been in protection (sympathethic) mode and never truly been able to reach growth, health and natural development mode. Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD again states it best – “You can’t be in growth and protection at the same time”.

What do we do now?

You’ve probably already gone through various care with PTs, OTs, behavioral therapists, speech therapists and so on – and often it will be recommended you continue with all forms of therapy while also undergoing a chiropractic care plan. We always say it this way – 1+1=11. Our specific model and chiropractic technique does not inhibit or fight against the work of other professionals. Instead, it works in perfect parallel to give your child the ability to reach THEIR full potential.

Let’s get right down to the TRUTH of why your child needs chiropractic – we need to address if injury has been present within the spinal column and assess for subluxation. If present, specific chiropractic adjustments need to be made to restore balance and alignment to the neuro-spinal system, which has a direct impact to balancing and restoring proper nervous system function.

There are many factors to creating improvements in behavior, sleep, digestion, immune function, learning and more. Severity and duration of present injuries and subluxation need to be detected in order to properly map out the best care plans for your child. If possible, early detection and care is key! The earlier we begin care, the better our chances for the greatest amount of success.

In the most-simple fashion, we can summarize the challenges we see in most every child who has been diagnosed with a spectrum disorder – their nervous systems have been and remain overstressed. They have been living life in protection mode with the “gas pedal” stuck to the floorboard even before their symptoms were noticeable and have never had the ability to “tap the brakes” and get their nervous systems into true growth, healing, organization and development. Subluxation has become a major part of their anatomy, physiology and neurology and locked them into this stressed system. A specifically trained pediatric chiropractor is the only provider in the world trained to find and locate that subluxation, correct and resolve it. This is pivotal to balancing the growth, relaxation and development systems working again – aka: “pumping the brakes”.

We believe that when a family has a child who is challenged by something like spectrum disorders, the number one thing they need is someone who can support them and help them make the proper decisions. Unfortunately, despite the enormous growth in this disorder, most pediatricians are quite lacking in their understanding of spectrum disorders and how neurology, nutrition, and toxicity play a role in it. Thankfully, Pediatric Chiropractors are experts in this area, and you can be rest assured that you will get the support and care your child needs to overcome these challenges and lead the brightest and most promising life possible!

Sensory Processing Disorder

SPD, what's that?

There are many different names for Sensory Processing Disorder. You may have also heard SPD go by the names Sensory Integration Dysfunction or Neurosensory Dysfunction. Regardless the diagnosis, the cause of these challenges doesn’t change. Our brains are consistently reacting to sensory information. From the food you smell, to the warmth of the sun on your face, to the words your listening to in your head right now while reading this…we are ALWAYS sensing and processing information and our brains control it all.

What is often not talked about is how immaculate our brains really are. Every person has an innate intelligence in us that understands and responds to information that is appropriate and inappropriate. A prime example of this intelligence is a child setting their hand on a hot stove. Abundance of stimulus from receptors in the hand travel to the brain and innately tell the child the heat coming out of the stove is “bad stimuli” that causes pain and burning. Once this act has been done once, it will rarely be done ever again. This is an example of ‘sensory learning’. Our brains learn in the exact manner for ALL our primary senses – taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight, movement and coordination. Again – Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD best summarizes this concept in saying – “The function of the Nervous System is PERCEIVE it’s environment and COORDINATE the BEHAVIOR of all cells accordingly”

Three key words to focus on in Dr. Lipton’s synopsis – Perceive, Coordinate, Behavior. Improper perception of the environment leads to improper coordination of the information being relayed to the brain. Improper coordination of information often leads to improper behavior due to the inability to correctly identify what the message is telling the brain and how to express that message in an appropriate fashion.

The truth of the matter is, children affected with SPD struggle because of the inability to perceive their environment. Albeit from touch, smell, sight, hearing or balance and coordination; the message remains the same.

When relating SPD to our spines and subluxation, our message is relatively simple. The majority of sensory information to the brain comes in the form of proprioception (good brain stimulus) – better known as your body’s awareness in space. An example of proprioception : if you close your eyes, you know exactly where both pinky fingers are on your left and right hands. 90% of all information going into your brain at any given time are proprioceptive signals. Your spine is responsible for interpreting approximately 2/3 of this information with 1/3 of that coming solely from the upper neck. Now imagine that you have a subluxation (interference within the nervous system signal) at the level of your top vertebrae, the atlas. This area is of particular importance because of its relation to the brainstem. If interference is present, the responsibilities of processing, integrating, filtering and organizing that information will appear as an inappropriate response due to the inability to PERCEIVE correctly. Coordination of this signal is then transferred to higher brain centers. ‘Filtering mechanisms’ within our nervous system will edit and stop messages that appear unimportant at these levels of interference.

Children who suffer from SPD have an inability to properly process, coordinate, and adapt to their sensory environment. These issues can be broken down into neurological input and COORDINATION problems, not output and behavior problems.

For children with SPD, this “perception and coordination” system is essentially not “programmed” correctly. There are a variety of reasons the sensory system becomes imbalanced and disorganized.

Is there a specific cause?

The specific cause of SPD is currently unknown. In our office, we commonly see a correlation between traumatic birth injury (C-section, vacuum extraction, forceps) and symptoms of SPD. Birth injury most likely has the greatest impact, due to the sensitivity of the upper spine near the level of the brainstem, cerebellum and Vagus nerve. This area of the nervous system is responsible for regulating many of the ‘processing’ and ‘filtering’ signals from the sensory system. Other traumas that may attribute to development of SPD include frequent childhood falls and excessive use of car seat carriers and walkers.

Child UmbrellaDiagnosing

Efficiently trained health care providers understand that sensory-challenges are frequently a main component of many common conditions – including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unfortunately, many health care providers are not trained to recognize and care for these changes in infants and toddlers. The general rule of thumb comes into play at this point – “Mom knows best”. Often we have parents who tell us “something just doesn’t feel right”. When encountering these feelings, many parents have consulted the child’s doctor already and been told to “wait and see what happens” or “they will grow out of it”. The truth of the matter is, “wait and see” is the same thing as doing nothing. Early detection is pivotal for children who may be struggling with sensory-challenges as their bodies are developing at such a rapid pace.

What parents should watch for

Common case history findings we see in children diagnosed with challenges like Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD.

  • Traumatic Birth: C-section, vacuum, forceps, or increased difficulty, pulling, or twisting of the child's head and neck during delivery.
  • Colic and reflux in infancy.
  • Torticollis and plagiocephaly.
  • Constipation and digestive issues.
  • Chronic ear and sinus infections.
  • Speech delays.
  • Abnormal motor development early in life (eg: only walks on toes)
  • Frequent falls and injuries; uncoordinated.

Caring for Sensory Processing Disorder

As pediatric chiropractors, we understand children with sensory-challenges have difficulty with Perception, Coordination and Adaptation to their environment. Again, this commonly appears as a behavior or output problem. Traditionally, this is where care begins for these children – modifying behavior; aka: output. Often, therapies are completed by specifically trained occupational and/or physical therapists in a “sensory gym”. We are 100% on board with the care that these professionals provide for children diagnosed with sensory challenges and encourage these therapies as the child ages and develops. However, when we go back and look at the cause of improper brain signaling, we see that it’s actually an INPUT problem. In pediatric chiropractic care, we take a different approach to pinpoint and address the root cause of the challenges. In order to achieve optimal output and behavior for these children, we need to change not only their environment; but also the input their brain receives from sensory stimuli so they have the ability to Perceive the environment and Coordinate these perceptions accurately.

Our state of the art, Certified Space Technology provides the information needed for our doctors to assess if your child has interference within their nervous system that may be leading to an inability to properly perceive and adapt to their environment. Want to learn more? Contact our office today!


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Cotton Chiropractic Homepage

117 Sheraton Drive, Salem, Virginia 24153      540.765.2990

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