Chiropractic Care and Pregnancy

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Chiropractic Care and Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a really exciting time for parents as they get ready for their family to grow with the baby’s arrival. As the baby grows, mum’s body changes as she prepares to give birth.

Sometimes these changes can be uncomfortable or painful, with about three-quarters of pregnant mums suffering from pain in their back or pelvis.1, 2 This is one reason that so many pregnant mums seek chiropractic care.

Is it safe?

When deciding whether they should see a chiropractor, pregnant mums often ask ‘is it safe to be adjusted by the chiropractor when I’m pregnant?’ The good news is that chiropractors can tailor the care they provide to each individual patient and the research suggests that chiropractic care during pregnancy is safe for both mum and baby.4,6

What does the research say?

But what does the research tell us about the benefits of seeing a chiropractor while you’re pregnant? When it comes to back pain, not many big studies have been done yet that have looked at whether chiropractic care helps pregnant mums.3

So, although more research is needed, results from the research that has been done so far are promising and seem to show that for some pregnant mums, chiropractic care can be really helpful.4 In one study, researchers in Switzerland followed 115 pregnant women for a year who went to see a chiropractor with low back pain.5 What they found in this study was that over half of the patients said they ‘improved’ after just 1 week of chiropractic care, and after a month that figure had grown to 70%.

In a study conducted in New Zealand, researchers studied pelvic floor muscle function in pregnant women before and after they were adjusted by a chiropractor.

By the end of the study, about 90% of the mums who entered the study said their pain was better. From this study, we can’t be sure if it was the chiropractic care that really helped them but at the end of the study over 85% of the mums said they were happy with the care they received from their chiropractor.

Could chiropractic care help me through delivery?

One area researchers think chiropractic care may help pregnant moms is with the delivery of their baby. For a woman in labor, the ability to relax and contract her pelvic floor muscles is really important for helping the baby to move through the birth canal.7 Ideally, for the birth process to go as well as possible, giving the greatest chance of natural, vaginal birth, you want strong pelvic floor muscles that can relax and contract at just the right time.7, 8

New Zealand Research Study

In a study conducted in New Zealand, researchers studied pelvic floor muscle function in pregnant women before and after they were adjusted by a chiropractor. What they found was that after the pregnant women were adjusted, their pelvic floor muscles appeared to relax more when they were at rest.

This relaxation of their pelvic floor muscles after they were adjusted may mean that chiropractic care could help them to have a natural vaginal delivery. This was only a small trial, and the researchers couldn’t be sure how much of an impact these relaxed muscles would have on labour itself, but it does suggest that for pregnant mums, chiropractic care may give them more control over their pelvic floor muscles, which may make childbirth easier. Other research supports this idea with one study reporting that new mums experience on average a 25% reduction in the length of labour time with chiropractic care during pregnancy and that rises to a 31% reduction for mothers who have given birth before.It makes sense to keep yourself as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.

So, if you want help with the way your spine and nervous system are functioning, consider seeing your chiropractor, because it’s natural, safe, and may help you to feel better and boost your chances of having a faster, easier delivery of your little bundle of joy.

References

  1. Malmqvist, et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2012;35(4):272-8.
  2. Weis, et al. Journal Of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 2018;40(8):1038-43.
  3. Stuber & Smith. Journal Of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2008;31(6):447-54.
  4. Borggren. Pregnancy and Chiropractic: a Narrative Review Of the Literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2007;6(2):70-74.
  5. Peterson, Muhlemann, Humphreys. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2014;22(1):15.
  6. Stuber, Wynd, Weis. Chiropr Man Therap 2012;20:8.
  7. Yan, et al. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Systems Biology and Medicine 2016;8(6):506-16.
  8. Du, et al. International Urogynecology Journal 2015;26(10):1415-27.

Acknowledgments

  • Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
  • Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
  • Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc

How Often Should You Visit Your Chiropractor?

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When you first see your chiropractor, you may be among the many people who ask, ‘how often do I need to come?’ Often the answer people want to hear is ‘once’ but chiropractic care, like most things that are really good for us, rarely makes a long term difference to your health and wellness after just one visit.

One reason a single visit to your chiropractor may not make a long-term change is that it usually takes years for the problem to develop that motivates someone to first see a chiropractor and it can take many visits to the chiropractor to correct that problem.

Seeing your chiropractor can be a little like going to the gym. It takes time, frequency and follow up.

One way of looking at it is that it can be like the thousandth straw that breaks the camel’s back. A problem can build up day after day as you sit hunched over your desk, or bend and twist as you lift, or tense up as you deal with your daily stress and then one day, you bend to tie your shoelaces and all of a sudden something hurts! You can rest assured that tying your shoelaces isn’t what caused the problem, it’s simply the thousandth straw that broke the camel’s back (or was too much for your back) and that’s why you’re in pain.

There will usually be changes to the way the supporting muscles in your spine work that build up over time until your muscles can’t cope anymore, and symptoms appear.1-2 So, seeing your chiropractor can be a little like going to the gym. It takes time, frequency, and follow up. Working with you to correct the problem and help your brain and the muscles in your spine communicate or ‘talk’ with each other again so you can regain the stability you need to function properly and resolve your aches and pains.3

But how long will this take and how often do you need to be checked by your chiropractor? Everybody is different, so your chiropractor will be guided by their clinical experience, and what your goals are when they recommend a care plan for you. 

US Research Study

A new research study was recently published that suggests, in the early stages of chiropractic care, the more often you get adjusted, the better the results you enjoy, and this can also be better for you in the long term as well.4

In this study, that was conducted by scientists in America, they looked at 256 people who had chronic, regular headaches and divided them into groups who either received chiropractic care once a week, or twice a week, or three times a week, for up to six weeks, or they received no chiropractic care at all and instead were given light massages over the same 6-week period. Previous studies have shown that people with this kind of headache often respond well to chiropractic care.

The scientists in this study were most interested in how many visits per week to the chiropractor showed the best results. They looked at how many days a week a patient suffered from headaches at the end of the study and whether any changes in headache frequency between the groups were still there up to one year later. What they found was that the patients who were seen by their chiropractor most regularly, so up to three times a week, had fewer headaches than those who were seen once or twice a week, and they were much better than the patients who received no chiropractic care at all.

In fact, after one year, the patients that had been seen three times a week had over three fewer headaches per month compared to the patients who only received a light massage. So, these effects obviously lasted.

The more you get adjusted, the better the results that you will enjoy.

This study was done in people with chronic headaches, so we can’t be sure if the same differences occur in people with other problems who see a chiropractor. A similar study in patients with chronic low back pain did find that people who were adjusted more often had the best results, but the results weren’t as clear as the study done on patients with headaches.

The studies suggest that seeing a chiropractor more often when you begin care has real, beneficial, long-term effects to the way your spine and nervous system works, but how much you benefit may depend on what’s wrong with your spine when you begin care.

So, when you go and see your chiropractor, know that their recommendations for your plan of care are based on what their clinical experience tells them is best for you, and that the research suggests more frequent adjustments has the biggest positive impact on your health and wellness.

References
  1. Hodges & Moseley. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2003;13(4):361-70.
  2. MacDonald et al. Pain 2009;142(3):183-8.
  3. Ferreira et al. Manual Therapy 2007;12(3):240-48.
  4. Haas et al. Spine J 2018. 18(10): 1741-1754.
  5. Haas et al. Spine J 2014;14(7):1106-16.
Acknowledgments
  • Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
  • Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
  • Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc

What Is That Popping Sound?

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What is that popping sound?

If you have been adjusted before by a chiropractor, you may have noticed a popping sound that may seem a little strange. What is that popping sound? What happens if I crack my knuckles? Studies have also looked at people who have routinely cracked their knuckles for years and years and compared them to non-knuckle crackers to see if there’s any difference in x-ray images of their hands.1 These studies all came back with the same conclusion. Habitual knuckle cracking over the course of several decades is not associated with clinical or radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis. 1 The popping sound you hear when a chiropractor adjusts you is simply a change in state between liquid and gas within a joint.

Whether or not you hear the popping sound makes absolutely no difference to how good the adjustment was.

What does research show?

There have been all sorts of theories about what the popping sound really is. Some have thought the sound was caused by tendons snapping over a joint, or a bone being put back into place, or the snapping of adhesions or scar tissue.5 Recently there was a really interesting study done that actually looked at what was happening in a joint when there were popping sounds.6 The researchers in this study used video magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study what happened in a person’s finger joint when they pulled his finger until his knuckle made the popping sound. So, they used a cable attached to his finger and slowly pulled his finger until it cracked while recording this with video MRI. They then measured the space between the joint surfaces, before and after the crack, using automatic computer software. What they found was that the joints remained very close together during the early stages of the finger being pulled, and then when the force of the pull was strong enough, the joint would very separate and a bubble would form, and this was when the popping sound was heard. This means that the popping sound you hear when a chiropractor adjusts you is simply a change in state between liquid and gas within a joint. It’s called tribonucleation. It’s actually very similar to what happens when you open a champagne bottle, but it’s all happening in an enclosed joint space. Early on, it was thought that the popping sound was associated with unhealthy joints, but as far back as the 1930’s scientists were showing that this also occurs in perfectly healthy joints. So, keep in mind next time you get adjusted by your chiropractor, that the popping sound doesn’t have anything to do with bones grinding or rubbing, but instead is simply gas bubbles forming within a joint as your adjustment separates two joint surfaces that are close together.

Disclaimer and References

 This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be professional advice of any kind. Haavik Research Ltd encourages you to make your own health care decisions based on your own research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. chiroshub.com © Haavik Research 2021 1. Powers et al. The Journal of family practice 2016;65(10):725-26. 2. Cleland et al. J Man Manip Ther 2007;15(3):143-54. 3. Cramer et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011;34(9):572-83. 4. Williams & Cuesta-Vargas. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014;37(4):230-5. 5. Protopapas & Cymet. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2002;102(5):283-7. 6. Kawchuk et al. PLoS One 2015;10(4):e0119470.

• Dr. Heidi Haavik BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD • Dr. Kelly Holt BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD • Dr. Jenna Duehr BChiro, BHSc(Nursing), MHSc What does the research show? Whether or not you hear the popping sound makes absolutely no difference to how good the adjustment was. Disclaimer and References This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be professional advice of any kind. Haavik Research Ltd encourages you to make your own health care decisions based on your own research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. chiroshub.com

Heart Rate Variability

By | ADHD, Allergies, Asthma, Benefits of Chiropractic, chiropractic adjustment, Chiropractic Myths, energy, fibromyalgia, gut problems, High Blood Pressure | No Comments

Did you know that your nervous system controls your heart rate? It is one of the many smart things that your body does without you having to or put any thought into it. Your nervous system will increase or decrease your heart rate based on the needs of your body, and this is called heart rate variability.

Most people know that having a healthy heart rate is important – you don’t want it too fast, and you don’t want it too slow. It is providing your vital organs with blood and oxygen that you need to survive. However, your heart rate is not at a constant steady 70 beats per minute all day every day; it changes based on whether you are resting or exercising, whether you are happy or angry, nervous or relaxed.

These changes in heart rate can be measured by something called heart rate variability or HRV. HRV is controlled by your nervous system (made up of your brain, spinal cord and all the nerves that go to every tissue and cell in your body), specifically the part of your nervous system that is automatic, that we don’t have to think about, like breathing. A good HRV (a high one) is thought to reflect a healthy heart and a body that can respond and adapt to its environment and needs.

It is important that your brain knows what is going on in and around your body so that it can know when to increase or decrease your heart rate, and it needs to do this quickly. For example, if you suddenly need to run really fast because you’re being chased by a bear, your nervous system will quickly need to increase your heart rate so it can pump enough blood to your muscles so you can run. However, when you are sleeping or relaxed, you don’t want your heart rate to stay beating that fast as this is not good for you, so your brain will sense this and then decrease your heart rate. 

We know now, from a lot of neuroscience research studies, that when your spine is not moving properly, this changes the way your brain can sense what is going on in and around your body and the way it controls your body.1-3 If the joints of your spine are not moving properly (what chiropractors call being subluxated) this may affect how well you can sense what is going on in and around you and how well you can react to your environment. Research has shown that when a chiropractor then gently adjusts these subluxations, it helps the brain to more accurately “see” what is going on in and around the body. So, when you get adjusted by your chiropractor, it might help you to be able to respond and adapt to your environment better and keep you balanced and healthy.

Chiropractic may help

What does the research say about chiropractic care and heart rate variability (HRV)? Researchers have looked at a lot of the studies that have been done on the effects of chiropractic care on HRV and summarised them.4 The results show that chiropractic care does affect HRV, and it seems to increase the healing and calming side of our autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system! 

In one study,5 the researchers got 96 different chiropractors to measure HRV before and after adjustments on 8 different patients and after 4 weeks on 2 of their patients. Altogether, 539 adults had their HRV recorded before and after their adjustments, and 111 adults had their HRV recorded across four weeks of chiropractic care. They found that in both of these groups of adults, there were improvements in their HRV measurements and that in the group that received adjustments over four weeks, these improvements remained constant over that time. 

These studies suggest that even just one adjustment can influence an important part of our nervous system that controls our heart rate, which represents how well our body can respond to our environment and is considered to be a measure of someone’s adaptability and general health. Also, very importantly, in the stressful, fast-paced life we often live these days, chiropractic care appears to increase the “healing and calming” side of our autonomic nervous system. If you are interested in good health, adaptability and want to respond better to stress, why don’t you consider chiropractic care?

Make sure your spine is functioning well so you can operate at your best!

References
  1. Kawli T, He F & Tan M-W. Disease models & mechanisms 2010;3(11-12):721-31.
  2. Buckingham JC, et al. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 1996;54(1):285-98.
  3. Elenkov IJ, et al. Pharmacological reviews 2000;52(4):595-638.
  4. Herkenham M & Kigar SL. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry 2017;79(Pt A):49-57.
  5. Kipnis J. Scientific American 2018;319(2):28-35.
  6. Kox M, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2014;111(20):7379-84.
  7. Pearce BD, Biron CA & Miller AH. Advances in Virus Research: Academic Press 2001:469-513.
  8. Sanders VM & Kohm AP. International review of neurobiology 2002;52:17-41.
  9. Uthaikhup S et al. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2012;55(3):667-72.
  10. Haavik H & Murphy B. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):768-76.
  11. Treleaven J. Man Ther 2008;13(1):2-11.
  12. Daligadu J, et al.JMPT 2013;36(8):527-37.
  13. Haavik H & Murphy B. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2012;22(5):768-76.
  14. Haavik H, et al. 2017 doi: 10.1016/j. jmpt.2016.10.002
  15. Taylor HH & Murphy B. JMPT 2008;31(2):115-26.
  16. Colombi A & Testa M. Medicina 2019;55(8):448.
  17. Kovanur-Sampath K, et al. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice 2017;29:120-31.
Acknowledgments
  • Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
  • Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
  • Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc

How Long Should I Go?

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Have you ever realized that in order for you to obtain what you want, time may be available yet the choices become the biggest obstacle? Think hard, we all may have the same amount of time. We just make different choices. If you capitalize on your choices then time is on your side.

We all have that friend who is waiting for something new, thinking that the grass is always greener on the on the other side. They are always on the latest diet, the newest wonder food that shrinks fat away instantly, or the newest book on how to manage stress. While this might sound appealing, it often leads to life on a roller coaster.

How long should I go for Chiropractic care? We get asked this quite often. And the answer really comes down to what you want out of it. If you are looking for a holistic approach to health care that does not require you to take lotions, potions, and pills, then sticking it out for the long haul might be your call. If you want the “one and done,” sure we can help, yet think about what is actually happening. A good chunk of people only eat good food only when they are sick.

If you can conceptualize that daily your body is under constant repair to maintain a functioning system, and this processing of information is coordinated via your central nerve system; you might think about sticking it out. Understand that your body is intelligent and thrives on function over feeling. When the spinal column is aligned you are designed to “form”. Form determines your function, and with a spine in proper alignment you move better, last longer, and transmit better nerve flow than with a spine that is subluxated.

We ask that you make the choices to give us the time. Without the time, much can be lost. Your body is the biggest investment that you will ever make in your life, don’t abuse it.

Correct Digestion Issues

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Digestion issues unfortunately, in our society, are becoming the new “norm.” It’s almost to the point that if you do not have any digestive issues you are considered “weird”. Digestion, aka gut, is an important topic of concern due to the fact that it is known as the second brain. The rational and reasoning behind this is because approximately 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut.

A healthy gut starts at birth. Normal vaginal deliveries help inoculate the newborn with an overabundance of microbes. This begins the learning process of the immune system. To keep the learning process clear and functioning begins with working on the upper cervical neck region. Often people hear of the “Brain Gut Connection” phrase passed around when talking about digestive issues. This is due to the fact that the upper cervical nerves control, regulate, and made the gut.

A subluxation (misalignment in the spinal column) places undo stress upon a single nerve fiber, thus creating a chemical cascade of events known as dis-ease. Which means that literally your body is not at “ease.” What occurs first will be dysfunctional gut problems, better known as symptoms. What have we been told to do when symptoms occur…suppress them with drugs. Suppressing a symptom never corrects the cause and never allows the body to heal. Looking to the spine first and foremost by correcting subluxations will enable the brain – body connection to be fully established.

Don’t treat symptoms. Chiropractic can get your digestive system working by focusing on the cause. Research, published in the November 2002 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR) demonstrates that chiropractic care may be effective in helping patients with allergies and Crohn’s Disease. What’s considered an allergy in the gut? A chronic hypersensitivity of an over-stimulated immune response. The response coming from the brain via a nerve to the tissue cells of the gut. Once again, the focus of chiropractic care is to remove any physiological blocks to the proper expression of the body’s innate wisdom.

Tackling Gut Problems From Within The Body

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Tackling Gut Problems From Within The Body

The Gut!  Tackling gut problems from within the body is focused on decreasing internal inflammation that is causing symptoms to appear in people who have “gut problems.”  What kind of gut problems?  IBS, constipation, diverticulitis, reflux, etc etc.  The list goes on and on when it comes to gut problems.  More people become concerned with the symptom that they have and attempt to cover -up the signs they are producing besides addressing the actual concern.  The brain – body connection is dysfunctional.

Remember that the central nervous system coordinates, controls, and makes everything in your entire body.  The CNS does this via a network of cables called nerves.  When a nerve becomes irritated in the spinal column due to instability from a subluxation, the nerve is not in normal ‘tone’.  As a direct result of the nerve being irritated in the spinal column, the organs, cells, tissues, and glands that the nerve coordinates will become dysfunctional as well.  How so?  The spine is a direct extension from the brain.  When a nerve is not in normal ‘tone’ and not sending the proper messages, the body in return will show symptoms from that subluxation. Think of it like a super highway that is under construction.  Who honestly likes construction on a super highway?  No one!

A study from the 2016 Gastroenterology journal suggests that the vagus nerve is extremely precious not only for homeostasis of a variety of organ systems, but also for the regulation of appetite, mood, and inflammation.  Common gut conditions can be greatly influenced by the function of the vagus nerve.  It’s all about the brain – body connection.  Research confirms the importance of a well adjusted spine on the function of the vagus nerve.  Optimal function begins and ends from within the body.  Don’t treat symptoms. Chiropractic can get your digestive system working by focusing on the cause.  A healthy lifestyle not only changes your body, it changes your attitude and your mood.