The Birthing Process and Chiropractic

The birthing process is a very complicated process that puts a lot of stress on both the mother and the baby. Because birth is so complicated, numerous things can go wrong. However, chiropractic is an amazing tool for any expecting mother, that has benefits for both mum and baby. Before, during, and after labor, and helps provide a safe and comfortable birthing process. Here is how chiropractic can help at all stages of the birthing process.

Before Labour

It is important to get checked by a chiropractor from the beginning of your pregnancy, as being under chiropractic care allows your pelvis to comfortably expand and change in order to give space for your baby to grow. If the baby has room to grow comfortably this will allow them to be in the best position possible for when it is time to give birth1. However, some babies can sometimes end up in the wrong position for birthing – known as breech position.

Breech Babies

Most babies in the breech position need some type of intervention, such a a Caesarean section, to help them be born safely. There is a pregnancy specific chiropractic technique, called Webster technique, that focuses on balancing the pelvis, including pelvic muscles and ligaments. This can help take pressure off the uterus, and can result in the baby repositioning itself into the ideal position for birth taking away the need for extra interventions2.

During Labour

Because chiropractic balances the joints of the pelvis and gets the nervous system working at its best, this usually results in faster and easier births. This is due to a few reasons. As mentioned above, chiropractic care allows the baby to be in the best possible position for birth, it also makes sure that the mother’s pelvis is ready for giving birth. Because chiropractic clears interference from the nervous system, this allows the brain to be able to better control the uterus and cervix, allowing the birth process to happen faster and more smoothly3.

Chiropractic care and reducing labour time

Estimates show that women under chiropractic care, have on average a 25-30% shorter labour time than those who are not under chiropractic care4. When the labour can run without complications due to the baby’s position, this decreases the need for extra medical interventions, allowing for a safer and more comfortable birth for both mother and baby. Chiropractic also has an impact on pelvis floor muscles, giving them a better ability to relax when the pelvic floor muscles are at rest. These muscles are very important in giving birth. When these muscles are working properly, it increases the chances of being able to have a safe, natural vaginal birth5.

After Labour

Chiropractic is important for the mother both before and after giving birth. Because it equips her body to be able to bounce back to normal as quickly as possible. If there was for some reason some type of trauma during the birth, chiropractic increases the body’s healing capabilities, allowing the mother to heal as fast and effectively as possible4.

Even a safe, fast birth can still cause a lot of trauma and stress on the newborn baby’s system. It’s important to check after birth so chiropractors can find any areas of stress caused by the birthing process. Then remove them using extremely gentle and safe techniques, specific for very young children. From the moment babies are born, their brain and body start growing and adapting. Chiropractic clears their nervous system from any stress that may have been caused by the birthing process, which allows them to grow and function at their very best.

References:

  1. American Pregnancy Association. (2019, October 31). Chiropractic care during pregnancy: Safety and benefits. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/
  2. Spinning Babies. (2015, February 19). Professional help. https://spinningbabies.com/learn-more/techniques/professional-help/
  3. The WOMB. (n.d.). Chiropractic care. https://www.thewomb.ca/index.php/services/chiropractic-care
  4. Borggren, C. L. (2007). Pregnancy and chiropractic: A narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 6(2), 70-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcme.2007.04.004
  5. Haavik, H., Murphy, B. A., & Kruger, J. (2016). Effect of spinal manipulation on pelvic floor functional changes in pregnant and Nonpregnant women: A preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 39(5), 339-347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.04.004
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The Immune System and Chiropractic

What is the immune system?

 

The immune system is our natural defense against outside pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. It is constantly working to prevent us from getting sick or infected, or to help get us better as efficiently as possible if we do become infected. It can affect how often we get sick, how hard we are hit by sickness, and how long it will take to recover. When it does become infected by something, it keeps a record of this. So that it is better equipped to fight it if it ever returns again. The immune system contains many different parts. Including but not limited to: white blood cells, antibodies, skin bone marrow, spleen, lymphatic system, and the thymus. They all have their own role in preventing and fighting infection.

 

How can the immune system become weakened?

 

Some people are born with conditions that weaken their immune system. It can weaken from acquired diseases (such as HIV/AIDS), or through some types of medical treatment (such as chemotherapy)1. In addition, there are also lifestyle habits that can weaken our immune system such as prolonged stress, under or over-exercising, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet2.

 

How does chiropractic affect the immune system?

 

It is important to look at the lifestyle factors that may be weakening our immune system and modify these where possible. However, there are other ways we can help to strengthen our immune system. One of these ways is through chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is all about removing interference from the nervous system, which is caused by all the different stresses in our lives. When our nerve system is free of interference this allows our brain and our body to communicate more freely and accurately. If our brain and body are communicating well this allows the brain to be better. As a result, it is able to detect what is happening in the body, such as an infection, and to organize the necessary elements needed to fight this.

When the communication between the brain and the body has no interference, the brain can register what is happening faster. As a result, the body can start fighting any sickness or infection as soon as possible in order to minimize damage to the body and reduce the duration of sickness. Moreover, decreased nervous system interference also allows our brain and nervous system to better coordinate all body systems. When the immune and nervous system can coordinate their responses more efficiently this keeps our body more resilient and healthy. As a result, the more coordinated our immune and nervous systems, the more likely to beat sickness and infection fast, and with the least amount of damage to the body3.

 

Cont.

 

A great example of chiropractic helping boost immune function the impact that chiropractors had during the Spanish Flu. The Spanish Flu (1918-1920) was one of the world’s worst pandemics, with somewhere between 20-50 million people dying4. While it was a devastating time in history, something amazing happened when those affected went to see their chiropractor. In a city in Iowa, it was shown that every 1 out of 15 of those infected that went to medical doctors died. However, only 1 out of every 866 patients that went to a chiropractor died. Moreover, there were 233 cases that medical doctors had given up on, and after chiropractic care all but 25 of these cases survived. As a result, this amazing feat led to many licenses in the US5!

 

This all comes down to the fact that chiropractic clears interference from the nervous system. In addition, they allow all systems of the body to function at their best, including the immune system. Chiropractic is extremely beneficial for anyone looking to boost their immune function – it saves lives!

 

References:

 

  1. Better Health Channel. (2017). Immune system. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system.
  2. Everyday Health. (2015, June 17). 9 surprising ways you’re weakening your immune system. EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/9-surprising-ways-youre-weakening-your-immune-system/.
  3. Pure Healthcare. (2017, July 5). Boost your “flu-fighter” with chiropractic care. https://www.purehealthcare.co.nz/boost-your-flu-fighter-with-chiropractic-care/.
  4. (2010, October 12). Spanish Flu. History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic.
  5. Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth. (2020, March 13). 10 important studies on chiropractic and resisting a virus. https://getwellnj.com/immunity/.

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Health… Expectations Vs. Reality

What is health? What is perfect health? Is it possible to achieve perfect health? If so, how long does it take? Are these all expectations that social media has set or is it the reality? These questions are often questions I ponder about as a well-being practitioner. Some people ask me that too, but it’s just such a long answer. I think people should read this instead of me answering it verbally.

Health according to the World Health Organisation, is “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This is completely true; many people think just because they do not have pain they are in good condition. The definition also includes ‘mental and social well-being’. I feel too many people in the world now only focuses on the thing that they can see or feel when exhibiting physical health. The expectation is because someone has rock hard 6 pack or has an amazing body they must be in perfect health. In reality, it does not necessarily reflect their state. The person with an amazing body may have reached peak physical health but that same person may always be conscious about their own body image that it causes mental disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This neglects the aspect of mental health.

 

Cont.

 

So to answer the question is it possible to achieve perfect health; the short answer is yes but there is always a catch to it. In my opinion, being physically perfect is to be in a balanced state of ‘physical, mental, and social well-being’. Some may be already in that realm if you are I congratulate you. However, if you are there already, are you taking it for granted, or are you actively trying to improve or maintain it? This is where the wellness model comes in. To achieve even a higher state of health is to actively pursue maintenance. We can accomplish this through regular chiropractic care, a continuation of healthy habits (mentally, physically, and socially) and self-reflection. Unlike the allopathic model of health where we seek help or therapy after if a breakdown occurs. The reality of perfect health is for us to maintain the standard, this way, we can enhance our own body’s ability.

If you are not in ‘perfect health’ how long will it take you? You might expect it overnight just by suddenly going to the gym, quit smoking, or stop drinking excessively? Unfortunately, it does not work like that, otherwise, everyone would have perfect health in no time and there would not be a profession in health. The famous saying: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, is particularly applicable in scenarios like these. The reality is that good things take time, our body takes time to change. Research has shown that even working out consistently at the gym, results will not be seen until 3 -6 months later. Additionally, a healthy diet is just as important as working out! You must include all aspects to actually see results! Health is the same, consistent social, physical, and mental habits are the right way to go to develop perfect health. Be patient, trust in the process and everything will fall in its place.

 

Concl.

 

The expectation these days for health is focused on physical appearance. However, having a visually pleasing body doesn’t equate to being on top of things. Being healthy is achieving a balance between social, mental, and physical health. In this modern society, we are expected to do things in a flash and be successful right away. However, in reality, things take time. In the end slow and steady wins the race.

 

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The Next Big Thing In Health

Perspective and Health

 

Once again another Covid-19 is dominating the news again. But did you know this is not the first time a deadly virus, flu, bacteria, or disease that has caused the world so much trouble? In recent history I can already name 5 deadly virus that has caused problems; the 1918 Spanish Flu, 1957 Influenza Pandemic, 2003 Sars, 2009 Swine Flu and 2012 Mers. Seems like in the last 100 years these problems have kept on arising and we have been extremely reactive to each situation. Of course, the medical team is doing a great job in finding constant cures and other ways to help the human body when we are affected by these nasty viruses. But surely, we can’t be so reactive to every situation that arises. Yes, I understand how quickly viruses mutate. So I believe, the next big thing in health will be how we can enhance our current health and be more preventative to prepare ourselves against the next big thing.

 

To prepare ourselves for the next big pandemic, there must be a shift in mindset in society. We must work on our inner wellness. To do that, I believe that education on good health habits should start at an early age. To increase inner health, ingrain a couple of ideas in early childhood so that they can be formed as habits. These ideas are simple; eating healthy, getting a good amount of regular rest, and being active as much as possible are a few simple ideas that can easily be implemented in healthcare education. I believe that after this lockdown, we should all be all looking at ways to improve our inner health. This may sound easier said than done, but hopefully, if everyone starts being more aware of their own health and take environmental issues seriously, to prevent future events like this to stop happening again.

 

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Pregnancy and Chiropractic

What changes does the body go through during pregnancy and how can chiropractic care help?

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing as you are growing a brand new human inside of you. However, while this is happening, it causes a lot of changes in your own body too. Different changes happen throughout different parts of your pregnancy and will differ from mother to mother, as no two pregnancies are the same. While these will be different for everyone, these are some of the changes you can expect as you progress through your pregnancy.

First trimester in pregnancy

It is very common during early pregnancy to feel very fatigued and low on energy, as your body adapts to all the changes it is going through. It’s also common to experience some nausea and vomiting due to the pregnancy hormones, these may also cause some emotional symptoms. You will likely need to urinate more as the baby starts growing and starts pressing on your bladder. Heartburn, constipation, and lightheadedness are all common in the first trimester. You will also start noticing skin, breast, vaginal, and stomach changes.

Second trimester in pregnancy

Most women have a lot more energy in the second trimester than they do in the first trimester, and are less likely to experience nausea and vomiting. Your stomach will continue to grow as your baby does. Your skin will continue to change. You may start experiencing pain in your legs due to the growing baby placing pressure on nerves and blood vessels. You may also start to experience pain in your back, hips, and pelvis. This can be because of the pressure your growing belly is putting on these areas, and because your ligaments start to relax to allow your pelvis to move in order to be ready for childbirth. You may also experience some stomach pain as the muscles and ligaments supporting your uterus stretch.

Third trimester in pregnancy

It’s normal to start to feel fatigued again. You will feel your baby start to move more and are likely experience some swelling throughout your body due to slower blood circulation and fluid retention. Some women experience numbness and tingling in your arm and legs due to increased pressure on the nerves throughout your body. You will likely still experience the same types of pain as you did in the second trimester.

How can chiropractic assist me through my pregnancy journey?

As you can see above your body goes through numerous changes as you go through your pregnancy journey. It is important to give your body as much support as you can throughout this time, and chiropractic is a safe and natural way to assist your body to be as strong and healthy as it can be while you are growing a baby inside of you. There are many different chiropractic techniques that can be utilised for the pregnant body, and all chiropractors are trained in how to provide care specific for a pregnant person. Here are just some of the ways that chiropractic can assist you on your pregnancy journey.

1. Lower back pain

As your stomach grows this changes your posture, your weight bearing, and the way you walk. All of this puts stress on the joints of the lower spine, which can sometimes result in lower back pain. Chiropractic is able to get those joint moving and functioning properly, which decreases the stress on them, and regularly results in less pain.

2. Balance pelvis

The ligaments of the pelvis relax and the pelvis expands as the baby grows. This however can sometimes cause weakness and pain in the hips and pelvis. Chiropractic makes sure all of the joints are moving and functioning well, so as they move and change they are still strong, stable, and balanced. This can decrease pain levels and allows the pelvis to safely expand to allow room for the baby to grow and move into the best position possible.

3. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is usually caused by stretching of the ligaments that are attached to the uterus, as the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby. This tends to cause cramping and discomfort. There are specific chiropractic techniques, such as Webster technique, that help to relax these ligaments to ease pain and cramping as they stretch.

4. Decrease pain killers

Anything that the mother ingests, the baby will also take into their system. Chiropractic has been shown to remove up to 85% of pain symptoms that pregnant people experience, thus reducing the need for painkillers, and decreasing the baby’s exposure to these medications while in the womb.

5. Increase nervous system function

Chiropractic is all about removing interference from the nervous system so that it can work at its best. As the nervous system is the master controller of all body systems, including the reproductive system, chiropractic care allows the body to function at its best while it is going through all the changes of pregnancy. This is why people notice other benefits other than those mentioned above, such as increased energy and less heartburn, and why chiropractic is extremely beneficial in all stages of pregnancy.

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Pregnancy - Chiropractic

 

How To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscle

You may have heard about pelvic floor muscles in the context of pregnancy so you might assume that they’re only of interest to pregnant individuals. Although pregnant women benefit immensely from pelvic floor strengthening they’re a concern for everyone. Why? Because everyone has pelvic floor muscles!

Pelvic floor muscles are layers of muscles that stretch from your tailbone to your pubic bone. When you lose normal control of these muscles it’s known as pelvic floor dysfunction. This can result in incontinence (lack of urination control) and pelvic pain.

Here are a couple of anatomy diagrams for you visualize these hidden muscles:

    1. Female Pelvic Floor Muscles

    2. Male Pelvic Floor Muscles

You may be wondering what the big deal is. These are not like your triceps muscles that you can flash and impress others with… no. They’re more functional than that. The reason you want to get into the habit of strengthening these mystery muscles is because as you age the likelihood that you experience incontinence whether it be from a coughing or exercising increases.

For pregnant women in particular, the risk of getting pelvic pain, which is common during pregnancy, decreases when strengthening your pelvic floor muscles regularly.  It also helps support your body with the increasing weight of the baby.

So how do you work them out? Well we’ve got 2 exercises for you that vary from normal to advanced.

Important note: do NOT hold your breath during these exercises. Breathe nice and slowly.

KEGEL (normal):

  1. Tighten the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream.
  2. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Relax the muscles.
  4. Repeat 15 times.

SUPER KEGEL (advanced):

  1. Stretch your spine to the ceiling.
  2. Squeeze the muscles that you’d use to stop a bowel movement.
  3. Inhale and maintain the squeezing of those muscles.
  4. Exhale and maintain the squeezing.
  5. Squeeze the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream. Your entire pelvic floor should be contracting now. BREATHE.
  6. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  7. Relax the muscles.
  8. Repeat 10 times.

It’s recommended that you perform this 2-3 times a day.

What’s really handy about these exercises is that you can perform these exercises anywhere as it’s all happening internally. So next time you’re bored or stuck in traffic, work your pelvic floor muscles and future you will thank you!

 

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Exercises for Pregnancy

Giving birth takes an incredible amount of physical effort… so be prepared! We’re going to share some exercises for all you mothers to be that won’t only help with your pregnancy, but also give you more energy, better sleep, less back pain and overall a much more pleasant pregnancy experience.

It’s best to consult with your GP or Structural Chiropractor about whether these exercises would be appropriate for your individual situation. Please discontinue any exercise if you begin to have any unusual vaginal discharge, dizziness or chest/abdominal pain.

It’s a good idea to build up slowly if you were not regularly exercising before your pregnancy. Listen to your body and ensure that you’re fuelling your body with more nutrients, water and plenty of rest.

High intensity exercise is NOT recommended, as it is associated with distressing the foetus. Aim for 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity or 45 minutes of low intensity exercise at a time. Walking, aqua aerobics, Pilates and yoga are all wonderful exercise options to take up when pregnant.

Here are 3 basic exercises for you to try at home:

  1. Cat-Camel
    • On all fours, arch your back up to the ceiling then relax to a flat back position.
    • Breathe through the movement.
      Image result for cat/camel pregnancy
  2. Glute Bridge
    • On your back with your knees bent, lift your buttock off the floor as high as your comfortably can
    • Hold for 5 seconds then gently lower it down
      Image result for glute bridge pregnancy
  3. Bird-Dog
    • On all fours slowly lift and straighten one leg.
    • Lower it slowly.
    • Then raise the other leg.
    • Repeat 10 times. If you’re feeling strong, raise the opposite arm at the same time.Image result for bird dog pregnancy

Give these a try and prosper from an amazing pregnancy! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us. Information can be found on our website: https://revolutionchiro.co.nz

 

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Low Back Pain and Pregnancy

Just when you think being pregnant is enough to deal with, nature has to throw in the curve-ball of a higher risk of low back pain. Not only that, but statistically, it’s said to start early on in pregnancy and increase over time. This can put a lot of stress not only on the mother, but everyone around her as well. So what causes it? How does it affect your baby’s development? And what can you do about it?

 

Cause

 

Low back pain on it’s own is a complicated condition. Muscles, ligaments, discs, and tendons are all potential culprits, but sometimes even your brain itself perceives dysfunctional patterns and sends pain signals as a response.

As the baby grows, the lower back will gradually start to increase its curve as the pelvis tilts. The shoulders move back to compensate for the shift in the centre of gravity. Finally, the head takes on a more forward position, a condition called Anterior Head Syndrome. All this happens as the body releases a special hormone to relax the ligaments in the pelvic area to allow for easier birth and movement of the structures as the uterus enlarges.

All of these shifts and changes increase stress and strain on the low back, so it’s no surprise that low back pain is expected during pregnancy.

 

Baby Development

 

The low back pain itself is not the concern when it comes to the baby’s development. However, it does throw a wrench in the works when you’re trying to maintain an optimal, healthy environment for your baby. It can make it hard to stay on track with movement and exercise, get high quality sleep, prepare healthy meals (to avoid eating out and consuming processed, innutritious food), and manage stress levels.

 

Solutions

 

  1. Walking: 30 minutes a day should do, just to get some motion in the pelvis and avoid uninterrupted sitting.
  2. Foam Rolling: working on the fascia and muscles will help your soft tissue adapt to all the structural changes that your body is going under.
  3. Strength Training: developing strength, especially within your core stabilizing muscles, can help immensely with low back pain and overall health.
  4. Structural Chiropractic: a structural chiropractor can act as valuable asset in the health care team of any pregnant woman. They can keep the body functioning optimally as well as address conditions such as Anterior Head Syndrome and low back pain. We usually find pregnant women to have the speediest recovery at our office.

If you’ve got a baby on the way, try these out and benefit from a better and more comfortable pregnancy. If you have any questions about pregnancy, low back pain or other health concerns, feel free to bring them up with your Structural Chiropractor.

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A pregnant woman holds her hands behind her back. Concept … | Flickr