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Chiropractic Blog

Chiropractic Care for Sensory Processing Disorder

Published Date: 
December 21, 2023
A boy with SPD covering his ears and yelling in a classroom.

People use their senses to survive and to avoid injury. For example, we learn not to touch hot things through the experience of touching them and getting burned. Our brain stores sensory memories that ensure we don’t do things that cause pain after doing them once.

Unfortunately, some people experience sensory processing disorder, which interferes with their ability to associate painful stimuli with avoiding those stimuli. Some recognize the link between the action and the pain but don’t remember the connection in the future. Children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have trouble associating stimuli with correct actions and remembering actions that cause pain.

There are varying theories regarding the cause of sensory disorders, but most believe it’s linked to traumatic birth injury. If a baby’s cervical spine is forced out of alignment during childbirth, it can interfere with the proper communication between the brain and the central nervous system. This affects the peripheral nervous system, which sends and receives signals to and from the brain, leading to processing stimuli issues.

Coping with the Challenges of Sensory Processing Disorder

People with sensory processing challenges struggle with organizing and responding to information they receive through their senses. It can lead to oversensitivity, under-sensitivity, or both. Symptoms might include:

  • Super acute hearing
  • Touch aversion
  • Poor motor coordination
  • High tolerance of pain
  • No sense of boundaries
  • Over-aggression
  • Easily distractible

The following can help you cope with sensory processing disorder:

  • Identifying triggers. You can do this by keeping a journal that includes notes about things that bother or overwhelm you or your child.
  • Trying a variety of self-help strategies. This might include wearing headphones when there will be loud noises, wearing clothing that feels comfortable, wearing sunglasses even in conditions that aren’t necessarily sunny, and avoiding foods that trigger symptoms.
  • Speaking to teachers, daycare providers, and other caregivers regarding issues. Make sure they understand that children might be responding to sensory issues and not have behavioral problems.
  • Being fearless in experimenting with solutions. This is a very individualized condition, so coping strategies are also individualized. If a texture, sound, or other sensory experience bothers you or your child, look for specific ways to ease the discomfort.
Young girl playing with blocks at home and wearing noise-canceling headphones.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Children with SPD

Chiropractic treatment addresses communication issues that occur between the brain and nervous system. Often, it is these miscommunications that lead to someone developing SPD. 

Chiropractic adjustments focus on realigning the cervical vertebrae. They use techniques to open the space between the vertebrae, providing the room the spine needs to shift back into alignment. This relieves the pressure on nerves in the area and restores the proper nervous system functioning.

Two young children playing with Poppit toys.

Treatment can begin early in life. In some cases, infant chiropractic treatment prevents sensory issues from ever developing. This helps you avoid serious developmental delays as your child gets older. Chiropractic care is an all-natural, gentle treatment that improves overall health.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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