Getting back out there can be can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s because you received an injury and things just haven’t been the same since. Other times, it’s because you were never really “out there” in the first place and you may feel like it’s too late. You might even be insecure about looking like a novice. The reality is, while you are busy coming up with reasons why you can’t, your life is continuing to move past you at a rapid pace. There is no better time than now to make a change in the direction of wellness.
One way you could get back out there is to literally dance like no one is watching. Join a dance fitness class like Jazzercise, which offers low impact and high impact options, fitness in a group setting, and is just plain fun! It can be overwhelming to walk into a new workout facility, surrounded by mirrors and sometimes even flexing gym-goers. At Jazzercise there are no mirrors—on purpose. This welcome change allows all participants to enjoy the music, movements, and focus on wellness without being distracted by reflections in all directions.
As Alisa Hewitt, the owner of the New River Valley Jazzercise center explained, “Jazzercise combines aerobic, dance-based exercise with strength training to create a one of a kind workout. In 60 minutes we complete not only a cardio workout, but also include strength training targeting all of the major muscle groups.”
An important aspect of Jazzercise for those that are taking a journey back into fitness, especially from injury, is that there are low impact options. Certain classes are dedicated entirely to low impact workouts and each class can be modified to offer a low-impact approach. Alisa explained, “In our classes, low impact means only that we remove the “hop” and work with an emphasis on muscle rather than momentum.” There is less impact on the joints and back, which is music to the ears of anyone fighting for fitness while overcoming injury. Alisa elaborated, “This total body combination is excellent for cardiovascular conditioning, muscle development and toning, leading to more endurance and increased energy levels.”
This type of fitness routine is also cross-generational and done in a group setting. Working out in a group context helps with motivation, accountability and camaraderie. Young or old, friendships are formed while you are sweating it out. We are more likely to stick with exercise we enjoy and developing relationships is a great way to ensure enjoyment. It also turns the Jazzercise classes into a big dance party—and who doesn’t love a good dance party?
Speaking of dance parties—we need to take a moment to gush about how fun dance fitness, like Jazzercise, can be. Life can be so serious between demands at work, demands at home, and sad news stories in the media. Some days you’ve just got to dance! Jazzercise is a complete body workout and occurs in a supportive environment all while artists like Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Pitbull play the background. The routines are fun but also intentionally designed with wellness in mind. Alisa said, “All routines are professionally choreographed and reviewed by an exercise physiologist to ensure safety and effectiveness. “ For one hour, Jazzercise allows participants to step out of their daily demands and just exist in the context of fun music and health-benefitting dance moves. It’s a winning combination (pun absolutely intended).
“It can be intimidating to begin a new fitness program and to take that step into a new facility. Group fitness classes, like all of our classes at Jazzercise New River Valley, are a great way to get started,” affirmed Alisa. You have to start somewhere when getting back into a wellness routine or establishing a new routine altogether. Make sure that you endeavor on your wellness journey with a great support system that is aware of your fitness goals and unique circumstances. Talk about your goals with your chiropractor as well as any other key influencers of your health—to include fitness instructors. It’s never too late and since there is no better time than now, will you dance your way back out there?
When many people think of summer footwear, they think of sandals, specifically flip-flops.
While flip-flops may be a popular choice for the beach, they’re usually not the best option if you want to maintain a healthy, pain-free back, especially if you already suffer from chronic lower back pain due to arthritis, spondylolisthesis, sciatica, or a previous back injury.
The Problem With Flip-Flops
While standard flip-flops are cool, comfortable, and easy to put on and take off, there are a few important things they do not offer, such as:
- Foot and ankle support
- Protection against trips and falls
Flip-flops also cause people to walk differently than they would in a regular shoe: To keep them from flying off while walking, you have to pinch or curl your toes and shorten your stride. This puts unusual strain on your feet, hips, and lower back.
Your foot hits the ground differently when you’re wearing flip-flops, putting more pressure on the outside edges and less on the heel. This causes a slight rotation of the lower portion of your leg, which in turn changes the angle of your pelvis and encourages increased torsion in the lower spine. While all these effects may seem small, collectively they can cause stiffness and pain in the lumbar region, pain that may worsen over time.
Falls are one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor complaining of back pain, and you’re somewhat more likely to experience a fall when wearing flip-flops, due to the impact that an altered gait has on your balance and stability.
If You Can’t Live Without Flip-Flops
If flip-flops are a vital part of your summer, here are some tips to minimize pain and injury:
- Don’t live in flip-flops. Never wear them for long walks, shopping, or when you plan to be on your feet for long periods of time.
- The minute your back starts to hurt, slip off the flip-flops, apply ice to the painful area, and change into more supportive shoes. The longer you keep going once pain is present, the more strain you will put on your muscles and joints.
- Take it slow. Avoid running, jumping, and quick sideways movements while wearing flip-flops because of the limited support and shock absorption they offer.
If you’re ready to forego your flip-flops for other options, here are some to consider:
- Crocs. Although intended for people who work on and around boats, Crocs have several features that are supportive to your back. Their non-slip soles decrease the likelihood of falls, and they tend to have sufficient support and cushioning, and cups that keep your heels in place. Crocs also stay on your feet with no required changes to your natural waking stride, a big benefit for your back.
- Sport sandals and hybrid sneaker-sandals. This type of footwear also offers a viable alternative to flip-flops. They securely hug your feet and feature comfortable straps, toe guards, contoured foot beds, arch supports, and heel cups — all of which provide greater stability for your feet, knees, hips, and lower back.
When choosing summer footwear, be sure to consider all your options, and choose something that not only allows you to keep up with your active agenda, but also protects you from winding up on the sidelines nursing an aching back.
If you do experience back pain this summer, contact Tuck Chiropractic Clinic to schedule a consultation. In addition to treatment to help relieve or prevent back pain, our experienced chiropractors can provide expert advice for staying at your best this summer.
We spoke with a local lifetime athlete who has spent her career encouraging current and developing athletes—we knew there was a lot we could learn from her.
Anne Jones has made a career in tennis. First, as a collegiate athlete, playing on the Virginia Tech women’s team. Following that, she also served as the Women’s Tennis coach at Virginia Tech as well as for Blacksburg High School. Tennis has been a thread within Anne’s story, throughout much of her life. In between all the tennis she has mixed in other forms of athleticism such as marathons, triathlons, ultra races (50 miles!), and biking. Anne even has her own business, Triadventure, which is dedicated to introducing beginners to endurance training and improving the performance of current athletes.
Anne’s athleticism may sound intimidating, especially because she was a coach at the collegiate level, but in reality she is a tremendous champion and coach for new and emerging athletes. She is a great person to align with if you are trying to rediscover fitness or take it to the next level.
Recently, Anne started a tennis league for beginners and has witnessed first hand the joys of learning something new at a more seasoned age. The clinic that began as a one time class for those interested in the basics of tennis has resulted in a group of middle aged women, now affectionately knows as, “The Smash Girls” competitively playing league tennis. The women were all very inexperienced with tennis when they first began, some had never swung a racket, but now meet up multiple times a week and find themselves fitter than ever. Anne explained, “When the clinic was over they asked for more. They are healthier and stronger, fitness will do that for you.”
This may seem like just one story about one group of women but it is much bigger than that. It demonstrates the power of fitness to bring us together, to make our minds well, and to make our bodies healthy. It shows that it’s never too late to try something for the first time. It illustrates that we all have hidden talent and potential, just waiting to be tapped.
In addition to the clinic that produced The Smash Girls, Anne teaches other classes too. In fact, one of her players is Dr. Logan Brooke, based out of the Blacksburg Clinic. He explained, ““Recently, I decided to get back into tennis. Primarily for the social aspect, but also because tennis is a low impact sport that gives me a great cardio workout.”
You may wonder how tennis can possibly support back health, since it would seem tennis is all about the arms. As Anne explained to us, it is about the whole body, especially the core. “Most people think they are just swinging with their arms. You can’t hit any of the strokes without your core,” said Anne. Dr. Brooke echoed her sentiments; “It combines a cardiovascular workout with agility and flexibility. Playing tennis is a whole body experience.” It is also a workout that supports joint health and agility. Dr. Brooke explained:
Tennis offers some advantages as a sport. First, the hip joints get a great workout with the forward, backward and side-to- side movements. This prevents wear and tear in one direction like with running. Second, because the shoulders and upper back are involved, you get to work on mobility in these areas, which can decline with age. Finally, the games are usually quick, so there are many opportunities to rehydrate and stretch during the breaks.
Anne offered great insight into why trying something new is something we should all pursue, regardless of our season of life. She told us, ‘Mentally its good to keep the mind fresh. Tennis is a mind sport with a lot of strategy and technique.” Anne raises an excellent point. So will you try something new? Will you exercise and your mind and body in the pursuit of overall wellness? Will you get back out there?
To the person with back pain, we see you. We see the way your life has changed. We see the sadness you live with, knowing you have so much more to give but pain holds you back. We know not all days are bad, there are days where it is okay and it’s manageable but there are also days when it’s not.
We see your unique story. Maybe your pain keeps you from the golf course. Maybe your pain keeps you out of the gym. Maybe your pain keeps you in bed, when you’d rather be outside hiking and enjoying nature. Maybe your pain keeps you from paying with your grandchildren. Your story may be a different set of circumstances but the common thread is that back pain is keeping you from living life wide open.
We know your pain also comes with fear. You are afraid to try new things because it might cause the pain to flair up. You are afraid to be active, because you may “pay” for it later. You are also afraid that you are only living a shadow of your life. Most though, you are afraid this is what your norm will have to be for the rest of your life.
We also know a lot of people don’t get it. They think its just back pain, failing to realize it is all consuming. They don’t know that it impacts your day-to- day living. They don’t understand that there are many days you silently hurt, because that is the reality you have come to know and expect. Others just don’t know that seemingly simple tasks aren’t so simple with back pain.
We don’t want back pain to be all-consuming, confining, restricting, limiting. There is hope for an expressive life that can overcome the pain. There are health teams ready to support you and work with you to rise above the pain—and the fear and limitations. They are ready to hear the ways that back pain has impacted you and hear your dreams for a pain-free life. There are options beyond medication and surgery. It isn’t always easy. With chiropractic, consistent follow up care, and an integrated health team there is hope.
We know most of the time, within 2 weeks, our patients with back pain have marked improvement. We know chiropractic care works. We know it can’t be done in a vacuum and must be part of an overall healthy lifestyle. We know chiropractic offers hope that patients with back pain are so desperately seeking.
We see you—your unique story—your unique goals—your unique pain. Now we simply ask, are you ready to come see us?
For many of us, summer is a time to shake off the cobwebs and get active. Warm weather beckons us outdoors, and even if a vacation isn’t in the cards, longer days give us more time for outdoor exercise, yard work, and tackling deferred projects.
If lower back pain is threatening to hijack your summer plans, you’re not alone. According to the American Chiropractic Association, as many as four out of five people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. It’s the second most common reason for visiting the doctor, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
Here are some simple strategies that can help prevent lower back pain or keep it from returning:
1) Get More Exercise
It’s a bit of a paradox: You may want to limit exercise and rest when your back is bothering you. But, many people actually develop back pain because of a sedentary lifestyle. Regular physical activity has been shown to help ease inflammation and muscle tension, and the right type of exercise can be therapeutic and promote healing. So, get moving!
2) Keep Your Weight Down
The thought of wearing a swimsuit inspires many a weight-loss plan. But taking off a few pounds shouldn’t just be about your appearance. Another good reason to lose weight is that carrying extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse. This extra weight shifts your center of gravity, putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 10 pounds of your ideal weight can help control lower back pain.
3) Find Your Proper Sleeping Position
Many people look forward to catching up with their sleep during their summer vacation. But the position you sleep in can have a big impact on how your body – and specifically your back – feels.
Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest is often suggested. If you prefer to sleep on your back, slip a pillow under your knees and a small pad or rolled-up towel under your lower back. Sleeping on your stomach is particularly hard on your back, but if you are a stomach sleeper, place a pillow under your hips to reduce back strain.
Check out our guide to sleeping positions to see what position might be best for you. If you are prone to lower back pain, talk to a chiropractor about the best sleeping position based on your specific needs.
4) Be Careful When Lifting
Whether you’re catching a plane, taking a hike, or heading for the beach, summer is a time when a lot of people carry around a lot of heavy gear.
When lifting heavy objects, never bend from the waist or twist your body. Instead, bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects — pushing is always easier on your back.
5) Pick the Right Bag
You may see red flags when you think of picking up something very heavy. But, did you know that carrying smaller, less-heavy bags can also do a number on your lower back?
Avoid oversized totes to the beach and instead choose a bag with a wide, adjustable strap that’s long enough to reach over your head messenger-style. This distributes the weight more evenly, keeping your shoulders even and reducing stress on your back. When carrying a bag without a long strap, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the body. Periodically purge bags of things you don’t need to lighten the load.
Saving Your Summer
Back pain can have many causes, including muscular strain, sprains, fractures, and other accidental injuries. The good news is that most lower back pain can resolve in days or weeks, and surgery is rarely indicated.
If your lower back pain persists even when you follow the tips above, don’t suffer in silence. Contact Tuck Chiropractic Clinic for a free consultation. In addition to treatment, a chiropractor can give you expert advice on the best ways of keeping your back pain-free this summer, and beyond.
Image Copyright: epicstockmedia / 123RF Stock Photo
It was Tuesday, March 21 and Savanah felt miserable. She was 38 weeks pregnant and experiencing severe back pain. While she knew there was a chance she was experiencing back labor—she just wasn’t quite sure. Savanah reached out to the Vinton Tuck Chiropractic office 15 minutes before close and asked for an appointment. Dr. Smith gladly saw Savanah and gave her a much-needed adjustment.
The relief brought about by the adjustment was so successful that the pain disappeared and Savanah worried she wasn’t really in labor after all. However, much to Savanah’s delight she was. Sweet baby Vera was born at 1:01 am on March 22, less than 8 hours after her adjustment with Dr. Smith. We love this story and the important role chiropractic played in Savanah’s positive birthing experience and Vera’s safe arrival. She told us, “I don’t feel that my labor would have been the same had I not been adjusted that day.”
Savanah has a “hands full, heart full” kind of life. Her big and blended family has a total of 6 children, 4 of which she carried in her belly and 2 of which she carried in her heart. Another fun fact—5 of the 6 children are girls! Vera is the youngest and absolutely adored by her siblings.
Chiropractic care was an integral part of 3 of Savanah’s 4 pregnancies. She first sought chiropractic care when she was “quite miserable” toward the end of her second pregnancy. It was the suggestion of her midwife, Crystal Fink, with Breath of Life Midwifery, that brought her to the Bedford Tuck Chiropractic office. Over the course of her second, third, and fourth pregnancies chiropractic played a key role in Savanah’s comfort and great birthing experiences.
She has received treatments from various Tuck Chiropractic doctors in a variety of locations, based on where she was living at the time and general convenience. Regardless of the doctor or the office she had positive experiences that made her pregnancies more comfortable and promoted better health for her and her babies. In fact, Savanah described her prenatal adjustments as, “the most exciting event on my calendar during pregnancy!”
Chiropractic adjustments not only relieve back pain associated with pregnancy but as demonstrated by Savanah’s story, chiropractic treatments also relax the pelvis to promote a better labor and delivery process. For two of her pregnancies, Savanah gave birth the same day she was adjusted.
Savanah is soon to be licensed as a midwife with Breath of Life Midwifery. She explained to us, “We recommend that every pregnant woman receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy and especially last trimester.” In addition to easing pain associated with pregnancy, she points out the labor and delivery benefits. Savanah said, “We love to send clients with malpositioned babies to receive chiropractic care because the adjustment realigns everything allowing the baby to get in a better position to make pregnancy, labor and delivery easier for the mother, baby and birth attendant.” We love how Savanah is an advocate for her health, the health of her children, and also the women she will soon serve as a midwife.
1) Change your mind
One of the biggest health battles takes place between your ears, in your mind. Understand the foundational role that your thought life plays in your ability to achieve health goals. The Mayo Clinic indicates, “having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.” Consider practical ways you can start feeding your mind healthy thought-food. Subscribe to podcasts that serve as encouragement. Have a work out buddy you enjoy spending time with that frames your workout in a positive light. If you are the kind of person that needs “tough love” during workouts seek out a personal trainer that will drive you in the way you need, pushing you towards realizing your dreams for excellent health.
2) Learn from the pros
Even though a wealth of information can be found on the internet, within fitness magazines, or in self-help books the real power comes in speaking with a person, face-to-face about your health and wellness routine. This is especially true related to body mechanics during weight lifting and also every day posture. Lean into the professionals who have dedicated years to the pursuit of an education and experience related to anatomy and physiology. This could be consulting with a personal trainer about the proper posture for each weight lifting activity. It could also mean working with your chiropractor to discuss how adjustments can support great posture and body mechanics. Identifying stretches and exercises that can be done on your own time is also a great step towards taking ownership of your health and an excellent supplement to your work with the pros.
3) Banish your routine
Hear us out on this one. Yes, we agree creating and sticking with a routine, like Sunday night meal prep, is a great way to ensure you stay on track. However, switching up healthy choices, within that routine, is a great way to keep yourself satisfied psychologically and also to keep your body on its toes. As one Mayo Clinic article highlights, “Trying new things leads to increased confidence and self-esteem. It reduces boredom and loneliness, and it’s a major driver in personal growth.” Perhaps swap your spinach salad for kale or find a fresh new smoothie recipe that maximizes on the fresh seasonal fruits of the summer. Here’s another practical example, if you run the same 2 mile jogging course each day your muscles get used to that workout. With the help of a chiropractor or another health professional, you can identify a novel workout routine, which will exercise different muscle groups and add variety to your routine, which will stimulate you mentally. Look for ways to banish your routine even within the meals you eat. Satisfy yourself psychologically with new healthy choices within the structure of your existing wellness routine.
4) Seek support for change
While it may sound simple to make a resolve like, “I’m going to stop drinking soda,” that is a huge undertaking for the person attempting to eliminate a favorite beverage from their day. Health changes often start off easy, with tremendous resolve, and quickly get difficult when stress and life circumstances kick in. In order to shake up your health positively you should seek support. Let your friends, family, and even health care practitioners know what you are endeavoring to do. Identifying a group that will hold you accountable, because they have your best interest in mind, is a great step towards positive change. In today’s digital climate you can even find groups on Facebook or other social media platforms where you are able to check in and report on progress with changes.
As Zig Ziglar once said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Figure out where to start, at this very moment, to ensure you are setting yourself up for great health changes. Choose which step is the right one to take and head in that direction with confidence. Remember, our team is here to offer chiropractic care to support your health goals and we are also cheering you on, as you make choices in pursuit of wellness.
He isn’t sure exactly where the interest came from but at 6 years old Dr. Matthis (just “Lee” at that time) was certain that someday he would be a general and vascular surgeon. He supposes that his desire to become a surgeon was in part because of the outdoorsman hobbies he had growing up. He was born and raised in Kenansville, North Carolina (“God’s Country”) located between Raleigh and Wilmington. He spent a lot of time hunting and fishing and in his family the expectation was “if you kill it, you grill it.” Matthis assumes that mantra played a role in his intrigue with anatomy and physiology.
When Matthis was in 6 th grade he had the opportunity to explore his desired career tract first hand. He had a family friend that was a surgeon and allowed him to go on post-op and pre-op rounds. He absolutely loved it! A week or so later Matthis came back and scrubbed in for surgery. He had a laser focus on this career path but painful curveball was thrown at him by life, derailing his dream.
One of Matthis’ biggest champions in life was his grandmother, affectionately known as “Meme.” She lived only 5 miles down the road from him and was a huge part of his life. She always had a big smile on her face—especially when she was dancing the Charleston (which she did often). When Matthis was 17 he lost his Meme, while she was having a “routine” surgical procedure. This exposed him to the shadow side of surgery and caused him to take pause and carefully evaluate his career aspirations.
The loss of his Meme was staggering and derailed Matthis from dream. He still planned to pursue premed in undergraduate school with a biology degree but felt a bit lost when trying to envision his end goal. Sometimes it is the little things that have the biggest impact on our lives and provide redirection, for Matthis is was a little tweak to his knee.
Matthis has always been active and in high school he played baseball and also worked in construction. He managed to tweak his knee enough that it was bothersome and interfering with his work and play. His mom referred him to a chiropractor and Matthis got his first adjustment. As Matthis explained, “The chiropractor adjusted my knee and I thought it was pretty cool. She then told me I would be good at it and gave me a book. The book talked a lot about anatomy and physiology and I was drawn to it.” He also loved that Chiropractic is a history rich profession. Matthis elaborated, “I did not have a miraculous experience with a chiropractor. I did not go in lame and come out walking. The improvement was a mild improvement on my quality of life.” That self-described “mild” improvement left a lasting impression. Matthis realized that he wanted to be part of a profession that allows people to move from living mediocre lives to expressive lives, without surgical intervention. This is his goal as a doctor of chiropractic and why he loves what he does so much.
The journey of Matthis becoming a chiropractor is one laced with joy and intrigue but also contains threads of grief, all of which can be powerful motivators. Matthis has now been with Tuck Chiropractic for nearly 10 years and is a source of enthusiasm for Tuck Chiropractic, as well as the profession of chiropractic. He is a thought leader for advocating for the benefits of chiropractic care and he is also a lot of fun to follow on Twitter. He lives a life wide open—embracing each day and each moment. The answer to “why chiropractic?” for Matthis is a powerful, compelling, and personal story. It speaks volumes about the ability of chiropractic to leave a positive impact on lives—both patients and doctors alike.
When you have children, of course you want to make sure they grow up to be fit and healthy, and setting a good example is very important. Research has shown that when parents are physically active, it increases the odds that their children will be active as well.
But it can be a challenge to juggle work, family, and exercise. According to research, taking even short exercise breaks during your workday can be beneficial. But what about at home? If you’re looking for ways to stay healthy as a busy family, here are some tips:
1) Turn Chores Into a Game
Family chores are inevitable, so why not make them a fun opportunity to exercise as a family? Instead of assigning chores to each family member, turn doing chores into a game by racing to see how fast you can get the house cleaned, and trying to beat your time next week. Some other ideas:
- Conduct individual races among family members doing separate chores
- Crank up the music while sweeping and vacuuming
- Play I Spy after dinner to get the table cleared and items put away
- Take the dog for a walk as a family
2) Plan Outdoor Activities
Try setting aside one weekend a month to do something active as a family. This might include swimming in the summer, sledding or skiing in the winter, taking a long walk in the spring, or a nature scavenger hunt in the fall.
Visiting your local zoo or science museum provides physical exercise and teaches your children more about the world as a bonus. Bringing along a picnic lunch and some healthy snacks will round out the day and satisfy the hunger that often accompanies physical activity.
3) Take Classes Together
Many fitness clubs and community centers cater to families, so ask whether they offer yoga, swimming, or aerobics classes to parents and children together. If your child is too young to participate, consider classes that will help you burn calories with your baby by incorporating them into yoga moves, pushing them along during stroller workouts, or getting them used to the water with mom and tot swimming lessons.
4) Repurpose Your Family Room
Family rooms can be a center for unhealthy activities in the home: endless hours of watching television and playing video games, mindless snacking on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, and nothing to encourage fitness or physical activity.
But there are some ways to add fitness into your family room without investing in a huge makeover:
- Set a time limit on television viewing.
- Designate certain shows as “fitness-only,” meaning you and your family will pump weights during commercials.
- Add a get-moving type of video game like Wii Fit to your collection.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K., testers of Wii sports games had higher heart rates while playing, and consistently burned more calories than testers using conventional video games.
One more thing: families who eat healthful foods also tend to have other healthy habits. So, if you want to slim down, get your whole family involved and you’ll be more likely to succeed, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy their meals and clean their plates.
Even if you spend long hours at your job, the trick to juggling work, family, and physical activity is to make the most of the time you do have with your family. When you do have a block of time free, try to schedule activities that incorporate moving in the outdoors.
When family obligations like chores demand your time, figure out a way you can incorporate exercise and fun into the routine. And if you do have time to exercise outside the home, try to do it in ways that allow you children to work out, too.
It can be a tough balancing act, but is very much worth it!
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Pregnancy is an amazing and joyous time for many women. There is excited anticipation as new life develops. While this time is incredibly special it is often accompanied by a variety of aches, pains, and discomforts. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association indicates that between 50-70% of pregnant women experience back pain.
What’s with all this back pain? As a pregnant woman’s belly grows, along with the baby, her center of gravity shifts forward as she develops increased weight on the front part of her body. This can lead to poor posture, “sway back” or an increased lordosis, resulting in pressure on the joints and irritation in the surrounding nerves. Additionally, the extra weight gain that the body is unaccustomed to can put extra stress and strain on the joints and connective tissue.
As if feeling discomfort and pain weren’t enough it is coupled with the fact that pregnant women are very limited in the medications they can take to mitigate their symptoms and conditions. The American Pregnancy Association recommends all pregnant speak to a physician first before taking any medications—whether prescription or over the counter. Fortunately, chiropractic care for pregnant women offers relief from and prevention of back pain, headaches, and other physical discomforts.
Dr. Jennifer Rathmann, a Chiropractor with the Blacksburg Clinic explains, “Adjustments for pregnant women help keep the pelvis aligned to prevent back pain as well as sciatica type symptoms.” Ensuring proper alignment thereby relieves the pressure on joints in the back and nerves in the surrounding area. Dr. Rathmann does not speak to the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care from a physician’s perspective only; she also chose this course of treatment for herself, during each of her pregnancies.
There are other conditions and symptoms that trouble pregnant women, which are unable to be treated with commonplace medications. Chiropractic treatments are able to help and provide the necessary relief for nausea, headaches, sinus congestion, and heartburn. If these reasons aren’t compelling enough, perhaps the fact that great pelvis alignment helps with the ease of labor and delivery is motivation to choose chiropractic care while pregnant.
Pregnant women who obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy should take an active role in supplementing that care with other preventative measures. These combined efforts will ensure optimal spine health. For example, making sure to select shoes that provide excellent support, squatting to pick things up (rather than bending at the waist), and performing gentle stretches. Walking and light activity also helps to keep muscles loose. Other suggestions include sleeping positioned on the left or right side, with a pillow between the knees to promote proper pelvis alignment.
Chiropractors are trained and equipped to treat pregnant women, and many women report significant pain relief as a result of chiropractic treatment. At Tuck Chiropractic our team is committed to providing high quality treatment for you and your growing family. Making chiropractic an integral part of your prenatal care plan is a great step towards a more enjoyable and healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.