ADHD and osteopathy/manual therapy – what can be done

Lately I’ve had a few people asking me my opinion as a health professional (osteopath) about ADHD and osteopathy.

First off research – well in regards to research about Osteopathy and ADHD there is a study released in 2014:

Effect of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy in the Attentive Performance of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

This is research done with a relatively small group in Italy (28 children aged 5-15) and divided into two groups – one who received conventional care, and one who received conventional care and Osteopathic manual therapy.  Those who had the manual therapy did have improvements in outcomes testing for Biancardi-Stroppa Modified Bell Cancellation Test.  This is a test that looks at the ability of a child to find certain shapes and ignore background or distracting information.

Overall the research suggested further study would be a good idea – increasing the number of children involved in the study.  It it also noted that this research is performed in Italy, and while treatment may be of a similar nature, I could not verify if the techniques used would of been similar to that in Australia.

So research is very limited in its opinion of osteopathy in Australia and how it can help with ADHD.  With the AHPRA regulations for Osteopaths in Australia that means it is not allowable to advertise that Osteopathy can help with ADHD.

However People/children with ADHD get tight and sore muscles much the same as anybody else and that is something that osteopathy may be helpful for.  Having fallen down off a trampoline, or tripped while running, or any other number of injuries can result in muscular sprains and strains that may benefit from the attention of an osteopath (such as Luke at Good Health Osteopathy in Diamond Creek).

Other considerations:

Other things to consider can be other factors which may affect ADHD.

  1. Diet and Gut Microbiome: There are pretty definitive links between Autism Spectrum and Changes to Gut Microbiome (balance of different bacteria’s inside the digestive tract), and as of yet it has not been shown in those with ADHD.  What is known however, that those with ADHD are almost 3 times more likely to suffer from constipation, and those born via C-section have slightly increased likelyhood of having ADHD later on in life.  Both of those would likely indicate an increased chance of having gut dysbiosis.
  2. Retained ‘primitive reflexes’:  There is a neonatal/baby reflex known as the galant reflex that you will see in babies usually up to about 6 months.  This is a reflex believed to help with birth and to help establish hip mobility and crawling patterns.  At times this reflex can be retained until later on into childhood and even adulthood.  This study found higher levels of retained reflex in children with ADHD, and other research has linked this retained reflex to higher levels of children bed wetting over the age of 5.

For those wanting to be more proactive in managing an individual with ADHD there are exercise and advice that could be given to potentially help with the above two points.

Dr. Luke Richter (Osteopath) and Angie Richter (Massage)
329-347 Diamond Creek Road, Diamond Creek 3089
Providing massage and osteopathic treatment for those in Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Eltham, Hurstbridge and surrounding suburbs.


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