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Shanana 07-06-2005 11:59 PM

So I finally broke down and went to a chiropractor today. The last one I went to (years ago), really screwed me up and created pain in places where none had previously existed, and didn't help the pain I already had. After weeks of him trying to "fix" the mess he made, I just quit going, and let my body heal on its own (took months to get rid of the pain he introduced).

So needless to say I was a little leery about going again, but was so hoping to get some relief from the sciatic nerve pain and the horrendous pelvic pain I have (it hurts so bad that when I stand up after lying on my side, my knees almost buckle and I cry out involuntarily).

After lecturing me for 30 minutes about how I'm going to need chiropractic care for the rest of my life (even after I indicated I was just there for immediate relief), he did an adjustment. When I left his office, it seemed like my sciatic pain was slightly worse, and I didn't feel any different other than that. As the day wore on, the sciatic pain got worse and worse, and by tonight it was really bad, even though I was off my feet almost the whole day (so didn't do any of the things that normally aggravate it).

I have an appointment to go back to see him on Friday, but I'm paying out of pocket for this, and am not convinced it's going to do me any good (and am worried it will make me worse).

So for those of you who are seeing a chiropractor, here's my question:

Did you get immediate relief for your pregnancy-related pain? Or did you have to have multiple adjustments before seeing a benefit?

I know for long-term chiro care, it takes lots of adjustments to get the body to "stay" where it's supposed to. But with my ligaments the way they are, I don't have any hope of things "staying". I'm just hoping for temporary relief that will make my life more tolerable. I'm interested to hear your experiences ...

EDD 7/29/05

JeanetteL 07-07-2005 12:57 AM

If I have not had an adjustment for a long time, I actually always feel worse before I feel better - I think that perhaps there is sometimes some inflamation in response to the adjustment?? If I take a longer period between adjustments even now I'll have some discomfort and then improvement.

I don't think chiro is usually ever an immediate fix, and pretty much always requires ongoing adjustments, for my sciatia (which was pretty severe), it took several weeks of once a week visits to really feel like it was all gone. I've kept up the weekly schedule to maintain, and can really tell the difference versus how I felt last pregnancy at this point. However, if you didn't get a great vibe from this guy, probably worth it to look for someone else. Can you try in the "Finding Your Tribe" section here at MDC and see if anyone there can recommend someone in your area?

Another alternative might be cranial sacral - I have not had this done myself, but know that it is often mentioned as an alternative and/or complementary therapy for many of the issues treated by chiro care.

Chiro Kristin - are you still reading this board - can you help?


chiro_kristin 07-07-2005 03:48 PM

Heard your call, Jeannette!

Shana, it kind of sounds to me like your body might have some subluxations that have been there for a really long time. Over this time, your body, realizing that these problems aren't getting corrected, has "adapted" in the best way it can, and it has turned off a lot of the pain sensations. Pain, after all, is just a symptom, a body "signal" that tells your conscious brain that something is amiss that your body can't fix on it's own. If you ignore it or just mask it, it will either get worse or just shut off.

Now, your response to the adjustments you have had in the past is something I cannot specifically respond to, as I haven't examined you and know nothing about the condition of your spine and nervous system. However, I can tell you that it is not uncommon to feel worse before feeling better. If a significant structural change was made in your body through my adjustment (and yes, Jeannette, inflammation can be caused by an adjustment, especially in the acute stage), I would absolutely expect and warn you that you may be more sore after the first few adjustments, and to use ice as needed until I saw you next.

It is possible, Shana, that with the increasing biomechanical changes and stress on your body due to that bundle of joy you are baking, your sciatica is even more aggravated (therefore the pain returned), and a big change caused by an adjustment turned on your body's signalling process even more. As in, "Hey, Brain, you're finally listening again and doing something about it, so we're gonna really start screaming about what's been going on down here."

Another thing I have noticed with sciatica is that, with the process of correction, sciatica sometimes tends to travel down the leg as it heals. So sometimes I let my patients know that they might expect to have the pain shoot farther down their leg than it did previous to the adjustment, but it is likely just making it's way out!

Now I don't know anything about the chiropractor you recently saw, but some chiropractors are about relieving pain and other symptomatic conditions. Other chiropractors want to have a practice focused on getting your body corrected enough (and keeping it that way) so that your entire body can function at 100% of its potential. That is the type of practice I have.

So, your subluxations have obviously been there for years. You shouldn't expect one adjustment to get rid of it. It would be like trying to say one day (or even one month) of eating healthy and exercising would erase years of Doritos and ice cream on the couch. Or immediately losing the 60 pounds somebody gained during pregnancy. Or one week of brushing your teeth erases 30 years of Coke and candy.

To sum up, I can't speak directly to your case. Sometimes immediate relief happens. Most of the time, it doesn't.

I hope this helps explain things a bit. If I can help further, let me know!

Hugs to you! It sucks to be in pain, especially when you're so pregnant!

JeanetteL 07-07-2005 04:00 PM

I wish you lived near me, you always sound so wise in your posts I love my chiro, but I'd be tempted to try you out just on the basis of your posts!

beccaroo 07-08-2005 07:57 PM

I visited a chiro for the first time during this pregnancy. Actually, three different ones - didn't like #1, couldn't afford #2, stayed with #3 for a while. I think I also got some increased sciatic pain right after the first few adjustments, but the next day or so it felt better. I had some back/hip pain, which was helped some, but latter in pregnancy my biggest complaint was pubic bone pain. I got some relief, but mostly was told to ice the area.

I got tired of that answer, and finally got a referral for physical therapy, which helped immensely (more on that later). But this week (week 38), I started feeling like the baby has turned sunny-side up, so I went back to chiro #2 mostly for a Webster Technique to 'uncrimp' my uterus, hoping baby would flip back face-down. She did a quick adjustment on me too, and I noticed lots of what I think was sciatic pain down one knee that night.

As for the physical therapy, in my case one side of my pelvis tipped back while the other side tipped forward, which meant one half of my pubic bone was higher than the other, stretching the ligament in between, and also taking a toll on my back muscles. My PT helped me make some really small adjustments by holding a leg while I was on my back, and I'd either push or pull my knee/leg slightly depending on which direction that side of the pelvis needed to move. Then she had me push my knees together while she held them apart to 'lock' the pubic area back in place. The change was pretty dramatic. I've been going twice a week for about a month. My pelvic bones still slip back a little, but not nearly as badly as before. And she showed me how to do some of the treatments myself, which helps if it's getting worse between visits. Plus, she gave me some 'core' exercises to do to strengthen the whole area (my abs need to support my back better). Pelvic tilts are a must, and lose those heels!

So if that's the kind of pelvic pain you're feeling, I would highly recommend seeing a PT if you can afford one and/or get a referral. I've been told you might have to be persistant to get someone who actually believes some of these preganancy complaints can be treated, and don't just have to be tolerated. But stick with it, it's worth it! Good luck!!

Shanana 07-08-2005 08:55 PM

I was in PT for 5 weeks (ended last week), and it didn't do a lot to help. I don't think my pelvic pain is the type you're experiencing Beccaroo, though (so glad you got some relief!). Saw the chiropractor again today, and the sciatica is continuing to be a big problem. I've never had it until during this pregnancy, and only for the last ~3 months. Activity seems to aggravate it a lot, whereas taking it easy and resting helps. But since starting the chiro care, it just hurts all the time (doesn't go down my leg, just sits in my hip/butt and burns like crazy ... feels like my bone is on fire, even when I'm just sitting). I can't lay on my left side AT ALL anymore, whereas I used to be able to handle that for 20-30 minutes. I'm going to take it easy over the weekend, see how I'm doing, and then decide what to do.

I appreciate everyone's feedback!

EDD 7/29/05

Max's Mami 07-08-2005 09:12 PM

I havent read the whole thread yet but just wanted to give my experience. I never saw a chiro until this pregnancy and only did now because of the seperated pubic bone. Others who have had this told me there is no cure but delivery and the only thing that made it bareable throughout pregnancy was chiro.

So I went. My chiro says everyone is different but for me how it works is after he adjusts me initially its worse then improves throughout the day. By the next day or so I feel a lot better (this is my pubic bone, sciatic on both sides and my lower back) and the better lasts for at least a week at which point it starts slowly going down hill again. I go every 2 weeks.

I think it also totally depends on your chiro - just like in any profession there are good ones and there are quacks. I made sure mine was certified in pregnancy care.

Anyway - after the first day or so you should definitly not feel worse and if you do I would guess there is a problem.

Hopefully you will have a baby soon and all the aches and pains will go away!

amybw 08-20-2005 03:28 AM

thanks for the advice Chiro Kristin. I am not currently pregnant but my sciatica never went away and i have been going to a chiro for three months.
I was getting aggravated about it getting worse, but hearing you say that it works its way down makes me feel like i have hope!

Shanana hope you are feeling better!


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