I’m Pregnant. Can I Go To My Chiropractor?

pregnancy-bumpI’m so glad you asked.

Too many people believe that while chiropractors specialize on the spine that they aren’t much good for other things.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, chiropractic care specializes on the maintenance of the spinal cord, the discs, and all the nerves that funnel through that well-protected channel. Virtually all the nerves in our body are protected at some point in our spine.

And while all chiropractors are skilled at dealing with all types of patients, there are some who have made it their specialty to work with pre-natal patients. In order to do this, they seek additional specialized training.

The first and most obvious issue is the way the abdomen protrudes as the pregnancy advances, putting the lower back at significant risk.

Pelvic balance and alignment makes for the best possible position of the baby during delivery. Any woman who experiences any pelvic changes resulting in misalignment may find it difficult to delivery her baby noninvasively.

Another way chiropractic affects pregnancy is in a DC’s ability to offer nutritional counseling. We can be sure you are getting the requisite vitamins and so forth.

Larry Webster, D.C. was the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Before his death, he developed a specific analysis and adjustment technique, called the Webster Technique, that allows chiropractors to establish balance in a pregnant woman’s pelvis. This relieves stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments.

The ICPA recommends that women receive regular chiropractic care during their pregnancy to establish optimal pelvic balance. This will allow the baby the best opportunity to move into the correct position at birth.

Many women report far greater comfort during their pregnancy as well as easier delivery when they have been under the regular care of a chiropractor who has been specially trained in the treatment of pregnant women.

Find chiropractors in your area who specialize in the care of pregnant women and begin the interview process earlier than later. The sooner you find a chiropractor you feel comfortable with, the better. Your obstetrician or midwife might be able to give you excellent referral options. Finding a team of people who are willing to work with you and respect the choices that are important to you allows for a more comfortable pregnancy for you.

Pregnancy Bump by Anna Longova

Vitamin D Goes Beyond Preventing Osteoporosis

12683326584_66c4aabbf1_zMost people know that insufficient calcium and vitamin D can lead to worsening osteoporosis. It seems to be a simple solution, take vitamin D with your calcium and you’ll stave off the worst of osteoporosis.

What scientists and doctors are learning, however, is that getting an adequate dose of vitamin D is not as easy as it might seem. Many dairy products are enriched with vitamin D. Eating salmon provides a natural food source of vitamin D. But in order to get enough vitamin D in the diet, an individual would have to eat two servings of salmon a day in order to get enough.

Exposure to sunlight is certainly one way to naturally increase vitamin D levels, but worries about skin cancer have had people coating themselves with sunscreen, preventing them from getting the vitamin D production benefit that sunshine usually provides.

That leaves supplementation. In order for vitamin D to be adequately absorbed by the body, it needs to be ingested in the presence of either calcium or magnesium. Calcium is found in dairy products. Magnesium is found in leafy green vegetables.

Visiting your trusted chiropractor in Oklahoma City, OK – Family Tree Chiropractic - is the best way to make sure you are being supplemented sufficiently.

And to make matters worse, osteoporosis is not our only concern in matters of inadequate vitamin D. Here are a few other diseases that are worsened by low vitamin D levels:

1. Kidney disease. There is a link between chronic kidney disease and vitamin D deficiency.

2. Diabetes. There is an inadequately understood link between Type I diabetes and vitamin D. A study in Finland gave over 10,000 children 2000 IU of vitamin D3 the first day of their life. The same children were tracked to adulthood and found that their risk of developing Type I diabetes had decreased by 80%.

3. Asthma. Used to reduce the severity of asthma attacks in children, vitamin D comes to the rescue. A Japanese study showed a dose of 1200 IU of vitamin D reduced their chances of a severe attack. There is some promise that vitamin D might be a road to treating chronic asthma sufferers.

4. Heart Disease. It is only recently being understood, but there is a definite link between vitamin D and the prevention of heart disease, specifically congestive heart failure in the elderly. In addition, women with low vitamin D levels had a nearly 70% greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

5. Schizophrenia and Depression. Mothers who take adequate amounts of vitamin D during pregnancy have children with much lower incidence of schizophrenia and depression in later life. It is believed that vitamin D receptors in the brain are critical for brain development and mental function as we age.

What is your vitamin D level? Can you increase your vitamin D levels either with increased sun exposure or by taking supplements? It looks as though many serious illnesses can be improved when you your levels are adequate.

Photo Credit : Vitamin D Deficiency: Are you part of the pandemic? from jacqueline via Flickr

The Medication-Free Path to Lower Blood Pressure

7054922189_37024128eb_zHypertension, often called the silent killer, happens when a person’s blood pressure is over 140/90. Hypertension strains the heart, the blood vessels, kidneys as well as other organs. This person is at increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Most adults are on medication for elevated blood pressure. Here are a few suggestions to help manage your blood pressure so that you might be able to reduce your medication or dispense with it entirely.

1. Lose Weight. For those of you who are at your target weight, ignore this section. Everyone else will be delighted to know that losing just 10% of your existing body weight can lower your blood pressure enough to require an adjustment in your medication. Losing 20% yields even greater benefits.

2. Breathe. Right, I know, we all breathe. But do we all breathe properly? The fact is, we don’t. Because of our constantly elevated stress levels and the need to constantly be on high alert, we breathe rapidly and with only our upper lungs. Rarely do we breathe deeply enough to expand our diaphragm and really stretch out our lower lungs. When we take deep, slow, controlled breaths, there is a reduction in the stress hormones that trigger renin production in our liver. Renin is an enzyme that rises our blood pressure. By regularly practicing deep breathing, we can naturally lower our blood pressure. Not only do we get the benefit of a lower blood pressure, we achieve an overall calming effect. Practicing yoga breathing techniques, called pranayama, can yield remarkable results in terms of stress reduction and reduced blood pressure.

3. Sunlight. Spending time in the sun produces nitric oxide which relaxes our blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely. This reduces blood pressure and can eventually lower one’s risk of a heart attack. Exercise caution, however, when the temperatures are extremely high as this can raise your blood pressure.

4. Walking the dog. Spending time with a pet and taking walks together has been proven to reduce blood pressure and feelings of stress. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day provides the necessary effect. Whenever possible, try to walk in nature, away from cars, buildings, and traffic whenever possible. The blood pressure reduction benefit is especially good when walking near a body of water like a lake, river, or ocean.

5. Music soothes. Many people have used music to manage their emotions, so it comes as no surprise that listening to music can lower blood pressure as well. The Netherland Heart journal published a study that reported lowered blood pressure in people who regularly played an instrument or listened to music.

Try one or all of these natural blood pressure lowering techniques to improve your health and reduce your dependence on medication to keep you healthy.

Photo Credit : Project 366 #98: 070412 The Pressure’s Off from Pete
via Flickr

Read To Your Children – Doctor’s Orders

2330388806_05e90302b8_oA recent release from the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that it would ask all pediatricians to recommend that parents read aloud to their children on a daily basis. Obviously this promotes literacy, but it also helps the child develop social/emotional skills.

Not only is reading to your child an enjoyable experience, it strengthens the parent/child relationship. For this reason alone, pediatricians will now be encouraging parents to read to their children at all their regular checkups.

This seems to be an obvious part of rearing a child, that time-honored tradition of reading bedtime stories. But statistics show that fewer than 50% of all children are read to on a regular basis. More than 30% of children entering kindergarten without the necessary language skills they need to learn how to read.

The lack of daily reading crosses the line between low-income families and high-income families. While children of low income families are less likely to be read to, the surprise was that children of high-income families enter school almost equally unprepared.

Time is the most common excuse given for not reading to children. Of all resources available to us today, time seems to be the most limited. And yet, the importance of developing a child’s literacy abilities from an early age suggests that we make time for our children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics plans to include the literacy program be included in the training of new pediatricians in pediatric residency programs. And there is a call to include high quality reading material, making them available during routine care visits.

According to Dr. Pamela High, a pediatrician and professor at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, parents need to hit the “5 Rs” as part of their young children’s routine:

1. Reading regularly to young children.
2. Rhyming, singing and cuddling.
3. Routines and regular times for meals and sleep.
4. Rewarding children for their efforts to promote self-esteem.
5. Relationship development.

Reading to your child should be a fun and enjoyable experience for you both. Choose books that you both enjoy. Laugh together at the funny rhymes and pictures. Encourage your child to repeat key words and phrases that recur throughout the book. Even ten minutes a day will make a difference in your child’s future.

Photo Credit : Read to Me, from BenSpark via Flickr

Practicing Empathy

Climbing the corporate ladder seems to require traits of ruthlessness and lack of compassion or empathy for those who are stepped on or crushed on the way to the top. But it isn’t always necessary to hurt others for personal gain. Certainly, being a pushover isn’t going to get you the recognition you desire from the person set to promote someone to the next level. But neither is throwing everyone under the bus just to get what you want.

Empathy means having an understanding of what it’s like to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Atticus Finch, an attorney in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird regularly taught his children to practice empathy; to have the ability to share in and understand the emotions and feelings of other people. Having empathy is a skill you can practice by looking at this from the perspective of another person.

There are quite a few benefits to developing an empathetic side to your personality. Empathetic people are very effective communicators because they listen very closely to the words of the person they’re talking to. This also makes them a welcome addition to any kind of a group project because they find it easier to create connections with people, thereby securing greater levels of cooperation in seeing the project through to completion.

If you have been ignoring your ability to be empathetic, you may find that your relationships are suffering. Instead of coming home and finding fault with your spouse or partner for undone tasks around the house. Try to look at it from your partner’s perspective. Perhaps the project at work requires your partner to spend long hours at it, coming home after dark, making it impossible to continue the outdoor painting that had begun last weekend. Or your youngest child has been at home sick forcing the child’s mother to work from home and care for the patient all while trying to maintain some control over the household chores.

Let’s get back to the ladder climber at work. An effective manager in today’s world needs to have an excellent understanding of other people, particularly in today’s more globalized economy. A study found that managers who were able to empathize with their people had happier and much more productive employees. In this way, managers create a dream team of people who are motivated, talented, and best of all loyal to them.

The key to being empathetic at work is to find a balance between being a pushover who everyone takes advantage of and being the jerk who intends to get to the top no matter how many women and children he has to walk on to get there. There is a happy medium.

Understanding Ergonomics – How Seat Design Plays a Vital Role

FreedomChairIt is estimated that at least 50% individuals in the industrialized world suffer from some kind of back problem, most notably due to a poor or inadequate seat design. How we sit all day in front of our workstations has a marked impact on the overall health of our spine. As a result of bad posture, the lumbar region in the back bone is what takes the most pounding. Here’s what you need to know, and many chiropractors will stand by it.

There is no universal seat that’s designed to accommodate every single person. But there are a number or ergonomic factors that come into play when we’re talking seat design. These generally work well for the average person.

Seat height should be set in a way so as to support a knee angle of 90 degrees. This takes undue stress off the thighs and buttocks. A chair that’s too high will increase the pressure at the underside of the knees, reducing blood flow and increasing unnecessary pressure on the nerve.

A chair that’s too low places pressure on the ischial tuberosities – this is where the upper thigh originates in the gluteus maximus region. Normally, the glutes cover them in the upright position, but they are exposed and at an ergonomic disadvantage when we’re sitting.

Optimal seat depth is recommended at 16.5”; between 14” and 18.5” for adjustable seats.

You should avoid hard seats. Seat pan contouring and cushioning should be designed in a way so that pressure is distributed over a larger area and the pelvis rotates forward – this encourages better posture.

Ideal seat cushioning is about 2” thick. The cushioning needs to be firmer and thicker in the back, while being less firm and thinner at the front. Too much cushioning and your body is going to sink into the chair, restricting movement. A soft chair may be very welcoming and comfortable at first, but it goes against basic ergonomic sense; as the body sinks, blood flow is reduced and skin temperature rises as you experience more compression under the thighs. At the end of the day – more discomfort.

A seat width that’s between 20” and 23” generally works well.

An ideal seat angle helps you maintain good contact with the backrest; a 5 to 10 degree angle is good.

There many more ergonomic factors related to optimal seating, and these are just some of them at a glance. A good chiropractor can help you determine exactly what type of chair best suits your body type.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: FreedomChair.jpg

Kids and Chiropractic Care: How It Can Benefit Them

newborn-220142_640Chiropractic care deals with the spinal column’s important relationship in creating harmony throughout the body.  It works on the principle that even a slight maladjustment in the spinal column can create problems for the individual.  The backbone is home to the nervous system and fine tuning of vertebrae can have enormous effects in reducing pain and help in healing.

Kids and chiropractic care have a very important relation – as kids grow, their body experiences a lot of physical stresses.  Any slight problems in the spine can restrict their growth and even cause severe problems.

Due to the curved position which the baby adopts when growing in the womb, many complications can arise at or after birth.  For this reason, a lot of parents get their newborn’s spine checked by a chiropractor.

Other health-related complaints in newborns include difficulty in breast-feeding, sleep problems, reflux and infections that can be linked to the nervous system of the baby.  These problems are the result of misaligned spine which may have resulted either due to the pre-birth curved position of the fetus, or due to the stresses incurred during delivery.

A chiropractor starts off by examining kids and their spines.  A lot of parents are worried about the baby’s delicate body being subjected to the forces required during the adjustments.  What they don’t realize that many chiropractors are specialists in treating kids.  They have the right skills and the touch of delicacy required in handling babies.

Nevertheless, spinal adjustments for kids – especially newborns – require very gentle pressures using only fingers.

Chiropractic care for kids is absolutely painless.  The kid may be sensitive to the touch at points where there is an injury – apart from that, there is no need to worry about pain.

A kid’s spine is far more responsive than that of an adult.  Only a few minor adjustments are required to get rid of any abnormality.  The complete time required for all chiropractic care sessions would depend on how long the problem has persisted for.

Kids have far less chances of suffering any injuries during the spinal adjustment procedure.  A study by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) revealed that only a few children from a figure of more than ten thousand experienced some sort of minor discomfort.

Therefore, it is extremely safe to have kids go through chiropractic care to ensure they do not have any kind of spinal issues while they grow up to become healthy adults.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Newborn Baby Cute Child Portrait Face Little

Cervical Herniated Disc – Disc Injuries and Chiropractic Care

Cervical_fracture_dislocation_C6-C7Individuals, engaged in strenuous everyday tasks of lifting and shifting heavy loads, and operating machines and computers for long hours on end, run a high risk of experiencing spinal disc injuries. Injuries in the spine or neck region tend to cause extreme pain and hindrance in the movement of the back or neck. Cervical herniated disc is a medical condition in which the patient feels excruciating pain in the neck, due to a slipped disc. Chiropractors provide invasive treatment methods for relieving the pain in the neck and spinal areas of the body.

What Is A Cervical Herniated Disc?

It is a medical condition, in which the individual suffers from extreme pain in the neck, and sometimes shoulder region, due to a slipped disc or pressure on a nerve. Cervical herniated disc injuries are less common than a lumbar herniated disc, which affects the lower region of the body. A cervical herniated disc condition is in the neck region of the body.

The 7 applicable vertebra of the spine are termed as C1 to C7, in a descending manner, for medical convenience. Between every two vertebra, a disc is located which serves as shock absorbers for the spine. The exertion and pressure on the neck and spine of the body causes swelling or bulging of the disc which might in extreme cases, even cause the disc to rupture, resulting in severe disc injuries.

The swelling and bulging of the disc exerts pressure on the nerves, which results in extreme pain in the neck and back region, hampering movement of the affected individual. A slipped disc or cervical herniated disc in the vertebra segment of C4 to C5 causes nerve root impingement, which results in pain in the upper shoulder or arm, hindering movement. Any swelling in the cervical segment of C5 to C6 results in weakening the front arm muscles, also called biceps, and causes a numbing and tingling pain in the wrist. It is the most common area in which a cervical herniated disc condition occurs.

The herniation of the discs in the C6 to C7 vertebra results in creating painful sensations in the back muscles of the arm, also called triceps,  which extends all over the hand, causing pain up to the fingers. Any disc herniation in the C7 to T1 region, results in affecting the control and grip of the hand, with a tingling pain and numb sensation throughout.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care and treatment methods are highly effective for different musculoskeletal disorders and spinal disc injuries, experienced by individuals because of over exertion and engagement in strenuous activities. Chiropractors provide services for joint and muscle adjustment and pain relief.


Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Cervical fracture dislocation C6-C7.jpeg

Shoulder Sport Injuries and Chiropractic Care

1361740537_7c6bbebfceAthletes and sports enthusiasts suffer from different sports injuries, the most common one being shoulder injuries, contracted during the strenuous activities and efforts required during various sports. Chiropractors provide effective treatment methods to rid the patients of the pain and suffering of a shoulder injury.

How Are Shoulder Sports Injuries Contracted?

Shoulder sport injuries are contracted by professional athletes and individuals who pursue a certain sport as a hobby. The strenuous and exhausting practice procedures, along with the constant exertion on the body, result in acute muscular pains in the arm and shoulder regions, for the sports professionals. In extreme cases, the pain spreads throughout the entire arm, causing sore and stiff shoulder muscles and tingling pain up to the fingers.

The sports which require extensive physical effort like basketball, baseball, football, etc., require the players to engage in different repetitive movements, which sometimes cause shoulder sport injuries.

Symptoms of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries which are very common among sports athletes and professionals present certain symptoms and signs which help in the diagnosis of the form of injury. A patient with a shoulder pain which persists for a couple of days has a high risk of suffering from a shoulder injury which needs to be treated promptly.

Recurring episodes of shoulder pain is also a sign of a shoulder injury, while inability to carry objects highlights the extent of damage suffered by the shoulder of an individual. In extreme cases, the shoulder injury causes a deformity in the joint and damages the muscles of the shoulder, which leaves the individual in extreme pain.

Shoulder injuries also include bruises and swellings around joints or the arm region of the body, which results in stiff muscles that are difficult to move. In some cases, the patient suffers from a fever and swelling with an infection, if there is acute damage to the muscles and joints of the shoulder region. Some individuals also face difficulty in moving their injured shoulder and experience pain in the area throughout the day.

Treatment Options

Shoulder injuries require prompt and efficient medical treatment, carefully administered, to ensure that there are no further damages to the injured area. Rest and anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed by doctors to bring down the swelling in the shoulder. Various painkillers are prescribed which only serve to alleviate the pain for a short period of time. Chiropractors provide effective treatment for the shoulder sports injuries contracted by different individuals.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Mikko with dislocated should… by Aleksi Aaltonen

Risks of Leaving the Sciatica Untreated

9605942387_6e2293b844Sciatica is very painful medical condition in which the patient experiences extreme pain and tingling sensations in his back, hip, legs and thighs. The pain is caused as a result of pressure exerted on the nerves, either due to any inflammation in the vertebra or the narrowing of the spinal canal. Piriformis syndrome, lumber spinal stenosis and spinal disc herniation are common causes of sciatica pain in individuals. Chiropractic treatment is highly effective for relieving the patients of the painful condition.

Why Is Prompt Identification And Treatment Important?

It is very important for patients to recognize the symptoms and seek professional medical assistance for their sciatica condition. The doctor takes prompt prescribed tests to identify the cause of the sciatica pain in order to focus his attention on the specific treatment required for the condition.

If a patient does not seek medical assistance for his sciatica problem, it may result in exaggerating his condition with the period of time. A number of possible problems can arise for the patient besides the continuous pain in the back and the hip region.

Permanent Nerve Damage

Patients who do not seek prompt medical help for their sciatica run a high risk of suffering from permanent nerve damage. In case of a permanent damage to the sciatica nerve, the patient will experience excruciating pain in the back and legs, which will not be alleviated to a satisfactory level, even with the use of pain relieving medication.

The different treatment methods like water and physical therapy become extremely painful for the patient because of his severe nerve damage.

Paralysis in the Affected Limb

The patient experiences a loss of feeling in the affected limb, which in some cases also leads to difficulty in movement, and ultimately paralysis. The affected leg becomes devoid of all sensation and movement, hampering the patient already troubled with the excruciating pain.

Loss of Bladder Control

Patients who do not get medical treatment for their sciatica problem can experience a loss of control in their bladder and bowels. This adds to the problems already faced by the patient while dealing with his sciatica condition.

A pressurized sciatica nerve causes severe pain, tingling and numbing sensations in the legs and thighs, and cramps along with fever. Patients should seek prompt medical assistance for the correct identification and treatment of sciatica before the condition becomes incurable. Chiropractic treatment is considered as very effective for the treatment of sciatica pain in individuals.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Leg pain by The Clear Communication People