THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER

JULY 2003

 

Chiropractic During Pregnancy
If chiropractic is important for everybody, then it is doubly important for a woman during her pregnancy.


Pregnancy can be a physically stressful time. It might seem like a visit to the chiropractor would be at best awkward and perhaps even physically impossible for a woman who is pregnant.

 

However, modern technology and chiropractic technique make the chiropractic adjustment, which is necessary for everyone, a pleasant experience even for a woman in her third trimester.


Pregnancy can create several different stresses:
-On the structure of the mother's body,
-On the mother's nerve system, and
-On the baby itself.


Chiropractic can ease or eliminate all of these stresses and allow a woman to truly enjoy this special time of her life.


Stress Upon the Structure

The female body is subject to tremendous physical, emotional and chemical stress during pregnancy. However, a woman's body is designed to adapt to these stresses very adequately, providing that all the mechanisms are functioning properly. All the weight-supporting structures must adapt to the developing child. This is especially true of the spine which supports the weight of the entire body except the legs. If one or more of the bones of the spine is subluxated (out of their proper alignment), there is no way that the mother-to-be's body can function normally, that is, from a structural standpoint. The increased weight-bearing responsibility of the body necessitates continual adaptation which can only occur if the spine is in proper alignment.

 

Stress Upon the Nerve System
Even more important than the structural stress is the interference caused by these subluxations to the vital nerve system of the mother. Every muscle, ligament, organ, and gland is controlled by the nerves hat exit from between the bones of the spine.

 

There are physiological and chemical changes taking place in the mother's body starting from the moment of conception. It is important that these changes occur and that she adapt to them as quickly as possible. Vertebral subluxation, which causes nerve interference, disrupts the body's communication system and detrimentally affects that process. It is critical that a mother-to-be do everything possible to insure her health during the entire pregnancy. Chiropractic is an important part of the process from conception until delivery.

 

Stress Upon the Baby
There is another very important factor to consider. It is one that every woman realizes but all too often ignores. It is the physiological relationship between the mother and the developing fetus. Every beneficial thing a pregnant woman does for herself also benefits the baby growing inside her. Conversely, every detrimental thing a woman does to herself is harmful to the baby. Good food is beneficial, a poor diet is harmful. Proper exercise and rest will produce a healthier child. For that nine-month period, the mother-to-be and developing child share everything, the good and the bad, the beneficial and the harmful.


The objective of the chiropractor is to remove interference to the nerve system which controls every body function. When the mother's entire body is working properly, the developing fetus, which is uniquely a part of her body, will function better, grow and develop better and be delivered in the easiest and most efficient manner possible.


If chiropractic is important for everybody, and it is, then it is doubly important for a woman during her pregnancy.

 

Webster Technique


As a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) I wanted to discuss a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment known as the Webster Technique (named after Dr. Larry Webster, DC its discoverer). I've used this technique quite a bit this past year and I was told by my patients that I need to share this with others.


We all know that chiropractic care benefits all aspects of your body's ability to be healthy. This is accomplished by working with the nervous system. Chiropractors work to correct subluxations, misalignments of the individual spinal bones that put pressure on the spinal cord and the spinal nerves causing malfunction in any part of the body and imbalance in surrounding muscles and ligaments.


A subluxation of the sacrum (the central triangular bone in your pelvis) causes tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments producing uterine constraint. It is these tense muscles and ligaments and their constraining effect on the uterus which may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the vertex (head down) position. This can lead to the baby presenting itself in breech position which may necessitate a C-section other invasive procedures.


The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which removes interference to the nervous system, balances out pelvic muscles and ligaments which in turn removes constraint to the woman's uterus and allows the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.


Dr. Larry Webster, Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this technique as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function for pregnant mothers. In expectant mothers presenting breech, there has been high reported success rate of the baby turning to the normal vertex position. Personally, I'm 6 for 6.


Any position of the baby other than vertex may indicate the presence of sacral subluxation and therefore result in intrauterine constraint. It is strongly recommended by instructors of this technique, that this specific analysis and adjustment of the sacrum be used throughout pregnancy, to detect imbalance and prevent intrauterine constraint.


Because of the effect the chiropractic adjustment has on all body functions, pregnant mothers should have their spines checked regularly throughout pregnancy, allowing for safer, easier deliveries and optimized health benefits for both the mother and baby.

 


How Big is Your Ripple?


One summer when I was a teen I spent every sunny day at the local swimming pool with my mother and brothers. Looking back on that summer I am amazed that we had so much fun, considering that much of it centered around some form of near drowning circumstance, like mercilessly splashing in the face or rapid prolonged dunkings, or leaps and jumps off the diving board that make me hurt just thinking about them.

 

There was one thing in particular that used to bother me then, and it is probably still true today. The adults didn't want to be splashed or dunked - or anything else that we kids were doing in our fun frenzy. They didn't seem to laugh out loud or smile like the kids did either. They would get annoyed whenever kids got too close to them. So we were "punished" by having that dreaded adult swim. This was a 15-minute period every hour where adults had the pool all to themselves. During those agonizingly long 15 minutes, the adults would basically wade around, holding their stomachs in, patting the surface of the water with their hands, the daring ones doing a few crawl strokes with their heads so high out of the water that their chins did not even get wet. So you knew as soon as the whistle blew signaling the end of adult swim, as if driven by some mad instinct all the kids would collectively jump in the pool from all edges and do our best to splash them all. The more water we moved, the better the effect.


"Making waves" and "rocking the boat" are things that happen only when you move the water. These expressions indicate that something is making a difference. When you drop a grain of sand in a pond the ripples are weak and barely extend a few feet, affecting very little near the edges. But use a big rock - kerploosh! -and the ripple will be strong as it spreads to even the farthest shore!

 

I recently received an article from a chiropractor that had said that people do not need to understand chiropractic to get the benefits from regular care. This statements was among a list of other things that he wrote, so at first it didn't stick out too much. But when I re-read that statement, I realized that this was making a tiny ripple with tiny effects. If he had said that people do not have to completely understand chiropractic to get some of the benefits of getting checked regularly I would agree. It seems reasonable that the individual being checked regularly would benefit by living some part of the week free of vertebral subluxation (for however long, at least until the next one is caused). That's of immense benefit to that person to be sure, even if he had no concept of chiropractic.

 

But when it comes to the benefit of chiropractic, though, there's much more on the list than an individual life free of vertebral subluxation.


The person who understands why they are getting checked will also choose to have their family checked. They will also be open to the idea of telling their neighbors - hey who wants to live next to a subluxated family. What if the guy next door owns a pitbull?  Do you want him building the fence that will keep that dog from getting into your yard and attacking your kids to be built while he is subluxated? If they understand, they will also agree that the local police officers -- armed and having to respond to unusual situations -- should be checked. Add to that list of people in your community the teachers, the school bus drivers, and the other drivers on the road who are separated from this individual by a barrier consisting of a paint-stripe! How about the people who prepare food in their local restaurants, deliver explosive gasoline to the local stations, process their kids' college applications, clean up hazardous debris from the curbsides, count the money in their bank accounts, join the nations armed forces, etc.? Which one of these people should be left subluxated?


Doesn't this one individual benefit from all of them living free of subluxation as well?

 

And when it benefits his entire family, it also benefits the entire next generation - and the one after that and all those to come who will be on the distant shores of a future yet to unfold. All because that one person understood what it was all about. There's more to chiropractic that ignorant compliance. There's a world to rock! You have to make some waves!


When All Else Fails:
"READ THE INSTRUCTIONS"


I recently saw the above statement on a sweatshirt. It was superimposed over a picture of the Bible. Without doubt it is an Instructional Book of Life. It made me think about how often we fail to read the instructions before undertaking a task.


Occasionally I may find myself at a self-serve gas station unable to get the pump going. Then I read the little instruction screen that says, "Pay the attendant inside first." How often do we attempt to put together a new toy, new bicycle or a piece of furniture without bothering to read the instructions, unless of course we get stuck? Who takes the time to read the owner's manual before driving off in a new car? Who ever reads the thick instruction booklet on a new VCR or DVD player? What do we do? We plug it in, turn it on, and begin to use it right away. If it doesn't work right, we try what we use to do before even though it might be a totally different model and manufacturer.


When all else fails, then we read the instruction booklet. Okay, here's an admission: this failure to read instructions first is a more pronounced problem among men! I don't know, maybe we feel it is wimpy to have to read instructions.


Computer programmers have found a way to deal with this problem. They put the instructions on the screen and force you to go through them one screen at a time by clicking on "next." Further, they give you all kinds of warnings and graphics to make you fearful to click to the next screen without reading the instructions. Of course, anyone who has used a computer is more likely to follow the screen's instructions. It's easier to take apart and reassemble a new back-yard barbecue grill then it is to fix a crashed computer.


It never hurts to read the instructions first even if it does take a little longer and most of the time it avoids difficulties that are time consuming and have the potential for harm.


Ironically, the most important "appliance" in the world does not come with instructions. Wouldn't it be nice if that new baby came into the world with "instructions for care and upbringing" tattooed on his little behind. There are many books on upbringing that help, not the least of which is the Bible itself. Unfortunately, most of the books often elicit the response "that wouldn't work with my kid!" That is because every child has a different personality. So we do the best we can.


The care of the body presents a similar problem. Every human body is a little different. There aren't any instructions that fit everybody. We are designed as different on the inside as we are on the outside. Our individual bodies' needs and functions are as different as our personalities.


An instructional book is an impossibility. There are some common-sense measures regarding diet, rest and exercise that we can apply to everyone so we are not totally at a loss.


Even better, we do not have to remember to pray for supernatural intervention. That intervention is automatic. The Creator placed within the living body an innate intelligence capable of running the body from birth to death. It knows how to cool the "appliance" when it overheats, shut it down for rest, sleep and repair when overworked and so much more. It perfectly bums fuel (food) and eliminates wastes. It is run by the world's most advanced computer, better than a Pentium 1000. Its function is coordinated by the brain and nerve system.


But glitches can occur in the system. When a bone out of place in the spine causes these glitches, we call it a vertebral subluxation. A chiropractor corrects vertebral subluxation so the computer can function properly and people can experience a fuller, more productive life. That is no small thing. Before you develop problems that cannot be corrected or just to make sure all your parts are working as they should, READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS: See Your Chiropractor Regularly


What If?


At one time or another most of us have played the "What If" game. It is usually associated with an unpleasant circumstance or an unpleasant situation. "What if I had said such and such to that person?" Would things be different? "What if I did not say what I did?"


Often we ask these questions after some sort of tragedy, especially when there is a series of events that led up to the tragedy. If any one of them took a different course the outcome might have been different.


The movie about the Titanic is a perfect example. What if they had not been going so fast? What if the lookouts had binoculars? What if they had seen the iceberg sooner and been able to turn in time? If any one factor had been different, the disaster might have been avoided.


Playing the "what if" game is not very productive. It usually leads to resentment, frustration and blaming oneself for circumstances that may very well be out of your control.


There is one beneficial way of playing the game of "what if" that may make an important impact on your life. Play the "what if" game before the fact. Instead of saying, "what if I had applied myself in school and had gone to college" when you are 50, how about saying it when you are fifteen. Instead of saying "what if I had saved 5% of my paycheck for retirement" at age 65, you say it at 25 ... and do it!


What changes we could make in our lives. One of the great, untapped resources in this country is our senior citizens. They possess great wisdom and experience. Some of that wisdom may very well be in the "what if" category. I recently heard an older gentleman make a statement which is a variation of what if. He lamented "if I had known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself." With that understanding let us look at some of the "what ifs" concerning our life and health.


What if every time a fast food server says, "do you want to super size that?" you said no? What if instead of sitting down and watching television with a bag of chips and a coke, you took a walk with a bottle of water? What if you joined a health club (and went) instead of putting the money into satellite TV with over 300 channels? What if you went to bed one hour earlier each night? What if you read a good book or maybe THE Good Book for half an hour before bed instead of watching the news with all its murder, robbery and kidnapping?


Here's a big what if.


What if you went to the chiropractor on a regular basis, not just when you had a problem? Perhaps not only would you never have the problem, but other areas of your health might improve rather than deteriorate. Maybe even other aspects of your life would change, like your energy levels, your performance, your productivity and/or your attitudes. What if your spouse, your children, your parents, your other relatives and your friends were under regular chiropractic care? What if everyone you knew was and everyone they knew was also? Do you think this would be a healthier, happier, more productive community?


Wouldn't it be nice to find out?

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