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PANS and PANDAS: Can a Chiropractor Help?

Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) are challenging conditions that impact the lives of children and their families. These disorders manifest rapidly, often following an infection, leading to a sudden onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Because PANS and PANDAS are not well understood and are sometimes not even treated as legitimate by some medical practitioners, many families turn to a Charlotte chiropractor for care to help manage the symptoms.

An Introduction PANS and PANDAS

PANS and PANDAS are characterized by an abrupt onset of obsessive-compulsive behaviors, tics, and a variety of other neurological changes. PANDAS specifically follows a streptococcal (strep throat) infection, whereas PANS can occur after other infections and even without a clear infectious trigger.

Critics argue that the symptoms of PANDAS and PANS can overlap with other neuropsychiatric disorders, making it difficult to establish clear diagnostic criteria and raising concerns about the specificity of treatments based on these diagnoses. However, they are both legitimate diagnoses that require care and attention.

Symptoms can be severe and often include anxiety, emotional lability, behavioral regression, and motor abnormalities. The underlying mechanism is thought to involve an autoimmune response where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the brain, leading to inflammation and a variety of troubling symptoms.

Treatment typically involves managing the symptoms and addressing the underlying infection, if still present. However, due to the complexity of these disorders, parents often seek complementary therapies to support their child’s health, like chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Care for PANS and PANDAS

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, holistic approach that may offer supportive benefits for children with PANS and PANDAS. While chiropractic treatment does not cure these conditions, it can help manage some of the associated symptoms and improve overall wellness. The primary goal of chiropractic care in these cases is to enhance neurological function and support the body’s natural healing processes.

Chiropractors like Dr. Grant Lisetor focus on correcting spinal misalignments, or subluxations, that can interfere with the nervous system’s function. Proper spinal alignment can help ensure that the nervous system communicates effectively throughout the body, which is crucial for overall health. For children with PANS and PANDAS, chiropractic adjustments may help reduce physical stress on the body and thus lessen the intensity of symptoms such as anxiety, emotional instability, and behavioral changes.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Care

Managing PANS and PANDAS often requires a multidisciplinary approach. In addition to medical treatment, chiropractic care can be a valuable component of a comprehensive care plan that addresses all elements of these conditions.

If your child is struggling with symptoms of PANS or PANDAS, consider talking with Dr. Grant Lisetor about how chiropractic care can support their path to recovery. At Greater Life Chiropractic, we are dedicated to providing holistic, person-centered care that supports the health and well-being of our young practice members.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your child experience greater health and a better quality of life.

Sources

Baj, A., Sitarz, E., Forma, A., Wróblewska, K., Karakuła-Juchnowicz, H. “Alterations in the Nervous System and Gut Microbiota after β-Hemolytic Streptococcus Group A Infection-Characteristics and Diagnostic Criteria of PANDAS Recognition.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2020 Feb 21; 21 (4): 1476. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32098238/

Wilbur, C., Bitnun, A., Kronenberg, S., Laxer, R.M., Levy, D.M., Logan, W.J., Shouldice, M., Yeh, E.A.  “PANDAS/PANS in childhood: Controversies and evidence.” Paediatrics & Child Health, 2019 May; 24 (2): 85-91  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30996598/