Have you ever gone to the chiropractor for overall health issues? Did you even know that chiropractic care can help with more than just “back cracking”? Interestingly enough, making sure that your body is aligned correctly can help your reproductive organs function properly. Let’s talk about chiropractic care and fertility benefits.
I’ve seen a chiropractor for a while now and not only enjoy feeling better, as in adjustment wise, but also in my overall health. My chiropractor also offers something called Nutrition Response Testing and through that I was able to get a handle on adrenal fatigue last spring.
Join me as I talk with Dr. Amy Bale of Wilcox Family Chiropractic, or scroll below and read the summary.
Today we have Dr. Amy Bale, a doctor of chiropractic at Wilcox Family Chiropractic, to talk about how chiropractic care can be used during pre-conception and also to deal with fertility.
Chiropractic care and fertility
Please explain the basics of chiropractic care, what you do, and how it helps the body.
Most people when they think of chiropractic think of going in when their lower back hurts or neck hurts or they have headaches. Chiropractic is a great tool for naturally relieving those symptoms.
Beyond that, it is a great tool for improving overall health. If we go back to some basic anatomy, the central nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord. Those two things control every single thing in your body. Without those two things, nothing works.
Those two things are encased by your skull and your spine. So that being said, it would make sense that if your spine is not functioning properly, what’s inside of it won’t be functioning properly either.
We look for what’s called a subluxation, which is when there are misalignments, abnormal motion, or joints or bones kind of get stuck in the wrong spot. So those are the areas that we are looking for.
When that happens, that causes muscle spasms, inflammation, and it starts to put pressure on the nerves. Because nerves come out in between each one of those bones. Those nerves go to everything.
The nerves in your neck go to your face, head, down your arms, and into your chest and so on and so forth as we move down the spine. For example, the nerves in your mid-back are going to affect your lungs and heart. Lower mid-back is getting into digestion. Lower back is getting into urinary tract, more digestive stuff, your reproductive organs, and also the nerves that go down to your legs.
That’s an overview of what we deal with.
If someone is thinking about starting a family, are there certain things you begin to do with them to help with the conception and then throughout pregnancy?
Definitely. All those nerves that are in the lower back go to every organ and organ system that is in front of it, so everything in your abdomen. So I would make sure all of those nerves are functioning as well as they can so that:
- The organs that are affected can function up to their fullest.
- Structurally everything is sound so once you do become pregnant, there is less chance for the baby to be breech or for you to have low back pain.
We don’t necessarily do anything totally different before you’re pregnant. Just the basic adjustments to keep your body functioning as well as it can.
When you have a subluxation and there starts to be pressure on the nerve, it’s kind of like stepping on a hose. You still have information coming out but not as good as it should. That’s why sometimes things may seem ok, like maybe you don’t have back pain at the time, but other things are being affected that we can physically feel because they aren’t getting the strong nerve innervation that they should be.
What do you do for someone who has a specific reproductive issue, like PCOS or endometriosis?
We definitely do a more thorough evaluation of the lower back, because that’s where all those nerves are coming from. That usually entails when a patient first come in, barring they aren’t pregnant at the time, taking x-rays to see if something is structurally going on. That can show us why things aren’t functioning like they should be.
Then we’ll do adjustments to get everything working as well as it can so your body has its best chance to do what it knows how to do.
We also like to get people going in the right directing on diet. We have supplements that can sometimes help people.
For a couple that has been dealing with infertility, what other type of testing do you do, other than the basic structural support?
We test for deficiencies with supplements. We do some muscle testing getting into kinesiology type aspects to test for general areas of weakness. By doing that we can say, this seems to be ovary-related or this seems to be more hormone-related. Maybe it’s the thyroid.
That is not a definitive test, but with chiropractic, there are no negative side-effects. It’s not invasive. The only thing it can do is make you healthier and feel better.
It sounds like it’s more holistic, like it takes the whole body into consideration instead of just the one specific problem.
Absolutely. As you know with all of the food-based stuff, you’re nourishing your whole body. Everything is working better and working to its true potential. That’s kind of where we come from on the chiropractic standpoint.
When people come in with just headaches, we still evaluate their whole spine because we know how important it is to have all of that functioning properly, outside of just relieving pain.
When your patients get pregnant, do you recommend they continue to get chiropractic care throughout pregnancy?
Absolutely. The number one thing, at that point, is comfort for the mom. Throughout both of my pregnancies I had one day of low back pain. I don’t know how many woman who have been pregnant can say that.
Beyond that, we still want to make sure everything is functioning properly so you sustain a successful pregnancy. There are studies that show women under chiropractic care have easier and shorter labors.
When it comes down to structural things, like breech babies, that’s usually because something is twisted down there and the baby doesn’t have room to turn. By keeping everything in alignment and loose, the baby has enough room in there to get into the proper position.
If someone were to look for a chiropractor, are there doctors that do things differently, are there different types of chiropractic care, and where should people be looking for their doctors?
There are a variety of different techniques. We use certain techniques in our office, but I know that pretty much every technique out there works. As long as the doctor is finding the right area to adjust and doing it properly, it’s going to be the same outcome.
That being said, there are doctors that are a little more specialized with women and children. There’s a website called ICPA4kids.com. People who belong to that society will be listed on the website. Those are people who take more of an interest in working with women and children. But not everybody who works with women and children will be on that list.
I like to tell people that personal references are almost the best bet. If you are getting a referral from someone you know and trust, you can be pretty sure that will be a good doctor.
How often would someone expect to go in for a visit, and what can they expect on their initial visit with a chiropractor?
In our office, during an initial visit we will do a consultation and get background information. We do a short exam to test ranges of motion. It’s nothing super in-depth like you would do in a medical doctor’s office.
Depending on what we find and what the situation is we may take some x-rays to see if there is something in there structurally that’s way off. Then we will usually go ahead and get the patients adjusted, which is an easy and pain-free thing. Some people get scared about the idea of getting adjusted, but we use some low-force techniques in our office that get the job done really well.
It varies on a case-to-case basis on what your treatment will be. Generally starting out we get people in 2-3 times per week for a couple of weeks, especially if they have never been under chiropractic care before.
It’s kind of like exercise. If you go once, that’s good, but it’s not going to last because our body is not used to it. It’s something you have to do a little bit more frequently in the beginning to get things to actually stabilize. After that you move forward with pushing adjustments out as far as your body can handle.
Is there anything else that we didn’t cover that you have thought of?
The only thing I was thinking about mentioning is, in our office we have had two women who kind of accidentally ended up pregnant without necessarily wanting to after years of infertility. Both of them had babies with IVF.
One of them, her youngest was seven years old, became pregnant soon after coming in. She hadn’t been using birth control because it had been years since she had been able to get pregnant. Then it happened to another patient too.
There is definitely something to chiropractic care. Like everything, its not 100 percent. It’s one of those things like diet and nutrition. There are no negative side effects to it. The only thing it is going to do is make you feel better and make you healthier.
If it doesn’t allow you to get pregnant right away, it may help it to be easier to do that next step for you.
How does working with a chiropractor fit in with other treatments, whether that be herbal care, acupuncture, or traditional medical care?
It would be the same as if your weren’t doing any of those other things. There are no side effects. You aren’t taking anything different, unless you decide to get on a supplement regime from us.
It’s not going to interfere with any other treatment. It’s just going to make your body function better and hopefully help those other things you are doing work even better.
With anything, you want to let each individual practitioner know what other things you are doing at the time. As far as chiropractic goes, you can pretty much do it whenever you want without it interfering with anything else.