If you’re a woman, then you’re going to want to read this blog.
Did you know that less funding goes into women’s health and alleviating women’s health-related pain?
As chiropractors, it’s enough to make us angry - it’s a topic worth discussing, looking into, and being passionate about. We’re going to discuss our top 3 matters on women’s health:
1. Pregnancy and spinal health - what are the common misconceptions about that?
2. Period pain… and NO, although it’s common, it’s NOT normal
3. Bras: they don’t have to feel like they’re strangling your torso
Ready? Let’s dive in:
Pregnancy & Spinal Health
Pregnancy is a major process happening in the body, and it’s so unique to the individual. However, pregnancy is often associated with the idea that you “can’t do the same things anymore”. Foods you can’t eat, drinks you can’t have, certain exercises that can’t be done anymore. Some may be true, some are misconceptions. In the realm of chiropractic care, a common misconception told to pregnant women is: “you can’t go to the chiropractor anymore”. That’s not true. Here we’re going to discuss why you STILL should visit a chiropractor while pregnant and why it’s so important.
1. As your baby grows, your centre of gravity will shift forward, and your ligaments start to get more “lax” and accommodating, at the same time, you’ll be carrying more weight. This will have a major impact on your spine and posture. A lot of pregnant women report upper and lower back pain, pelvic pain, sciatica, sore necks and shoulders, and general discomfort.
Seeing a chiropractor can help you maintain healthy posture throughout all the stages of your pregnancy and even after giving birth. Studies also show healthier posture leads to healthier carriage of the baby in the womb and positive impact on the birthing process.
2. Keeping the spine healthy means you can maintain healthy flow between your nervous system and the rest of your body. This means better nerve innervation to your lungs, your digestive system, your other organs and tissue, such as skin, muscles, bones, bladder, even your brain - which is responsible for emotions, cognition, even the hormones! Seeing a chiropractor to support the spine and nervous system while pregnant is powerful because you will notice your body systems working together better and in harmony.
3. You still have a spine and a nervous system while pregnant.
Anyone (or thing) with a spine and a nervous system benefits from chiropractic care. Period. Spinal alignment leads to nervous system alignment. There’s not a single body part that isn’t somehow connected to the nervous system.
Period Pain is a thing of the past
We live in a world that doesn’t take period pain very seriously. We live in a world that dismisses period pain as something that is normal and should be expected. But that’s not true. You shouldn’t have to suffer with period pain. So how does chiropractic care come into the picture? We’re glad you asked! Here we go…
The uterus is a large bag of muscles with a nutritious lining in the centre. Throughout the first 3 weeks of your cycle, it is working on building the nutritious lining to promote conception of babies. When the end of the cycle arrives and there is no baby, that lining has to go. How does that lining expel? Well? Remember it’s a bag o’ muscle, so the muscles contract. It should NOT be painful. Think about your arms and legs - when you contract muscles in your arms or legs, do they hurt? No! They feel pretty worked, but they aren’t painful.
But now keep in mind, your uterus isn’t the only thing sitting in your abdomen. It’s surrounded by your intestines, it sits behind your bladder and in front of your large intestines. Also, these organs aren’t just “sitting in there” loosely! There’s connective tissue keeping everything in place.
What does this even mean? It means your body’s structure - internal and external, can have an impact on how your uterus is sitting in your abdomen. IF something in the structure around it isn’t right it’s going to affect the contraction of the uterus.
Let’s go back to your arm muscles for a moment: Pinch your biceps and NOW do some bicep curls. Does that hurt? Of course it does.
This is ONE of the things happening to the uterus to contribute to period pain. So what does chiropractic do? It helps align your external and internal structures so that your uterus can do its job. Peacefully. Painlessly.
Bras don’t have to hurt
Do you ever want to just burn your bra after a long day at work? Well yes, funny how most of us have felt this way. There are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to coexist with bras. That’s right, they don’t have to feel like their strangling your torso. Let’s change this story with the lens of chiropractic care - you ready?
First of all, before we go all chiropractor on you, let’s start with the most obvious thing: Have you had your bra professionally fitted? Do you have a comfortable, supportive bra that actually does it’s job AND it’s the right fit for you? If not, we recommend Colleen’s!
Ok, now let’s go into the chiropractic rabbit hole for bras. That strangling feeling you’re getting? Let’s assume you have the “right size” bra. It fits you perfectly… and YET by the end of the day you feel a lil’ strangled, and / or your back is ACHING. Here’s the reason.
Lean in close.
It’s actually your posture. Yes. Your posture, also known as your structure plays a big role in how your weight is distributed throughout your body. When your posture is compromised two main things happen:
- The weight of your chest is not being supported correctly - and that causes back pain, it forces your back to hunch, and your neck to lean forward more, so that adds more neck and shoulder pain.
- The poor posture will cause compression of the chest band - and that’s the reason for the strangling feeling.
It does not have to be like that! As chiropractors, here’s what we do: we work on posture and re-train your stability muscles to correctly hold you. When your structure AND muscles are in alignment, correct posture becomes effortless. Correct posture means no more back pain! Correct posture also means wearing bras, and having breast tissue doesn’t have to be a burden anymore!
If you’ve read this far, first of all we want to commend you. If you’re a woman, good on you for taking your health seriously. If you aren’t a woman, we commend you for educating yourself and broadening your horizons!
So here are some key takeaways:
1. you can absolutely be pregnant and still see a chiro. It will help you in so many different ways.
2. Periods shouldn’t hurt, and if you have period pain, come see us right away. You don’t need to go through more pain than you need to.
3. Bras should only ever feel like they’re supporting you. If you are in pain, come see us - there’s probably something postural going on.
We are here to serve you, one spine at a time.