Dyslexia is probably the most common of all learning disabilities, in which reading, writing, and spelling proves to be very difficult. In fact, somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of learning disabilities are thought to be some form of dyslexia. It is thought to affect 5 to 10 percent of the general population, but some studies estimate it to be as high as 17 percent. Furthermore, the condition is hereditary, so a child with dyslexia may well have a parent with the same problems. Dyslexia is a life-long condition with no known cure, but early intervention may help dyslexia patients develop proper coping mechanisms to manage their condition.
This can be particularly frustrating for the parents of a child with dyslexia, as the child is often of high intelligence otherwise. These parents have often tried several learning disorder-based therapies or interventions, to no avail. Dr. Nathen Horst sees many such parents and children in his practice.
What Causes Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is actually the result of certain parts of the brain that govern reading and language comprehension. In essence, people with dyslexia are unable to break the written letters of words down into the individual sounds, or phonemes, needed to properly spell the word. Research has shown that the parts of the brain that allow written letters to be properly translated into phonemes are less active in people with dyslexia compared to those without the condition. Interestingly, other research has found that people with dyslexia may form entirely different neural pathways in the brain in order to compensate for their difficulty in reading.
Standard Treatments for Dyslexia
As there are no medications specifically designed to treat dyslexia, the standard treatment plans often involve comprehensive learning methods that focus on translating written words into their proper phonemes. Additionally, coping mechanisms should also be taught. Such mechanisms may include using a ruler or index card to follow the text line by line or using a highlighter to emphasize important parts of the text.
The main essence of chiropractic care is treating misalignments of the spine’s vertebrae, which are known as spinal sublaxations. These sublaxations can put pressure on the nerves leading to or from the spinal cord, which interfere with proper signaling to and from the brain. In the case of dyslexia, the pathways that allow for proper translation of written words into phonemes may be affected. By shifting these vertebrae back into alignment, the pressure on the nerves may be relieved, allowing the brain to properly process the written word.
An article published in the Annals of Vertebral Sublaxation Research combined the results from several smaller studies on chiropractic care for dyslexia in order to see if there was a consensus among the findings. The researchers concluded: “All studies reviewed suggested a positive effect of chiropractic care in individuals suffering from learning disabilities and dyslexia.”
For parents, watching their children struggle with the basics of reading can be heartbreaking. Fortunately, chiropractic offers a safe, effective way to help these children be able to properly read and write.