Prenatal Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a wonderful, exciting time! There are so many changes that happen – physically, emotionally, and hormonally.  It can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride. One of the best things we can do as expecting moms is to take care of our ever-changing bodies and spine structure with chiropractic techniques so that we can enjoy our pregnancy.  Paying attention to your spine during pregnancy will also set us up for a quick labor, delivery, and recovery. Prenatal chiropractic care is safe, gentle, and effective for you and baby.

It aims to restore proper movement, function, and alignment to the spine and pelvis.

Here are some of the common reasons you should seek out chiropractic care if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or a new mom.

  1. Weight Gain

A necessary, and often dreaded, part of pregnancy is the weight gain that accompanies it.

The increased weight gain will be everywhere, but obviously concentrated in the abdomen.

This increases pressure on the abdomen and on the joints and discs of the spine overall.

The tendency here is to pull the low back forward.

Prenatal chiropractic care relieves the extra tension in the joints and discs allowing you to better adapt and get used to your growing belly bump.

  1. Increased Curves In The Low Back

As mentioned above, the extra weight through the abdomen will pull the low back forward, and cause more grinding and compression through the joints of the low back.

This often will cause the classic low back pain experienced by pregnant mothers.

Interestingly, the rest of the spine will change its shape due to the increased curve in the low back.

The mid-back for example will increase its curve, and the neck will straighten out. This can lead to mid back pain, and neck discomfort as well.

  1. Changes in Walking Patterns and Pelvic Movements, how prenatal can help

We all have heard and seen the classic pregnant “waddle”.

This tends to be most noticeable in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, as baby descends into the pelvic inlet (sometimes called “engagement”)  but the spinal and mechanical changes start as the baby occupies more and more space in the uterus, around the 2nd trimester.

As baby grows, it will limit the ability of the sacrum, to freely rock back and forth.

What we typically see is the mom will gradually (and most noticeably) increase her base of stance (or distance between the feet) as she walks to compensate for this lack of rocking motion in the pelvis.

This is something we can identify quite easily and, through prenatal adjustments, gently encourage the normal motion of the sacrum.

  1. Round Ligament Pain

This is what tends to bring a lot of pregnant woman into our office.

In and around the second trimester, a ligament that attaches the uterus to the abdominal wall (the round ligament) tends to get spastic, and with that, getting in and out bed, turning in bed, and twisting can cause a sharp stinging pain along the side of the belly.

We train our chiropractors to relieve this spasticity and allow for proper tension and balance to return between the two ligaments.

One of the problems that can arise if this is not corrected is a difference in tension between the round ligaments on either side of the uterus.

This is one of the many ways intrauterine constraint develops which can reduce the space for baby to grow.

Keeping balance between these 2 ligaments is good for mom (pain relief!) and good for baby (more room in the womb)

  1. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction / Pubic Bone Pain

Towards the end of pregnancy, as your body begins to prepare for labor, the pubic bone will start to separate (to allow the passage of the baby through the pelvic inlet).

However, if you have not been under prenatal chiropractic care, and there is abnormal pelvic mechanics, what can happen is the pubic bone will separate unevenly.

This often causes excruciating pain getting in and out of bed, cars, chairs, and walking.

It also can potentially interfere with the baby passing through the area.

Complications that can arise include baby’s shoulder getting stuck (called shoulder dystocia), which can slow down labour, and lead to unwanted interventions.

Allowing the pubic bone to separate evenly, and having it monitored in the third trimester is one of the easiest ways to avoid the pain and discomfort while pregnant, and reduce dystocia during labour..

  1. Decreased Labour And Delivery Time

Getting adjusted, keeping the spine and sacrum aligned, flexible and moving ahead of labour is a great idea.

Research has shown that moms under chiropractic have decreased labour times, and decreased interventions required during delivery. [The effects of chiropractic treatment on pregnancy and labor: a comprehensive study. Fallon J. Proceedings of the world chiropractic congress. 1991; 24-31]

Most moms for this reason alone will choose chiropractic care.

Giving birth is like a marathon!

Prenatal chiropractic care is the training and fine tuning before the big event.

  1. Postpartum Recovery from pregnancy 

As you heal after delivery, this is a wonderful time to work on your spinal alignment.

With continued elevated circulating levels of relaxin following pregnancy, you are more “malleable”. We can also work on your alignment as you come back together.

Working on core strength, pelvic floor strength, and of course the new mechanical challenges of breastfeeding while you are healing will help your transition to motherhood as pain free and seamless as possible.

Want To Get Started On Having A Pain-Free, Enjoyable Pregnancy And Labour?

Chiropractor Auckland

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8 Benefits of Exercising

We all have an extremely busy lifestyle and quite a few of us may not have the time to exercise. Additionally, summer is coming up and most of us would want to get ready for the beach body. But as a health practitioner, it is my duty to emphasise the importance of exercise, how it changes the body and how much of an impact it has other than just looking good.

Here is a list of some reasons why we know exercising consistently is important:

  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Increases bone and muscle strength.
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Decreases the risk of type 2 Diabetes.
  • Increases endorphins which makes us feel good.
  • Decreases the risk of dementia.
  • Improves posture.

We have special little things in our body’s mitochondria. These mitochondria act as the power generator. They generate energy in our body, also known as ATP, from oxygen, fats, sugar and protein.  These ATP are what fuels the body to do what it needs to do, anything from muscle contractions and conducting nerve impulses is generated by ATP. Exercise promotes a process called mitophagy. Mitophagy is the removal of damaged or defected mitochondria after a period of stress. This promotes new and healthy mitochondria to take over providing a more efficient system to burn fat and sugar. As a result, this leads to bigger and stronger muscles.

I’m not asking you to be an athlete and exercise over 2 hours a day. but, as a recommendation, doing 30 minutes of exercise every day is enough. We may already be exercising every day without knowing it such as mowing the lawns and walking to work. If you are not regularly exercising, I’m going to ask you to go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes after dinner around the neighbourhood!

There are plenty of different types of exercises but the main two are cardio and weight training. In the next two weeks, I’ll be covering the benefits of each. Just remember we should all go for a 30 minute walk after dinner this week!

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File:Man Doing Warm Up Exercise Cartoon.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Stress Management – 3 Ways

Mindfulness and stress are on the tips of everyone’s tongue nowadays. Large corporations are investing millions on mindfulness rooms and practices for their employees to reap the benefits and increase productivity. Meditation and stress-reduction taught in school curriculums now, because they also know the effectiveness.

It seems the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting to our heads. It’s not natural for our circuitry to be firing constantly for so long. So how can we help support this new way of life, or at least reduce the amount of stress that affects us?

Here are our 3 top tips:

  1. Exercise/Yoga: Studies have shown that regular exercise or yoga can decrease stress, pain, and even your risk of injury. Aiming to do either one of these 3-5 times a week is ideal and does wonders to support your mind by increasing blood flow to the brain and having your focus set on something other than a screen for at least half an hour.
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing): this kind of breathing calms down the nervous system and reduces the noise that goes on by getting you to focus on your breathing. Studies have demonstrated breathing exercises can reduce fatigue and anxiety. To actually benefit from the practice, it must be performed 3-5 times a day for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meditation: once thought of as a hippie ritual, mindfulness meditation is now common practice used to help people reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches and depression. It’s widely accessible as there are many online guides as well as apps that can help guide you through a session and all you need is yourself and a peaceful environment.

Stress is just a part of life and how you choose to manage it is up to you. Keep these tips in mind to take care of your mental health and keep your mind sharp. If you have any questions or would like more tips on stress management, please consult with a health professional.

Chiropractor Auckland

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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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5-Minute Stretch – Total Body Cool Down

We’ve been over a general warm up routine you can do before your training sessions in our blog a couple of weeks ago, so today we’ll be going over a quick and effective cool down routine that will help with muscle recovery and promote blood flow. This routine is essentially made up of stretches so don’t push your stretch too far passed the point of comfort. Also, avoid bounce into your stretches as it may lead to a pulled muscle and it doesn’t help in any way.

As always, make this your own by adding in anything you may know and taking out anything you’re not comfortable with or not feeling.

When performing this routine just focus on your breathing by taking full breaths and slowing it down.

Here we go:

Overhead Tricep Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and raise your elbow while reaching for your upper back with the same hand
  • Use your other hand to pull gently
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for overhead tricep stretch

Wrist Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and reach out in front of you with one arm (palm facing down)
  • Point your fingers towards the floor by bending your wrist and use your opposite hand to pull gently
  • Then point your fingers up towards the ceiling and use your opposite hand to pull genlty
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for wrist stretch

Cross Leg Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Stand with one leg crossed over the other
  • Flex your torso forward and reach for the foot of the straight leg
  • Cross the other leg and repeat

Image result for crossleg stretch

Glute Stretch (30 secs/side)

  • Kneel and place your shin flat in front of you
  • Sink your hips and relax into the stretch
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for pigeon stretch

Cobra (30 secs)

  • Lie face down and raise your torso up with your arms
  • Keep your thighs on the floor, core engaged and look up

Image result for cobra stretch

Prayer Stretch (30 secs)

  • Start by kneeling and sit back on your heels
  • Lower your torso toward the floor

Image result for prayer stretch

And it’s as easy as that! Don’t forget to breathe into every stretch and hydrate well after your training sessions to maximize recovery.

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Consistency Is Key – Movement

Perhaps you have been to a Chiropractor before for one or two visits but you didn’t really feel like it did anything.

And you are probably right.

The thing is, Chiropractic isn’t exactly supposed to “do anything” in one or two visits.

I can hear you thinking “but I thought chiropractors fix people…”

Think of it this way, what do you do when you go to the gym or exercise? You move your body, sometimes in strange ways. And what does that movement do? It stimulates the muscle to strengthen and build endurance.

But you don’t get much change from one or two sessions. Or even from one or two weeks or months. Building strength takes a consistent and calculated approach.

Unlike pain medication and other pharmaceutical drugs, the goal of the work we do as chiropractors is not to take away your pain. The goal is to find the areas of your spine that aren’t moving optimally (called a subluxation) and then to help those areas move better with adjustments, which will in turn strengthen your weaknesses and reduce the spasms. This equilibrium will keep your body maintained well and healthy and without wear and tear.

In reality the only thing powerful enough to heal you is the remarkable power built into your body. Healing takes time, which is an important point that can be hard to deal with when you are recovering from an injury or a health problem, especially a chronic one.

Our focus is to correct structural shifts in your spine by improving movement quality

(adjusting subluxations) so that your body can regain it’s strength and become more resilient. This is why we design care plans that span a few months to allow deeper change to movement and strength to occur because unfortunately there are no shortcuts!

Chiropractor Auckland

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5-Minute Total Body Warm Up

Warm up Wisely

It can be really tempting to skip your warm up and get right into an intense strength training session to maximize the time in your day. Not only will this decrease your performance in the session, it will also increase the likelihood of injury, which is never fun.

Today we’re going to take you through a catch-all warm that will ensure that all your joints are ready for motion and your blood is pumping. Feel free to mix and match these with other warm up routines to tailor it to your specific training needs.

Be sure to move within a comfortable range of motion and don’t push yourself too far too quickly. Keep breathing throughout and make sure you’re keeping proper form with control and you’re not flailing your limbs out uncontrollably or your may injure yourself.

We’ve combined movements in some of these to maximize the variety of movement your get in shorter time. We’ve presented the movements to time, but feel free to do them to a specific amount of reps or whatever gets your muscles warm and your heart pumping.

Here it is:

Jumping Jacks (1 min)

  • Start by standing with feet together and arms at your sides.
  • Jump while spreading your legs to shoulder width apart and raising your arms over head.
  • Jump back to starting position and repeat.

Related image

Squat & Twist (30 secs)

  • Squat down and use your left arm to hold your left foot while keeping your elbow on the inside of your leg.
  • Twist your torso and other arm towards the ceiling.
  • Twist back to the starting position and squat up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Image result for squat and twist

Side Lunge with Frontal Raise (30 secs)

  • Spread your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down with your left leg while raising both arms out in front of you.
  • Stand up to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Image result for side lunge with frontal raise

Forward Leg Swings (30 secs each side)

  • Hold on to something to the side and start with both feet under your hips
  • Swing the outside leg forward and backward while gradually increasing the range and height of your swing
  • Repeat on the other side

Related image

More exercises

Lateral Leg Swings (30 secs each side)

  • Hold on to something in front of you and start with both feet under your hips
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and swing your left across your body and out to the side (left)
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for leg swing

Skipping Shoulder Circles (30 secs forward/30 secs backward)

  • Skip forward or in place and make circles with your arms going forward
  • Repeat with your arms going backwards

Related image

Walk Out with Shoulder Taps  (30 secs)

  • Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, touch your toes and walk your hands out to a plank position
  • Tap your right shoulder with your left hand while keeping your core braced and torso stationary
  • Walk your hands back to your feet, stand up and repeat

Image result for plank shoulder taps

***Give this routine a try and feel free to mix and match with movements to make it your own!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Should I Warm Up Before & Cool Down After Exercising?

Throughout any intense exercise session, the body is handling stress and has a risk of injury. This can be minimised by warming up and cooling down before and after your workout.

Before getting into your sport or strength training session, you want to get a warm up. This is going to prepare your body for exercise and increase your heart rate and breathing. Ideally, your warm up routine will consist of two-parts: a general warm up and specific warm up.

The general warm up

consists of jogging, biking, rowing or any other cardio exercise followed by dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is not your typical “touch your toes” stretching. It consists of movements that take your joints through their ranges of motion to warm up and stretch the muscles. For example, you can perform leg swings, shoulder circles and bodyweight lunges. The bodyweight lunges serve as a nice stretch for your hip flexors while also adding a little resistance exercise for your quads and glutes to warm them up.

The specific warm up

consists of specific exercises that closely resemble movements that you’ll be performing in your actual sport or training. For example, jumping exercises before getting onto the basketball court or some lightly weighted squats before your leg session in the gym.

The warm up is essential for your performance as it increases blood flow and oxygen to muscles, increases neural impulses to wake up your muscles and, most importantly, decreases the stiffness of connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) to avoid any muscle tears. Studies have shown that a structured warm-up can reduce your chance of injury by more than 50% and that’s on top of helping you perform better!

The cool down

is also important as it helps flush out any lactate (waste), prevent dizziness from blood pooling. It also decreases muscle soreness after your session. It consists of gradually decreasing your heart rate and stretching out your muscles. This also has two parts: general cool down and static stretching/foam rolling.

The general cool down

is similar to the general warm up since you can use jogging, biking or any activity at a progressively decreased intensity. Your aim should not be to sweat and go fast at this point, you just want to go through the motions and let your body slow down to a relaxing stop.

Following your general cool down you can get into some static stretching, which is the basic stretching where you hold stretches for around 15-30 seconds. You can also choose to use foam rollers or massage balls after your exercise to restore length in the connective tissues. The stretching and foam rolling helps reduce muscle soreness, increase muscle flexibility and stimulate circulation to flush out the lactate.

Be sure to hydrate well and eat a healthy meal after your workout to keep your body fuelled and recovering well!

Stay tuned next week for when we’ll take you through our ideal general warm-up and cool-down routine to cover all your bases!

Chiropractor Auckland

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File:Man Doing Warm Up Exercise Cartoon.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

Digital Minimalism

.The Internet has brought many benefits to my life as I’m sure it has yours, however, if you are like most of this generation you probably find yourself spending (wasting) a lot of time digitally. How often do you reflexively check your phone for a message or to see how many reactions your last post is getting?

Excessive use of digital devices can cause poor posture, which puts strain on the nervous system and can lead spinal issues. Constantly being plugged into social media, email and receiving messages can create a sense of anxiety and impact your mental wellbeing. Constantly switching tasks from productive work to social media and emails is a huge waste of efficiency in your day too.

If you want to take more control of the time you spend on the Internet and your phone then put some of these boundaries into play. Depending on your job you may have to modify these to suit you:

Do not check social media or email until noon

 

You may select a different time that suits your life. But putting off checking emails and messages at the start of the day can allow you to have a more productive morning. The main goal here is to get away from your phone being the first thing you look at each morning.

Do not check email, social media or messages while in bed

 

This one is key when it comes to improving your sleep quality. It is important  to create boundaries around not only when but where you use your digital devices, especially the bed. You want your brain to wind down ready for a restful night not to be on alert thinking about what is happening on your social media, email inbox or the world news.

Put your phone at the other end of the room, not right by your bed so you create a physical and mental boundary.

If you do keep your phone by you at night then switch it airplane mode. This will prevent an alert waking you at night with the light or sound and also helps create a mental boundary that you are done with being connected to the world for the day.

Don’t use your phone while eating

 

Instead of being online or checking messages take time to unplug and focus on your meal.

Make a no phone rule when you are at the dinner table so you can connect with family and friends and interact on a real social level and not social media!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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How To Flight Proof Your Body

Going on a long flight? Bus ride? Car ride? You may have experienced the unpleasant experience of being crammed in a seat for hours. You get agitated, your muscles begin to ache, and there’s nowhere to hide from the pain.

We came up with these tips to reduce the physical stress on your body that comes with travel. This applies to all situations where you find yourself stuck sitting in one place for hours.

  1. Pump your ankles.

    • Sitting for long periods means that the muscles that are used to pump blood and fluid up your legs aren’t active. This leads to swelling and blood pooling over time. While the swelling isn’t dangerous, blood clots can form a deep vein thrombosis, which can be a dangerous and life threatening condition. So be sure to keep your ankles moving!
    • Fully extend your legs out in front of you (if you have the leg room, if not, extend out as much as you can) and move your ankles side to side as well as up and down. This can help with ankle stiffness, swelling and pain.
  2. Keep hydrated.

    • Especially if you’re in an airplane, the cabins have very low humidity and can lead to accelerated dehydration.
    • Drink plenty of water the day before your flight as well as during your flight.
    • Avoid drinks that tend to dehydrate, such as caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, before and during your flight.
  3. Move as much as you can!

    • It’s a bad idea to be sitting for long periods of time in any context. On top of that, you’ll end up in uncomfortable sleeping positions if you decide to doze off.
    • This can lead to pain and dysfunction in your hips, back, shoulder and neck, so it’s a good idea to address this by getting up and walking around every 30 minutes if you can.
  4. Stuck sitting? Try some Pandiculation.

  • Pandiculation is basically stationary stretching. You’ve already done it naturally upon waking up when yawning and stretching your body.
  • It can be done to every part of your body.
    • Reach your hands upward to the sky.
    • Extend and stretch your legs.
    • Move your neck in every motion. Look side to side, up and down. Bring your ears towards your shoulders side to side.
    • Expand your chest while bringing your shoulders back.
    • Move your body in all directions where you feel restrictions.
  • Do these movements slowly and feel where your tension lies and focus on stretching out those areas. Just be careful not to bump your neighbour.

Movement is medicine, so just remember to do what you can with what you’re given. Happy and healthy travels!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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