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Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Chiropractic and Pregnancy

In thinking what to write about in my first blog post, I couldn’t imagine any other topic! I have had the joy of working exclusively with pregnant patients (and their babies of course) for the last seven years. I have explained many times why working with the female pelvis makes such a profound difference to the mother during pregnancy from a comfort standpoint but most importantly how it helps during labor and delivery.

Just yesterday standing outside my sons preschool another students grandpa was asking why we moved from Virginia to Buffalo, assuming it was because of my husbands job. I explained we moved to be near our families, and that we were both Chiropractors. He shared his Chiropractic success story with me and asked for a card. When he saw I treat pregnant woman he had so many questions! He said he had never thought of that before…. but looking back recalled how much his two daughters complained about their pregnancy aches and pains.

I explained to him that the position of the unborn baby is critical during pregnancy. The function of the mother’s pelvis has everything to do with this success. A pelvis that can adapt to the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy creates a comfortable pregnancy and uncomplicated birth for both mother and baby. It can significantly reduce the need for interventions such as drugs, forceps, vacuum extraction, and c-section, which may result in birth trauma. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is the best way to achieve a functional pelvis and give the baby the most room to get into that optimal birth position.

Importance of Uterine Ligaments

Chiropractic eases the discomfort of pregnancy and prepares the low back and pelvis for birth.

Chiropractic eases the discomfort of pregnancy and prepares the low back and pelvis for birth.

There are four major ligaments that support the uterus during pregnancy. These ligaments have attachments at various points of the lumbar spine, sacrum, tailbone and pubic bone. Two of these ligaments have smooth muscle fibers in them, allowing them to contract and also spasm. As the belly expands these ligaments balance and stabilize the uterus from front to back. The joints and muscles of the pelvis must work in harmony. If one or more joints become less mobile than optimal, the ligaments may spasm in response. Symptoms will include: groin pain, cramping, shooting leg pain, rib pain, hip pain, back pain, and pubic pain, just to name a few. Have you ever noticed a pregnant woman constantly rubbing her lower belly? She is experiencing the discomfort of the round ligament as it works to stabilize the uterus.

Uterine Constraint

If the mom is suffering with pelvic dysfunction, the baby is under strain as well. The amount of room within the uterus decreases as the torsion of the uterus increases. The analogy I share with moms is sort of corny, but seems to help people understand. Imagine the uterus is a fully inflated hot air balloon tethered to the ground by a rope on either side. If one rope is tighter than the other, the balloon can tilt a bit to that side. The ligaments of the uterus can create a similar dysfunction. The result may be improper position of the baby, delayed labor, slow labor, and sometimes facial deformity and torticollis at birth.

Chiropractic during pregnancy identifies and removes mechanical strain in the spine and pelvis. Soft tissue massage, ligament release, and gentle adjusting allow the body to respond and adapt to the postural and mechanical strain of pregnancy. The most well known Chiropractic technique addressing pregnancy and Chiropractic is the Webster Technique. Think of the difference in quality of life Chiropractic during pregnancy could make! Enjoying your pregnancy and achieving the birth you have imagined for yourself and your baby is the ultimate goal.

 

 

 

Ankle Sprains: More Than Just a Minor Injury

Ankle Sprain Can Cause Distant Problems

People tend to not think much of a sprained ankle, even if it is relatively severe. After a couple of weeks they may be able to walk without much pain and swelling, so they think their ankle is all healed up. Often, they return to sports and exercise without giving it much thought. I have seen old ankle sprains lead to distant problems that in no way seem connected to the sprain. Here is a recent case example:

A 71-year male came to the office complaining of mild right shoulder pain for the past six months and intermittent left hip pain for years. When he raised his arm to the side, he felt pain that was sometimes sharp enough to prevent him from raising his hand over his head. He says he never had an injury that he could remember, “it just came on slow.” When the patient walked, his left shoulder was completely immobile neither moving forward nor back. Muscle testing showed almost none of his shoulder muscles worked when they were supposed to. The same was true when his right hip was tested. When I got down to his right ankle there was a significant weakness in his tibialis posterior muscle. This muscle is critical for optimal function of the ankle and foot. I asked if he had sprained it. 3 years prior he had badly sprained his ankle while reaching for a golf ball on a hill. It took 3 months for him to walk normally. As a demonstration, I taped his ankle and had him walk around for about 5 minutes. With the tape was still on, I retested all those muscles and most of them had turned on! We would direct most of our therapies and rehab at his ankle. Within a week and 2 visits he was 90% improved. Imagine if we would have tried to treat the shoulder first. No matter what we would have tried, it would have always come back.

Injuries Can Disrupt The Alternating Arms and Legs of Normal Gait

Injuries Can Disrupt The Alternating Arms and                      Legs of Normal Gait

As a person walks their gait is a complex series of muscle turning on and off in a specific sequence. If a person does this flawlessly, it is relaxing to the nervous system. If there is disruption in the gait pattern, even if it is small, it can become a major stressor. This stress can manifest in any other joint in the body. Most likely the ones involved in gait.

The body will compensate and display many layers of dysfunction to survive and keep us moving. Think about it. Every step, (and there are thousands everyday), sends a little irritation into the nervous system and your body has to accommodate to that noxious stimuli.

If you injure your ankle, get a thorough evaluation that involves muscle testing and applied kinesiology. Be sure to rehabilitate your ankle so it is functional and strong so you do not end up with unexplained dysfunction elsewhere in your body.

Overlooked Dysfunction of the Wrist

pronator quadratus 2As always with Applied Kinesiology we are looking to find what is not functioning in the body and through directed therapy get it working again. In the wrist the most overlooked dysfunction occurs with the pronator quadratus muscle. This is a little muscle that connects the radius and ulna (the two long bones of the wrist) right before the base of the hand.  The motion the pronator quadratus helps with is pronation of the wrist and hand.  To feel this motion put your hand on the desk facing the ceiling and then turn it so that the palm is facing the desk top. The motion of putting your palm down on the desk is pronation.  Another major function of the pronator quadratus is Continue reading

Why ART or Graston did not work for you arch pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis….

Almost every endurance athlete knows about the soft tissue techniques of Active Release Technique and Graston. These are great techniques to help free the body of adhesions that have developed through repeated micro traumas to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. ART and Graston are used by thousands of practitioners worldwide because they work really well, but what happens when ART and Graston do not work?  The answer is found by looking for the inhibited or weak muscle rather than the tight muscle. A basic tenant of Applied Kinesiology is that when a muscle is weak any opposing muscle will become tight.  If this muscle imbalance continues to exist, exercise or even normal daily movements will result in tendonitis of the tight muscle.

Using Applied Kinesiology’s idea of looking for the weak muscle that is creating the dysfunction Continue reading

The Five Fingers of Death

To help patients restore intestinal balance, I usually have to put them on fairly restrictive diets in the beginning of their treatment. This helps reduce stress on the gut and immune system allowing a chance for recovery. At the same time we add in herbs or vitamins to support the body and to kill off microorganisms responsible for dysbiosis. It sounds simple, but making dietary changes can be extremely difficult. Patients encounter challenges to implementing the diet culturally and socially (mostly family and friends), logistically (what do I eat) and emotionally (I can’t eat what I normally do when I am stressed).

At one point or another, I have avoided foods for weeks or months to improve my health. I learned important lessons along the way Continue reading

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Dr. Luke Pietrantone
Dr. Michelle Pietrantone