We are proud to have on our team Dr. Heidi Henrickson who has a Diplomate degree in Chiropractic Pediatrics from the Academy Council of Chiropractic Family Practice. She has extensive training and years of experience working with women, infants and children. She is also certified to perform the Webster Technique, an analysis and adjustment used during the chiropractic care of women during their pregnancy. This chiropractic technique helps to correct sacral misalignment, balance pelvic muscles and ligaments which in turn removes torsion to the woman's uterus, its resulting constraint to the baby, and allows the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.
The number one reason a woman seeks out chiropractic care during her pregnancy is for relief of sciatic pain. Inflammation anywhere along the pathway of the sciatic nerve is called Sciatica. Another popular reason for chiropractic care during pregnancy is to correct spinal or pelvic misalignments that may be contributing to a breech baby. If the reason the fetus is in a breech type position is due to the bony structure or alignment of the mother's pelvis, chiropractic care can be very successful is allowing the baby to get itself into the optimal position for delivery. Dr. Heidi Henrickson has been performing this technique for years with great success. Please feel free to contact her to discuss your specific situation. All of our doctors have worked with women throughout their pregnancy including special circumstances like multiples, breech positions and placenta previa.
Aches and Pains During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an exciting phase in a woman’s life. During this time, the body is constantly changing and adapting. For some women, these changes lead to pain and discomfort. Structurally, as the uterus expands, the abdominal muscles are stretched and they lose their ability to help maintain good posture. The curve in the low back increases and the center of gravity is moved forward. This causes increased strain on the muscles and ligaments in the low back leading to pressure and pain.
As the pregnancy progresses, your body releases increased quantities of the hormone “relaxin.” This hormone causes a general relaxation of all ligaments in the body. The ligaments that normally hold the pelvis and hips tight become loose to help expand for the growing baby. This process causes strain on the joints and can affect their alignment.
It is thought that 50% of all women will experience back pain during their pregnancy. If you do experience pregnancy related pain, doctors of chiropractic are trained to evaluate and diagnose to see if the condition is the result of structural imbalances due to pregnancy or other pathology. Restriction or fixation in joint motion can cause swelling and irritation. This leads to pressure on the surrounding nerves. Pregnant women often suffer from sciatica. Sciatica is inflammation of the sciatic nerve as it exits out of the low back and travels down the leg to the toes. Anywhere along the nerve’s pathway, it can be irritated and this irritation is called sciatica. Chiropractic is very effective for most cases of sciatica.
Chiropractic treatments correct joint fixation/restrictions by applying manual pressure to specific areas to restore normal joint movement and alignment. In addition, chiropractic medicine utilizes a conservative, non-drug/non-surgical approach to care. Patients are examined in a non-invasive manner by evaluating body biomechanics and joint motion. A special pregnancy table will allow you to lie on your stomach comfortably during the treatment. Special attention will be paid towards balancing the muscle groups involved and stabilizing the pelvis. In addition, you will be given specific exercise to do as well as important factors to avoid. Studies show that 84% of women report relief from back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care.
Acupuncture can help reduce or eliminate many symptoms which may arise during your pregnancy such as nausea, heartburn, swelling, back and joint pain, general aches, sleeplessness, and fatigue. Treatments can also support structural and postural alignment and reduce muscle strain. Often times, the synergy of chiropractic and acupuncture create dramatic, quick relief.
Pregnancy massage is also very beneficial. Massage helps reduce swelling, alleviates stress on the weight bearing joints and surrounding muscles and facilitates circulation throughout the entire body. The therapist will work the muscles in the spine, buttocks and thigh. The muscles of the upper body often shorten due to enlarging breasts and the therapist will show you how to properly stretch these muscles and change your posture. Often times abdominal massage or foot and ankle massage will be incorporated.
Chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy can be very helpful during and after your pregnancy. The gentle hands-on touch of an experienced practitioner can help make your pregnancy the wonderful experience it should be.
(By Dr. Heidi Henrickson, FICPA in Body Mind and Spirit Magazine, 2003)
For more information and current research information check out www.icpa4kids.org