Sensory Processing Disorder and Neuro-Structural Chiropractic Care

Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. It is becoming a more common diagnosis in children. Sensory processing disorders are commonly associated with children on the Autism Spectrum. In this article, I want to discuss new research regarding the relationship between Parasympathetic Nervous System function and Sensory Processing Disorder.


What does the research say?

Several recent research studies done by OT’s and PT’s have found that Parasympathetic Nervous System activity is an important regulator of reactivity in children. In other words, the studies wanted to measure Parasympathetic Nervous System function in children with Sensory Processing Disorder and compare it to the function in typically developing children.

One study measured Parasympathetic Nervous System activity at rest, with 8 different sensory stimuli, recovery, and a prolonged auditory stimulus. The results from the study showed that children with severe Sensory Processing Disorder demonstrated a low resting Parasympathetic Nervous System activity compared to typically developing children.

The study also concluded that children with Sensory Processing Disorder had significantly poorer adaptive behavior in communication and daily living activities compared to typically developing children. This study clearly shows that Parasympathetic Nervous System activity could be a biomarker for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Here is a link to the research article for those that would like to read it.


How can we measure Parasympathetic Nervous System activity?

In our office we measure the function of the Parasympathetic Nervous System through Heart Rate Variability. Heart Rate Variability measures the variation in time interval between heartbeats. A low Heart Rate Variability indicates increased Sympathetic Nervous System activity or decreased Parasympathetic Nervous System activity.

How can we improve Heart Rate Variability?

Improving Heart Rate Variability will increase Parasympathetic Nervous System activity. This is something that we must do in kids with Sensory Processing Disorders. The following things will improve your HRV:

  • Neuro-Structural Chiropractic Adjustments
  • Clean Eating (removing dairy, gluten, processed foods)
  • Adequate Sleep
  • Regular Exercise
  • Green Tea
  • Deep, Slow Breathing
  • Listening to classical music
  • Fish Oil Supplement


In previous articles, I go into detail how Neuro-Structural Chiropractic Adjustments can improve Heart Rate Variability and improve Parasympathetic Nervous System Activity. You can search through my previous articles to read more about it.

If you are a mother with a child that has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder or know a mother that has a child with SPD, please share this article. This research supports Neuro-Structural Chiropractic care for children with Sensory Processing Disorder. In fact, it may be the missing link to seeing the maximum improvement for your child.

Are you looking for a Neuro-Structural Chiropractor for you or your family in the Sarasota, FL area? Would you like Dr. Morris to review your health history? Would you like to know if you or your child is a candidate for structural chiropractic care? Schedule a FREE Consultation below.

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Dr. Matt Morris
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Dr. Matt Morris

Neuro-Functional Chiropractor at Pinnacle Chiropractic
Dr. Matt Morris is a Neuro-Structural Chiropractor. He has a passion for helping adults and children through Neuro-Structural Chiropractic Care. He has extensive training in dealing with children with Autism, ADD/ADHD, and other Sensory Processing Disorders.
Dr. Matt Morris
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