The first thing people do when I tell them I’m a Doctor of Chiropractic is point out an area of concern and ask me for my advice. This is typically followed up with a story about someone they know and something they have heard about chiropractic care. It never ceases to amaze me how misunderstood chiropractic is. I don’t mind the questions and stories. Over the years it has been somewhat humorous to hear all the things people think about the profession I have devoted my life to.
When I include in the conversation how I adjust children and pregnant women, I’m usually met with silence or a feeling of uncertainty. On the other hand, there are the pleasant times I’m met with the enthusiastic response of “I’ve used chiropractic care” or “My daughter’s ear infection was gone after an adjustment!” or “I can’t live through a pregnancy without my chiropractor.” Oddly enough, it seems to be that the pendulum swings either one way or the other when it comes to chiropractic care for pregnancy and children. I have asked myself why this is. I have to assume it’s a lack of knowledge, because if people knew what I know about the benefits of chiropractic care, they would not hesitate to include this type of care in their healthcare toolbox (ideally by calling our office of course – lol).
So with your permission, let me tell you the truth about Chiropractic Care, as well as 5 Hidden Benefits. After reading this article, you can make an educated decision if chiropractic care is right for you and your family by basing your decision on knowledge instead of fear or concern. If you’re not currently pregnant, educate yourself anyway. You could potentially help someone else someday.
Let’s start with the basics. Your body is controlled by….. (guess)
Your brain! Everything in your body is controlled by your brain. Your brain connects to your body through nerves.
Your spine is made up of 24 moveable bones (called vertebrae), plus the sacrum (ending in the tailbone), and the pelvis and skull. From the brain, information travels down the spinal cord and then branches into nerve roots which exit through these bones or vertebrae. When the bones are misaligned or not moving like they are designed to, the nerve information can get slowed or even sped up at times. These misalignments are called “subluxations”. If the information sent from your brain is telling your body to slow down or even speed up the vital muscles, tissues and organs of your body because of misalignment, what is going to happen? Will you be healthier or sicker? Stronger or weaker? Will you have better health potential or less? Will you be richer or poorer? (I threw the last one in there just to make sure you’re still paying attention, but you get the picture right?)
Here’s the million dollar question – How do you know if your spine is misaligned and the messages being sent are not creating health?
You don’t unless you’re getting checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.
So let’s think about this one for a second. Why wouldn’t you know simply by how you are feeling? The same question could be asked why one wouldn’t know they have heart disease, cancer or even tooth decay right. Your body isn’t designed to be sick. Your body is designed to be healthy. Let me say that again. Your body isn’t designed to be sick, your body is designed to be healthy. This means that your body has to be really sick in order for you to “feel the effects of your sickness”. If there is an accident or injury then that is an exception to this, however, as far as overall health goes, it would be pretty nice if we knew the minute a cancer cell got out of control or our arteries began to plaque. It would be nice to know when the slightest bit of tooth decay was present, but the pain typically comes when the problem has been around for a while. If your body was spending time trying to figure out what’s wrong inside, it would lose precious time correcting the body so it could function the way it’s supposed to.
These are just the facts. You can’t possibly know how health you are, unless a chiropractor is checking you. I have many doctors that help to keep my family and me healthy. My primary care physician is a chiropractor, but I have an eye doctor, a dentist, a functional medicine doctor, a midwife, and yes, even a medical doctor. It is important to have lots of tools in our toolbox, but leaving out chiropractic care leaves out the ability to see what is going on inside the body before your only option is to treat the symptoms.
How does pregnancy fit into all this? As you gain weight in the abdomen (and anywhere really), this causes a downward and, forward pull on your spine. The weight then combines with the change in gait and center of gravity, setting you up for back and neck pain. In addition, you secrete a beautiful hormone called, “relaxin”. This hormone loosens your ligaments so your baby can exit easier, but it also exaggerates the effects of the extra weight and any existing spinal problems. What happens to your breasts when you’re pregnant, well, let’s not even go there. For some of us the breast changes were an added pregnancy “perk” (literally and figuratively), but for others, not so much.
Can you see how all this combined can affect your spine, pelvis and most importantly your body’s control system (your nervous system)?
So here are the 5 benefits of Chiropractic Care.
- Studies show that women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and a 39% reduction in subsequent pregnancies!
- My twin labor and delivery time was 5 ½ hours until Baby A and 34 minutes later Baby B were born.
- Another amazing study showed the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients receiving chiropractic care.
- 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care. (Why suffer with pain when you can find a Chiropractor trained in pregnancy care?)
- Chiropractic care has helped new mothers become more comfortable breastfeeding (due to their posture being better), as well, as to produce more milk.
- Chiropractic care has been shown to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression. (please take omega 3’s as well)
My best advice is to make Chiropractic Care a part of your prenatal care. Find a clinic that makes you feel at home and treats a lot of pregnant women. One thing that we absolutely know for certain is that the team of doctors you choose and how you prepare for this beautiful time in your life will affect your birth and post-partum experience. My desire is that this will be a time you will cherish and remember fondly forever.
Dr. Heather Yost DACCP, CFMP