4 Steps to a Healthy Birth

Bottom Line:

With all of the advances in medical science, it may come as a surprise to discover that many of the technological interventions used in modern maternity management don’t seem very evidence based. Afterall, the natural birth process is designed to be relatively simple – it’s been going on for hundreds of thousands of years! A woman’s own body can grow, birth, and nourish a baby.

Why it Matters:

The use of intravenous lines, continuous monitoring, and restricted movement can often make labor more difficult by both increasing stress and interfering with the natural process, which can then increase the risk of complications.

Knowing this, the World Health Organization recommends four care practices that promote, support and protect a normal birth process

  1. Let labor begin on its own. In many cases, inducing labor can increase the risk of complications for mother and child.
  2. Move and change positions during labor. Moving around can help labor progress and may shorten the total labor time.
  3. Bring a loved one or Doula for support. Labor support has been sown to reduce the likelihood of cesarean section and improve the birth experience.
  4. Avoid interventions that aren’t necessary. Continuous electronic monitoring hasn’t been shown to provide better outcomes for the baby and may increase the risk c-section.

Next Steps:

Welcoming a child is a special event, and no one decision should be taken lightly. It’s essential to understand and respect the body’s natural ability to navigate the process. Our practice is proud to work with a variety of midwives, doulas, and OB-GYNs in our community. Together, we can help create a better birth experience and make it as comfortable as possible!

Science Source(s):

Safe, Healthy Birth: What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 2009.

NSAID Risks: Making Smart Healthcare Decisions During Pregnancy

Bottom Line:

Pregnant women are certainly not immune to aches and pains. In fact, it’s estimated that over 85% of expecting mothers will deal with back pain. Finding relief without the use of medication is almost always the best route for the health of mom and baby. Even over-the-counter medications can be risky to take before and during pregnancy.

Why it Matters:

All medications have side-effects, and these are often heightened during pregnancy. For instance, a drug like acetaminophen has been linked to a greater risk of ADHD and asthma in children. Likewise, NSAIDs have been linked to a 59% increased risk of miscarriage.

  • Finding organic pain solutions before conception and throughout pregnancy is a smart decision.
  • NSAIDs cross from mother to baby easily through the placenta and can influence the production of prostaglandins that promote inflammation.
  • Taking NSAIDs can increase the risks of asthma and hypertension in newborns.

Next Steps:

Talking to your doctor about medication use before becoming pregnant is a smart idea. And if you or someone you know is anticipating pregnancy, it’s smart to begin looking for natural, organic solutions for your health issues. We specialize in natural, non-invasive care, and hope you’ll give us a call if you have questions about the best options for you!

Science Source(s):

Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018.

NSAID Use During Pregnancy Linked to Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns. Pharmacy Today. 2001.

Tips to Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy

Bottom Line:

An estimated 85% of women experience back pain during pregnancy. Why? As a woman enters her second or third trimester, her growing baby pulls her body’s center of gravity forward, which in turn increases the curve of her low back. That increased amount of stress on the low back often leads to pain.

Why it Matters:

Spinal adjustments are considered a highly safe, effective, non-invasive, and evidence-based option for women to find relief from pregnancy induced back pain. In fact, Chiropractors often also provide specific exercise and stretching recommendations to help ensure lasting results.

A recent study found that patients who received care from their OB-GYN and Chiropractor together had greater reductions in pain and an improved quality of life versus those who only saw an OB-GYN alone.

  • Approximately 92% of pregnant women are advised by their primary doctor to exercise and stay active during pregnancy.
  • Choosing the right pillows and finding the best stretches can dramatically reduce any pregnancy induced neck and mid-back.
  • The low back pain that many women experience during pregnancy can often be relieved with chiropractic adjustments.

Next Steps:

If you or someone you know is expecting, reducing stress, staying physically active, and finding relief from those pregnancy related aches and pains are important. We hope you’ll consider including us as part of your birth team. An amazing 90% of women report a high level of satisfaction with receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy, so it’s no wonder that chiropractic is one of the most popular “organic” healthcare choices for expecting moms.

Science Source(s):

Optimizing Pain Relief During Pregnancy Using Manual Therapy. Canadian Family Physician. 2013.

Pregnancy: How Your Body Changes

Bottom Line:

A woman’s body undergoes many transformations during the nine months of pregnancy. Some of these changes are visible, such as an expanding belly, while others, such as morning sickness and backaches, may not be as visible but equally well known. Then there a few body changes may be unexpected and catch some women by surprise.

Why it Matters:

During pregnancy, the hormone Relaxin is produced to help loosen the joints and ligaments of the pelvis to best prepare the body for birth. Relaxin not only relaxes those ligaments in the pelvis, but also stretches other joints and ligaments all over the body.

This is one reason pregnant women develop back pain or sciatica (pain that starts in the back and travels down the leg into the foot).

As those ligaments become looser and the body’s center of gravity is pulled forward by a growing baby, a woman’s low back can become over-stressed by these biomechanical changes, resulting in pain.

  • Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy that relaxes the joints and ligaments to prepare the body for birth.
  • What’s more, the other joints and ligaments of the body also become “looser” due to Relaxin, which can lead to changes in the body’s movement patterns.
  • These changes, while welcomed, often result in low back pain and other joint pains throughout pregnancy.

Next Steps:

Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life, and a unique time for the body. The changes that help guide a successful birth process can also wreak havoc on a woman’s back and joints. If you or an expecting mother you know are looking to find natural pain relief solutions, give us a call. We’re happy to evaluate you and work with your birth team to provide non-invasive, safe, effective care that can help keep you active through all three trimesters!

Science Source(s):

Back Pain in Pregnancy. University of Rochester Medical Center. 2020.

Postural Stress: The Link Between Tech Neck and Pain

Postural stress occurs not only because of your anatomy but also because of the decisions you make each day. Believe it or not, many of us spend 2 hours or more per day on our smartphones or tablets. That adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of hours each year! The position we hold our heads in while using these devices is referred to as “tech neck,” and over the past few years, the pain associated with these positions has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Why it Matters:

It’s estimated that tilting your head forward even 15 degrees can increase the weight of your head on your neck by over 3X. Tilting your head forward 60 degrees can nearly 10X the stress and strain on your neck. Over time, this can result in pain, stiffness, dysfunction, headaches, and more. The good news about postural stress and tech neck is that a few simple changes to your routine can help you reduce your risk of experiencing pain.

  • Tech neck is the term used to describe the flexed head and neck position that occurs when looking down at your smartphone.
  • Even 15 degrees of forward bending (flexion) can increase the stress of your head on your neck by 3X.
  • Taking breaks every 15 minutes and looking up from your phone or tablet can help your body reset and give your muscles a chance to relax.

Next Steps: Reducing the symptoms of tech neck is more than merely changing the angle of how you look at your phone. By properly evaluating your ergonomics, we can make personalized recommendations to help your body help you maintain a more balanced posture. By reducing the stress on your neck, you can look forward to many years of continuing to enjoy your smart devices!

Science Source(s): “Tech Neck” Taking a Toll on Posture. Columbia Spine. 2018.

Improving Your Posture to Keep Your Spine Healthy

Posture is described as the position that your body maintains while standing, sitting, or lying down. Most experts would agree that “good” posture reduces the stress on your spine by balancing the load placed upon the muscles and ligaments that support it.

Why it Matters:

Good posture is essential because it helps you keep your bones and joints in proper alignment. This helps reduce the wear and tear on your joints and can decrease the strain on the ligaments that support your spine. New research also indicates that maintaining a good or balanced posture can also help you use your muscles more efficiently and prevent fatigue.

To prevent back pain, your best posture may be one of motion. If you sit in one position too long, small nerves will detect the pressure and send messages to your brain, indicating that you’re uncomfortable which prompts you to move.

Researchers believe that these “uncomfortable” signals before pain is our body’s way of telling us to move or change positions. One of the best strategies to reduce neck and low back pain associated with sitting is to use a standing desk.

  • Good posture means keeping your spinal curves aligned and weight evenly distributed.
  • Changing positions or using a standing desk can help you improve your posture and reduce your risk of neck and back pain.
  • Standing desks have been shown to reduce back pain by over 30% compared to sitting at a desk.

Next Steps: One of the best ways to improve your posture is to not stay in a single position for too long. Changing your position throughout the day, using lumbar support when seated, and even using a standing desk, are all ways that you can reduce fatigue and pain.

Science Source(s): Back Health and Posture. Cleveland Clinic. 2020 Breaking up workplace sitting time with intermittent standing bouts improves fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort in overweight/obese office workers. Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 2014

Perfect Posture?

May is Posture Month.

“Sit up straight and stop slouching!” You’ve likely heard this since childhood, but is there such a thing as perfect posture? The answer is a bit complicated. The latest research shows that it may be more important to think about a “balanced” or “dynamic” posture than perfect posture, and we’re also discovering that our ability to change positions and move may be more critical than our static position while standing or sitting.

Why it Matters:

Your posture is made up of a dynamic pattern of responses, reflexes, and habits, not a single position. Gravity, your work environment, and your anatomy all play a role. For instance, sitting for hours on end staring at a computer screen is a perfect example of an imbalanced and challenged posture as a result of ergonomics. Over time, this imbalance can lead to forward head posture, which can cause pain and even degenerative changes in your joints. Forward head posture affects millions of people who spend their days using computers. It places stress on the neck and shoulders and weakens the supporting muscles.

  • Forward head posture affects millions and results in neck pain for up to 75% of people.
  • Neck pain, tension, stiffness, and tenderness are all signs of chronic forward head posture.
  • Trapezius strengthening has been shown to provide clinically significant relief for those struggling with neck pain as a result of forward head posture.

Next Steps: Strength and flexibility play a significant role in your posture. Having good core strength and balancing that strength with flexibility can help you dynamically adapt to your environment. While “perfect” posture may not exist, each one of us has an opportunity to improve our strength, flexibility, and ergonomics to reduce our likelihood of experiencing pain. If you spend your days looking at a computer, let us know. We’ll be happy to recommend a care plan to help you balance the effects of all that screen time.

Science Source(s): Effects of Lower Trapezius Strengthening Exercises on Pain, Dysfunction, Posture Alignment, Muscle Thickness, and Contraction Rate in Patients with Neck Pain; Randomized Controlled Trial. Medical Science Monitor 2020

The Chronic Pain Crisis is the Opioid Crisis

Bottom Line:
What began as a chronic pain epidemic has evolved into our current opioid crisis. For decades, opioids
were marketed as a “safer” alternative to treat chronic pain. However, as the number of people with
chronic pain began to rise, so did the number of people addicted and dying from prescription opioids.

Why it Matters:
To address our opioid crisis, we will first need to find non-pharmacological solutions to our chronic pain
epidemic. Over the past few years, major healthcare agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recognized that non-pharmacological approaches
should be the first line of care for the management of chronic pain.
New studies have indicated that there is a reason to be hopeful. Non-drug care options, such as
chiropractic, are very effective at helping people reduce pain. Even people with severe chronic pain have
been shown to benefit from the care that chiropractors can provide.

  • Chronic low back pain will affect up to 20% of people over 18 years old.
  • Cooperation between your Medical Doctor and Chiropractor can help provide the best results.
  • Chiropractic care has been shown to provide better outcomes than care in a pain clinic.

Next Steps:
This change to a primarily non-pharmacological based approach to care for chronic pain is
unprecedented in healthcare. Yes, there will always be certain circumstances where powerful
medications may need to be used, but most pain patients don’t fall into this category.
We can’t undo the damage that has been done, but we can learn from the past and work together to
overcome chronic pain. The research continues to show that chiropractic care is both safe and effective
for treating your pain without any of the dangerous side effects associated with opioid medications.

Science Source(s):
Prevalence of chronic low back pain: a systematic review. Rev Saude Publica. 2015
A Comparison Between Chiropractic Management and Pain Clinic Management for Chronic Low-Back
Pain in a National Health Service Outpatient Clinic. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary
Medicine. Volume 14, Number 5, 2008

The Opioid Crisis: How Did We End Up Here?

Bottom Line:
About 30 years ago, there was a fundamental shift in medicine as to how pain was understood and
treated. The number of people with chronic pain seemed to be rising, and it was thought that the options
to address the pain weren’t adequate.

Why it Matters:
As doctors paid more attention to assessing pain, they also paid more attention to treating pain. Opioid
medication began to be prescribed more often frequently for symptoms such as chronic low back or neck
Up until then, opioids were only prescribed for severe pain after surgery or in advanced-stage cancer.
But, in the early 1990s, that all changed. New opioids formulas were promoted as being less addictive,
and physicians were encouraged to prescribe these drugs far more liberally than before.
Prescribing these drugs very quickly led to a variety of problems. First, patients rapidly adapted to the
drugs, requiring larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect over time. Second, these drugs
weren’t very effective at addressing chronic pain. They provided short term relief, but as time went on,
they seemed to become less useful for a lot of people. Finally, these drugs provided a euphoric feeling
that quickly led to addiction.

  • Starting in the 1990’s, doctors were encouraged to prescribed opioids for chronic pain.
  • It’s estimated that 59% of opioids users report having experienced back pain.
  • In the US alone, there is an average of 130 deaths per day due to opioids.

Next Steps:
Now 30 years later, we are consumed with the opioid crisis. Over 130 people die each day from opioids,
and over 40% of those deaths are from prescribed opioids.
If there is a silver lining to this crisis, it’s that we now realize that the answers and treatment of chronic
pain is rarely found in a bottle. Many leading healthcare organizations are now recommending nonpharmacological approaches to treatment of chronic pain, including chiropractic.
This month our practice will be focusing on providing you with information on how you can overcome pain
without the use of drugs. It’s time to get your life back naturally!

Science Source(s):
Understanding the Epidemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018

Opiates vs. Opioids: What’s the Difference?

Bottom Line:

If you haven’t heard about the problems that opioids have caused over the past decade, you must be
living under a rock! Did you know that many of the people dying from opioids aren’t recreational drug
users looking for the next high? In fact, they are people who were prescribed these drugs by their doctors
for the treatment of chronic pain.

Why it Matters:

To understand how this epidemic started, it’s essential to understand the differences between opioids and
Opiates are drugs derived from the flowering opium poppy plant. Morphine is an example of an opiate.
These drugs have been linked to physical dependency, high tolerance, and addiction.
Opioids on the other hand are synthetic (or made in a lab). When opioid receptors in the brain become
activated, they produce feelings of pleasure and pain. All opioid drugs act on these receptors. Some are
up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, some of the most commonly prescribed being oxycodone and
Oxycodone exhibits the highest risk of abuse and poses the most significant dangers. It affects the
nervous system in the same way as heroin, underscoring how highly addictive and dangerous these
drugs are.

*Opioids can have a negative impact on your emotions, breathing, digestion, and movement.

*Fentanyl, a pain reliving opioid, is 100 times more potent than the opiate morphine.

*Opioids are highly addictive and not meant to be used for chronic pain.

Next Steps:

Next week, we’ll be highlighting how you can go “beyond the pill,” and we’ll discuss a variety of non-pharmacological options that are very effective at treating pain.