Archive for April, 2010

Whiplash and Chiropractic Care

Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine, which is caused by a jerking motion of the head and neck. When the head is thrown backward or forward, whiplash can occur. You can get whiplash in many other ways besides just car accidents. Playing sports, horseplay, awkward falls or even a sudden sneeze can result in whiplash. Whiplash can certainly be painful, and many times people will choose to enlist a chiropractor service for help and pain relief. A chiropractor can put the spine back in alignment so that the rest of the body can heal.

If you have had problems after an accident such as headaches, head and neck pain, stiff neck or muscle spasms, you could have whiplash. You will be able to recognize these signs quite easily and you will find in a case of whiplash, you have restricted head motion. You will not be able to turn your head all the way in the directions you want. You can also have equilibrium problems and a loss of hearing and you may experience ringing in the ears which are all signs of whiplash.

If you are feeling lightheaded and excessively tired or even find yourself blacking out, it is a for sure sign you have most likely hurt your neck. If you are experiencing any nerve pain or nerve inflammation in the area of your neck you should get checked as well. Cold hands and feet are often a symptom, so is numbness in the arms, hands, shoulders, feet or legs. Periods of unexplained depression and anxiety could be a factor as well as irritability. You will find it hard to concentrate and may have a poor memory, another sign of whiplash is the pain between the shoulders; there may be low back pain, tremors, and rapid heartbeat.

If you have these problems, Chiropractic is one of the best treatments for whiplash.  As a Chiropractor, I treat whiplash with manual therapy, adjusting the spine to restore full range of motion, also working with the soft tissues surrounding the spine to decrease stiffness and pain and promote healing.  I will also give you stretches and therapeutic exercises for you to do at home between Chiropractic visits.  By addressing the problem early, the likelyhood of your neck pain becoming a chronic condition is decreased drastically. So if you think you have suffered a whiplash incident, don’t wait to come in for treatment.

Sara Johnson DC

Elixia Wellness Group 503-232-5653

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Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Chiropractic care through pregnancy is not only safe, it is essential. We can look at the implications of subluxation from a bio mechanical, hormonal and neurological standpoint. It is easy for all of us to see postural changes through pregnancy-the centre of gravity changes, the weight of the baby places increased pressure on the spine and pelvis, and towards the end of the pregnancy, changes are seen in gait pattern-the “waddle.” What we can’t see, are the millions of different hormonal changes and chemical reactions occurring both in the mother and the developing baby–all of which are controlled and coordinated through the nervous system.


Adjustments result in easier pregnancy, significantly decreased mean labor time, and assists new mothers back to prepartum health. In one study, women receiving Chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% shorter labor times than the group not receiving Chiropractic, and multiparous subjects reported 39% shorter labor times. Thirty-nine percent-that’s a massive difference. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with Chiropractic care. Because the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis function better, there is significant less likelihood of back labor when receiving Chiropractic care through pregnancy.

Body position during delivery is also critical. Any late second stage labor position that denies postural sacral rotation denies the mother and the baby critical pelvic outlet diameter and jams the tip of the sacrum up to 4cm into the pelvic outlet. In other words, the popular semi-recumbent position places the laboring woman on her back onto the apex of the sacrum, which closes off the vital space needed for the baby to get through the pelvic outlet.

This delivery position is the main reason why so many births are traumatic-labor is stalled, the mom becomes fatigued and overwhelmed by pain, so the utilization of epidurals, forceps, episiotomy, vacuum extraction and cesarean increases. Just consider the analogy my husband uses-how hard would it be to have a bowel movement while lying on your back? You’re right, very hard, and it may not happen. This is why squatting is the preferred position-gravity works to help and the pelvic outlet can open to a greater degree. Squatting during delivery results in decreased use of forceps and a shorter second stage of labor than the semi-recumbent position.

Greater complications during delivery result in greater neurological insult to the newborn due to injury to the head and neck. Even after vaginal births, 4.6% of term neonates suffer unexplained brain bleeds and 10% suffer neonatal encephalopathy. Because so many children had been injured with forceps deliveries, (facial nerve palsy, tearing of cervical spine musculature) vacuum extraction was developed. Suction cups are placed on the newborn’s head, and the baby is literally sucked out of the mother.

When utilized, 120 pounds of pressure goes through the baby’s head and neck. Decapitation occurs at 140 pounds of pressure, to give you an idea of the high forces involved. Remember when you were a little girl or boy and there was a new baby you were being introduced to? Our parents always said, “Watch his head-you don’t want to hurt him.” We’re careful because the fontanel’s of the skull are so pliable, and the neck and brain are fragile and unprotected. This is why so many babies sustain injuries to their heads and neck during vacuum extraction-the force is far greater than their little bodies can tolerate.

Adjustments to newborns contain only ounces of force. But that force is directed into the spine to facilitate health and remove subluxations. We adjust babies as soon after birth as possible, to alleviate subluxations caused by in-utero constraint and the journey down through the birth canal. There has been a lot in the media lately about children not needing Chiropractic care, but there is no better way to get a head start in life. As you all know, Chiropractic care is not a cure for anything-it is a system of wellness to help us be who we’re supposed to be. It is not a cure for ear infections, for colic, for allergies, for asthma, for frequent colds, nor for ADD/ADHD.

When we listen to mothers’ stories of their pregnancy, labor and delivery, the children who suffer the most from the above complaints, are the ones who’ve had the greatest trouble with their births. Even relatively easy deliveries can result in subluxations. That’s why every child should be checked, before problems with their health even develop. That’s preventive care in the truest sense-preventing subluxations in mothers to prevent subluxations in their babies during childbirth. This is why every woman needs Chiropractic through pregnancy-so that the arrival of their baby is a “wonderful experience”.

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Dr. Martha Collins

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