Top 10 Questions
ON FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC CARE
1. How can chiropractic care help the health and wellness of my family?
Your spine is an integral part of your mind and body. From even before you are born, your brain communicates and controls the many functions of your body through the nervous system. The nerves from the brain run down your spine to each and every part of you. Many families experience unavoidable physical, mental and chemical stresses (such as lack of sleep, less exercise, balancing work with home life). These stresses can cause tension in the spine (called subluxations) and irritate the corresponding nerves. Over time, subtle spinal subluxations may cause pain, stress, degeneration and even organ dysfunction. Your chiropractor will release the tension in your spine (through adjustments) so that your body can function optimally and express a maximum state of health and wellness. Many families are proactive and have regular chiropractic check-ups much in the same way we preventatively see a dentist. Chiropractic maintenance is a natural approach for a healthier and happier family.
2. Is prenatal and pediatric chiropractic care safe and gentle?
Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of healthcare for expectant mothers and their children. It is a natural, drug-free, non-invasive approach specific to the mother and child. Your chiropractor will use individualized techniques to release spinal tension with as little amount of pressure as a finger touch. Special pillow supports assist the pregnant mother for comfortable care. Infants and children relax and enjoy their adjustments. Safe and gentle care for you and your family.
3. When should I see a chiropractor if I am pregnant?
During the first trimester, adjustments can help balance your spine and pelvis prior to the increase in weight gain to prevent prenatal back pain as well as help you adapt to the fluctuating hormones and all the changes they bring such as fatigue, nausea and headaches. In the second trimester, proper alignment continues to assist in the stability of your spine so that you can stay active, sleep well and handle ergonomic strain. As you move through the third trimester, specific techniques help with common occurrences such as sciatica, rib pain, ligament tension, pubic dysfunction, tailbone strain, plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. For many expectant mothers, their babies are already in the optimal fetal position at 32 weeks if they have had chiropractic assistance through their pregnancies. It is never too late to see a chiropractor for prenatal care but earlier support decreases discomfort, encourages your baby to move into the head down occiput anterior position and aids in an easier labour and birth, naturally.
4. How can chiropractic care help the baby be in a good position for birth?
The Webster Technique is a chiropractic adjustment to encourage the baby to turn into the head down occiput anterior position prior to labour. Dr. Larry Webster of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association founded the technique which has been proven to be 82% successful in clinical studies (JMPT 2002 Jul-Aug 25(6)) for breech and posterior-positioned babies. It is a gentle, non-invasive procedure that restores balance to your spine and pelvis to release any tension that may be preventing the baby from moving into the ideal position. Even a mild spinal and pelvic misalignment may cause tension in the uterus (called intrauterine constraint) which makes it uncomfortable for the baby to turn into the proper position. It is very safe as the technique does not force the baby to turn if the baby shouldn’t (ex. cord or placenta problem). As well, if the baby is already in the proper position, it will help the baby stay there and not move the baby out of place . The number of adjustments required vary, depending on the individual and her health history. The Webster Technique may also assist in a more successful external version. As well, your chiropractor can recommend exercises, postural changes and ergonomic modifications to decrease the chance of any intrauterine constraint. If you are 32 weeks pregnant and your baby is not head down and/or posterior, have a chiropractor check your alignment for a natural birth experience.
5. Why should I see my chiropractor after I have had my baby?
Postnatal care will help you recover from your pregnancy and birth so that you can focus on the health and wellness of your new baby and enjoy the precious days of your “babymoon.” It is best to have a chiropractic adjustment within the first few weeks so that you have optimal balance as your ligaments tighten. Chiropractic care will continue to help with the common “mommy strains” such as neck and upper back pain, headaches, fatigue, stress and wrist tendonitis. Techniques will be modified to accommodate your recovery whether from a vaginal birth or cesarean section. As well, your chiropractor can assist you with specific postnatal exercises and the proper ergonomics of nursing and carrying your newborn. And a family wellness program will support you through the exciting changes that occur as your baby grows and develops.
6. What are some of the signs that my newborn should be checked by a chiropractor?
Having a chiropractic newborn assessment within the first few weeks following birth can help your new baby in so many ways. Many newborns have subtle spinal tension either from inutero or from the labour and delivery (whether long and prolonged or fast and intense). Interventions may have been required such as vacuum extraction, forceps or cesarean.
The unavoidable physical and biochemical stresses of pregnancy and birth may contribute to the following:
- baby looks and/or keeps his/her head more to one side
- problems with latch or suck when breastfeeding
- flattening of head
- inconsolable periods of crying
- colic and gas
- gastric reflux/uncomfortable spitting up
- struggles to move bowels
- sleep difficulties
- hip joints click
If your baby has any of these issues, chiropractic is a natural way to remove spinal tension and help your baby be healthier and happier. A newborn check-up will also help to prevent future pediatric disorders and assist your baby through his/her growth and developmental milestones.
7. How does chiropractic care help infants with newborn issues such as gas and colic?
Many infants suffer from gas and colic, especially in their first 3 months of life. They are born with their digestive systems still developing and must suddenly adapt to being nourished from an umbilical cord to breastfeeding. They may also have spinal tension from inutero or the birth itself. This spinal nerve irritation (subluxation) can interrupt the connection between your baby’s brain and the functions of his/her digestion. Pediatric chiropractic care gently and safely removes this tension to allow your baby’s digestive system to work as effectively and efficiently as possible. In fact, the latest research has proven chiropractic care to be more effective than traditional medicine in the treatment of colic with significantly reduced hours of crying from discomfort (JMPT 1999, 22 (8)). A natural way to help your baby help him/herself.
8. When should my child have chiropractic check-ups?
Your baby goes through incredible physical and neurological changes especially during their first year of life. For optimal growth and development, your child should be checked periodically by your chiropractor. Removing spinal tension will help with specific issues such as nursing difficulties and colic and help prevent future health problems like ear infections and asthma. Many parents remark on how healthy their children are when they are under chiropractic maintenance care and how effectively they reach their growth and developmental milestones. Just like us, children cannot avoid certain stresses that may cause spinal tension whether its from sleeping without neck support as a newborn, the many falls of a toddler or the sports and backpack strains of youth. Infants and children respond to their adjustments better than adults because they don’t have years of spinal strain to overcome and their spines are more adaptable. And it is far better to remove spinal tension before symptoms arise once their body cannot compensate for the imbalances. For healthier children and generations to come!
9. Will my chiropractor help me with family health-related questions?
Along with chiropractic adjustments, your chiropractor can help you with other health-related questions and issues. Specific exercises are recommended for both the prenatal and postnatal period as well as active labour techniques for a natural birth. Nutritional and supplement recommendations can help ease pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and heartburn. Certain foods can decrease your baby’s chance of colickiness and sensitivities. Relaxation techniques will aid you through labour and the common worries of parenthood. Your chiropractor can also give you support with breastfeeding, sleep habits and properly wearing your baby for both your comfort. As your baby grows, your chiropractor can check his or her developmental milestones and offer guidance on such issues as car seat use, backpack safety and scoliosis screening. And donï¿½t forget that Daddy’s spine can also use some natural chiropractic care too! Your family chiropractor is there for every step of the way.
10. What is the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association?
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing awareness of the family wellness lifestyle. The ICPA values and respects parents’ rights to make informed health care decisions throughout pregnancy, birth and childhood. They offer continuing education, training and research in pregnancy and pediatrics for chiropractors to help them fulfill their vision in the world. Their website (www.icpa4kids.org) has the most up to date studies and resources, many of which have been included under the Archives section of www.bechiro.ca.