A different type of approach
Local chiropractor offers alternative to meds for ADHD
by Susan O’Neill
Editor’s note: In order to protect the medical privacy of the story subjects, the patient’s first name was changed. In addition, the last names and hometown of the patient and his mother were withheld.
ELBURN—John, an area 12-year-old, has been battling a diagnosis of moderate-to-severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) since he was 5 years old. At the time of his diagnosis, John had trouble following directions and staying on task, which limited his academic functioning.
John hasn’t had to fight his battle alone, of course. His mother, Janet, has been right there beside him, every step of the way. Janet said John’s doctors tried five different medications at varying doses. She said that although some degree of relief was achieved, the side effects far outweighed the benefits. Because the drugs stimulate the brain, she said her son experienced sleeplessness, headaches and dizziness; he had a loss of appetite, and as a result, became very thin. He was moody, and at times, had an aggravated demeanor.
“It was always trial and error,” she said. “As he was growing and changing, the medications would become less effective, and if we gave him too high a dose, it had a ‘zombie’ effect.”
He has needed extra assistance in the classroom. From third grade on, he has worked with specialists for reading and writing, including extra tutoring for comprehension. This year, he is in a special classroom of 10 students for those subjects. During summers, Janet would take him off of the medication, and she said she would see the problems return.
About a year ago, a friend told Janet about Vital Chiropractic in Elburn, and that chiropractor Dr. David Foss was able to help children with ADHD symptoms. Janet said that, although she had grown up with a negative perception of chiropractors, she had tried everything else, so she decided to give it a try.
Janet said Dr. Foss evaluated John and found many misalignments of his spine.
“He was carrying 30 pounds extra on one leg,” she said.
Dr. Foss started out doing spinal adjustments with John three times a week. He is currently down to once a week, at a maintenance level.
John is in sixth grade this year, and he is off all his medications. The school psychologist repeated a battery of tests that John had last taken in third grade to measure his attention and comprehension, and he showed significant improvement. Next year, he will be in a regular classroom for the entire day.
She said that although when children reach John’s current age, many of them grow out of their hyperactivity, she believes there is a correlation between Foss’ treatment and his improvement.
“I see such a big improvement,” she said. “I see a correlation. I don’t think it’s coincidence.”
She said that he still has to work harder than other children.
“The ADD doesn’t just disappear,” she said.
Janet admits that she doesn’t understand the science, except that the messages from John’s brain are now able to flow freely throughout his nervous system, and his improvement in school has had a snowball effect.
“His personality has changed; he’s so happy now,” she said. “His self-esteem has improved tremendously, he likes school and he has more friends. Everything has come together for him.”
Janet said that she is grateful for all the teachers and tutors who have helped John along the way for the progress he has made, but the big improvements he has made have been in the last year.
“He’s just taken off in the last year,” she said. “He’s just a different boy.”
Foss is careful to say that he doesn’t “treat” ADHD or the other diseases.
“You just have to remove the interference to the life force that flows through the nervous system, and the body heals itself,” he said.
He said he doesn’t believe that ADHD is a disorder, but that many children diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities have problems processing the information they receive through their senses. They can be either hypersensitive or hyposensitive to taste, touch and sounds.
“It’s like having a mind with a Ferrari engine, but with bicycle brakes,” he said. “They’ve got minds that go, go, go, but they don’t know how to stop it.”
He explained that chiropractic care, instead of just treating the symptoms, diagnoses the causes of the problems.
“It’s all neurological,” he said.
Foss said there are three components, which he calls neurosensory integration, to how he works with children who have these sensory-processing problems.
Rather than using medications, which many medical doctors use to treat children with ADHD, Foss said he makes adjustments to the structures of the spine and the cranial bones, and then gives the children things to do at home that address their nutritional deficiencies and remove toxins in the body, as well as brain or neuro-exercises that can improve neurological function.
The nutrition component includes certain vitamins and minerals, eliminating grains, sugars and dairy-as well as toxicities, such as artificial flavors, coloring and preservatives-from their diet. The exercises include time on a machine in Foss’ office called “the vibe,” which generates a whole-body vibration that he says “super-stimulates” the nervous system.
The children also go to outside physical and occupational therapy to help integrate their treatment.
“Parents don’t want to put the kids on drugs, but that’s all they get from their medical doctor, and that’s not health care,” Foss said.
Foss said that he wants to provide an alternative to drugs that allows the body to heal itself.
He wants to educate parents in the area on the basics of the sensory systems and the natural alternatives he provides for conditions such as ADHD. He will offer a seminar on Tuesday, April 3, at Heritage Prairie Farm. Space is limited, so he encourages parents to call (630) 365-9887 to register.
‘Wine, Cheese and ADD’
Neuro Sensory Integration Seminar
Dr. David Foss, D.C.
Tuesday, April 3
Heritage Prairie Farm
2N308 Brundidge Road
(4.5 miles west of Elburn off Route 38)
Local wine, cheese and
hors d’oeuvres will be provided
Call Foss’ office at (630) 365-9887
to register (space limited to first