Not too long ago, one of my cyber friends posted a blog all about taking her newborn daughter to the chiropractor to help with gas and reflux issues. Her post inspired me to write my own post about how chiropractic care has affected my family. This, of course, is our experience that I'm sharing, and I'm not trying to push my beliefs regarding this issue on anyone else. I just want to share our experience :-).
I have personally struggled with back pain and issues since I was a teenager. I have a mild case of scoliosis, and can not really remember a time when I didn't have back pain to some degree. It's not something I really paid much attention to or complained about . . . I just kind of dealt with it as part of life. When I was a freshman in college, I decided to start seeing a chiropractor at the urging of my room-mate. My Dad has back issues of his own, and I could remember him using a chiropractor for several years. However, my initial experience with a chiropractor was not a good one. The chiropractor I saw did not communicate with me at all, wouldn't answer my questions, made me very uncomfortable, and the worst part? I didn't feel any better after my adjustments!
Now, I didn't live in constant pain by any means. I would have months of feeling great, but would also have bad flare ups of pain that were sometimes a real problem. My Dad had taught me a series of exercises and stretches that I would do when I was hurting really badly, and that's pretty much how I managed my back issues. However, after being pregnant with and birthing Brenson (my 9 plus pound and 23 inch long baby), I had gotten to where my back pain and issues were truly interfering with my life. I felt like my bones didn't go back together correctly after giving birth to him. I was in constant pain. I couldn't lift my kids. I would ache so bad while I was holding and nursing Bren that I couldn't even enjoy it.
I had also been doing extensive reading and research about natural ways to increase fertility. Chris and I knew that we wanted more babies after Bren, but we weren't sure that we wanted to go through fertility treatments again. I had already implemented some diet changes, but we were looking for other ways to possibly conceive on our own. There were two things that appeared in article after article about naturally increasing fertility: acupuncture and chiropractic care!
So, my constant aches and pains - along with the possibility of helping my fertility issues - motivated me to give chiropractic care another try! I had no idea where to begin, so I did what is so common these days . . . I asked my Facebook friends who they recommended as a local chiropractor. It was those recommendations that led me to my chiropractor and the fantastic clinic where she works!
I was pretty nervous about my initial appointment (this was back in May of 2012), but the more I read about chiropractic care, the more it made sense to me. It's just so intuitive to me that a healthy and aligned spine will allow your body to function in an optimal way. Now, I had a lot of different issues going on with my body (as seen on x-rays that my doctor let me look at with my own eyes!), so those initial adjustments were not a quick fix for my pain. Thankfully, my chiropractor had warned me that I would feel worse before I would start to feel better. She said that I needed to give her 5 adjustments before expecting to feel better, and I'm so glad that she warned me that would be the case. Because honestly? After about adjustment number 3 I felt TERRIBLE. I was SO sore and felt like I had been in a car accident! However, just as she promised, after about adjustment number 5 I turned a corner and started to feel better.
I have read and seen many people make comments about chiropractic care regarding how after one adjustment they didn't feel better, or that if it really worked then you wouldn't need to be continually adjusted. I've actually had people personally say both of those things to me. But, chiropractic care is not a quick fix. It's not a one-and-done thing. It's something that addresses overall health as well as pain management. I think about it like eating healthy or exercising. You can't eat one healthy meal or exercise one time and expect to suddenly feel better. It's a process.
So, after several months of getting adjusted 2 to 3 times a week, icing my muscles, and doing the stretches recommended to me by my clinic, I truly saw a HUGE difference in how I felt. My back pain was pretty much non-existent! The headaches that I had battled my entire life were all but gone as well. I couldn't believe the difference in how I felt! I also felt so loose all the time. My muscles were no longer constantly in knots. I could pick up my babies and get up and down off the floor with them and do it all pain free! And while we still weren't able to conceive on our own, I was able to get pregnant on HALF of the fertility meds that I had used in the past. Do I know that this was directly related to chiropractic care? No. However, I do believe that my body was functioning more optimally due to chiropractic care, and that helped me respond better to lower doses of meds.
I eventually started only needing adjusted once a month, and after seeing such impressive results with chiropractic care for me, Chris started chiropractic care as well. As much as we both believed in the benefits of it for us, we were reluctant to start it for our children. I'm not sure why? I guess we just really didn't see the need for our children to get adjusted. Until . . .
In January of this year, our kids started consistently getting ear infections. I'm not sure what suddenly changed - we had never dealt with ear infections before - but they were becoming a real problem for both Brianna and Brenson. For both of them, we were on round three of back-to-back ear infections and antibiotics. They were both in pain, both cranky, both not sleeping as well as they normally did, and it didn't seem to be getting better. In frustration one night, I began googling "natural remedies for ear infections". Chris and I were both uncomfortable with having our kids on round after round of antibiotics and they weren't working anyway. We wanted a different solution, and guess what kept coming up time and time again? Chiropractic care!
We decided to go for it! We both loved our clinic and had seen such great results for ourselves, so why not? And really, we felt like we didn't have anything to lose. What we were doing wasn't working, so why not try something else?!?
I was concerned at first about the adjustments hurting the kids. I know that my first several adjustments hurt me - and I was SO sore afterward - but my chiropractor assured me that it wouldn't be the same for them. She uses a little tool to adjust them, so she used it on me first to show me that it wouldn't hurt them.
Brianna was never afraid of the adjustments and has done well from the very beginning. Brenson was very scared at first, but he does awesome during his appointments now!
These photos are from when we first started going in, and that's why they are only of Brianna. I had to concentrate on comforting Bren at first as it takes him a while to adjust to new things!
This is the little tool they use to adjust the kiddos:
Brianna is old enough that she gets her neck manually adjusted.
With Brenson, we saw very quick results after we started getting him adjusted. He has not had an ear infection since we've been taking him to a chiropractor! Our chiropractor adjusts his ears at each visit (we do once-a-month maintenance visits for both kids now), and it has obviously worked! Another huge benefit that we've seen for Brenson? He no longer has growing pains . . . ever. He used to wake in the night with growing pains for several nights in a row every few months. Until just a few weeks ago, it had been over six months since he'd had growing pains. He did wake one night a few weeks ago saying his legs hurt, and we just happened to have a chiropractic appointment set for him for the next day. I didn't initially mention to his chiropractor that he'd had growing pains the night before, but when she went to adjust him she immediately said, "Whoa, his pelvis is really out! I'm surprised he's not in pain." Since being adjusted, he hasn't woken again with growing pains!
For Brianna, it took us quite a bit longer to get her ear infections under control. We were going in for adjustments every few days at first, but it didn't seem to be helping her. It was terribly frustrating for everyone! We were also using ear oil at home several times a day, AND she was still on her antibiotics. But, it seemed like NOTHING was helping. We had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that she would have to have tubes, Then, after visiting with another chiropractor in the clinic, we decided to start getting her neck manually adjusted. He had read that manually adjusting a child's neck can really effect the ears, and sure enough. After we started the manual adjustments, her infection finally cleared up! There were a few times during the spring that she would complain of ear pain, so I would immediately take her in to be adjusted. Sometimes I would have to take her for adjustments a few times a week, but it was SO worth it to us to keep her off antibiotics. And, she hasn't been on antibiotics since we finished the round she was on when we first started chiropractic care for her! She also no longer has growing pains (although hers were never as bad as Brenson's).
As you can see, we are believers in the benefits of chiropractic care in this house! We plan to get the twins started with adjustments as newborns. Both Brianna and Brenson spit up CONSTANTLY as infants. They were "happy spitters" meaning they wouldn't fuss or cry, they'd just constantly spit up everywhere. I remember always warning people who wanted to hold them that they were spitters, and often being embarrassed when they yacked all over someone. I wonder if chiropractic care could have helped this issue? I'm definitely anxious to see the potential benefits the twins will see from it!
Chris and I aren't particularly "crunchy" parents, but like I said above, chiropractic care is just so intuitive to us. It makes sense, AND we've seen real results. Why would we not take advantage of the benefits it offers for our family?