Tag Archives: Pregnancy

When Should I Go To A Chiropractor?


The primary thing that you should see a doctor of chiropractic for instead of a medical doctor is joint dysfunction, sometimes chiropractors will call this “subluxation.” The problem is the same with either term. “What is that?” Medical doctors and chiropractors use different terms so I’ll try to list some of the more common diagnoses terms and explain why and how a DC should be preferred over an MD for those conditions.

Back pain of any kind. I say this, knowing that there are causes of back pain that a chiropractor cannot treat. They should be a first line provider when it comes to back pain. The advantage of seeing a chiropractor first for back pain is that it is their expertise. They have had more class and clinical hours studying and treating the back than the average MD. So, even if they can’t treat it, they are better equipped to diagnose and refer to the right person. They can also treat most back pain generators. Even the studies with the worst outcomes show that chiropractic is at least as good as standard medical treatments (most show better results) for low back pain with higher patient satisfaction, and lower risk. The second reason to see a chiropractor is cost.  A full treatment plan with a chiropractor will cost about the same as the initial MRI at a hospital ER.

If you’ve been in a car accident, after visiting the ER, and in the absence of life threatening findings there you should proceed to your chiropractor. The ER doctors will often say something along the lines of well we can’t find anything on our tests, it looks like you have a little (fill in the blank…whiplash, sprain/strain, pulled muscles, bruising, etc…). They will usually send you home with a prescription for some pain medication. They don’t deny the pain or the injury, they just don’t have any medication to treat these injuries. These injuries are what chiropractors deal with. Like with MDs, DCs cannot cure a sprain or a strain, but they can improve healing time, and reduce pain without the risk/side effects that medication has.

Pregnancy back and muscle aches. This statement is not intended to negate medical monitoring of a pregnancy. Chiropractors should not be substituting for an OB/Gyn if that is the care you choose. With pregnancy however most medications are out, due to possible harm to the baby. In this circumstance you want your treatments to be as conservative as possible. Again, that is a chiropractors realm, conservative care.

Headaches are one of those areas that are middle of the road. Most headaches are just tension headaches, and chiropractic has a very high success rate treating them. The problem is most people don’t go to their doctor for the average tension headache, they go for chronic headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, etc… With these I wouldn’t say one was better than the other. Because the cause of headaches vary so much you could start either place. The big advantage that I would give chiropractic in this case is that it is more conservative, and they won’t start with drugs. If you aren’t seeing some results with a chiropractor within 2 weeks I would recommend looking into other things, and for that matter the chiropractor should be looking to refer you about that time.

Difficulty moving, such as when you bend down and can’t stand back up, or you can’t turn your head properly to back up your car. Stiffness or soreness is also something to go see a chiropractor about. Basically anytime you have a mechanical problem be it muscles, bones, or joint structures head to your chiropractor.

Repetative stress injuries, whether they be work related, sports related, performance related, or what ever. RSI’s are something that I’ve discussed in depth previously. See here for the start of the discussion series.

I’m sure that I’ve missed many, and I hope that my chiropractic friends will correct me with comments to this post, but I hope this is a good starting point for those of you who are looking for a way to judge who you should go see.

A chiropractor can be a primary care provider and at times are. You should be able to go see your chiropractor for any reason, and he should be able to help you either through chiropractic treatment or by referring you on to the person who you should see. However, if there is a medical doctor around you would save time by skipping the chiropractor and going straight to the MD if you have a fever, bowel and bladder problems, you are oozing fluids, or have cancer. Those are things chiropractors don’t usually deal with.

Can Chiropractic Make Pregnancy Easier?

This question I get a lot. If you have a question about chiropractic please ask in a comment. To the question, statistically yes. Regular chiropractic care has been shown to decrease the overall risk of complications and C-sections in recent research. Your chiropractor should not be a replacement for your midwife or OB/Gyn if you have one, but his treatments should be complimentary to regular pregnancy monitoring.

Chiropractic is a great way to treat pregnancy related back, muscle and joint pain. In that situation drugs are not the best option as most drugs can have unwanted or unknown side effects on the baby, not to mention the mother. The reason that pregnancies go better with chiropractic care seems to be the same reason that exercise improves your quality of life. If you improve the ability of the body to perform at its best things go wrong less often. Chiropractic can help to improve your bodies function. In the case of pregnancy the better prepared your body is to carry and deliver your child the less complications you are likely to experience.

Many patients appreciate regular chiropractic during pregnancy. I also recommend husbands come with wives to at least one pregnancy treatment as I can teach them many ways to provide relief when she can’t get in to see me. You can check out my site for additional info and useful links on this topic.

Utah Spinal Care

USClogo2I’m back in Utah.  I have decided that rather than opening up my own private practice that I would instead work at an already established practice.  I am now the primary treating doctor at Utah Spinal Care.  Utah Spinal Care is a family practice office in Sandy Utah just up the road from Rio Tinto Stadium and the South Towne Expo Center.  We are located at 880 E 9400 S Sandy, UT 84094.  For directions, maps, pricing, etc.  please visit the website or our Facebook page.  Come visit us and pass the word along.  If you or anyone you know is in need of some Spinal Care give us a call to set up an appointment at 801-523-0073.

A New Baby

I have to pause my normal posting to announce that my wonderful wife has given birth to our 4th daughter.  There were no complications and things went well.  Both mom and baby are beautiful and healthy.  Some of the training we receive in chiropractic college I never plan to use as a chiropractor.  This is one of those things.  I never plan to deliver a baby for anyone else, but I am happy to have been able to deliver all four of my little girls.  If I didn’t feel outnumbered before this picture will show you how lopsided our family is now.  family

Because this is a professional health care site I would like to include a report on an experiment that we attempted during this labor.  Many of you reading this will be familiar with E-stim or TENS.  I posted about it a few posts back (link).  I posted there that this modality was not used during pregnancy because there was no research to support or contraindicate it’s use.  There are however studies indicating possible benefits to mothers in labor.  The findings are interesting, and the application is safe and has been used successfully for over 30 years in Europe.  I have asked my wife to write up her feelings on using the TENS unit during this labor.  I’ll not bias you with my observations, but I will post her comments as soon as she gets the time to write them, though I must warn you she’s a much more engaging writer than I am.  In the meantime here is a great though dry article on the use of this modality during labor.

Do Chiropractors Practice in Hospitals

The full question was Are chiropractors allowed to practice in hospitals or use medical outpatient facilities? I think the real question is, why don’t chiropractors work in hospitals.

The answer is, some chiropractors do practice in hospitals, though they are few and far between. There are none here in Utah were I practice. Chiropractors have in their scope of practice the ability to order lab tests, MRIs, etc… Hospitals and labs across the nation honor this, and will perform medical outpatient procedures for chiropractors.

Here are some, of the many possible reasons chiropractors aren’t working in hospitals:

  • Doctors are trying to get out of hospitals. Hospitals tell you how you can practice even more than insurance companies do. They set your income, rather than your earnings being determined by your efforts. They set what you do and how much you will be paid for it, they are a business after all.
  • Politics of the past, medical doctors and chiropractors did not get along well. We are very near the end of that era, but there is still some animosity between the older generation on both sides, and it sometimes will trickle down into the younger doctors. That inhibits some from joining forces.
  • Hospitals don’t really know what to do with chiropractors. They have a structure, and chiropractors don’t fit well into it. Even if we did, they don’t know what we can do, or how to bill for it. It would take some effort to integrate a chiropractor into a medical system, and there aren’t really many models to work from.

Hospitals are always looking to improve patient satisfaction. Chiropractors have the highest patient satisfaction rating in healthcare. A way that we can improve that rating for a hospital is by offering relief and improvement where previously there was none. The two places I would begin is in the Emergency Room, and the Women’s and Children’s department.

The ER sees many cases where people just want to make sure things are not life threatening. The prime example is a car accident. Even if you don’t feel really bad after an accident it is a good idea to get checked out, just in case. When the ER finishes it’s tests and finds nothing broken or bleeding they usually send you away with serious pain killers to cover the pain of your “whiplash”. These are the kind of things that chiropractors deal with all of the time. We can reduce the healing time, and treat the issue without masking it with medication.

The same kind of thing is important for expecting mothers. They visit their OB in the hospital for their back pain. There isn’t much that they can take, medication wise, due to possible effects on the baby. This leaves the doctor with few options. Chiropractic is a proven medication free treatment that can relive the back pain of pregnant patients.

Hospitals can be a great help to chiropractors also. There are many times that chiropractors will find something that needs to be treated, but the pain that the patient is in is too much to allow chiropractic manipulation. Muscle relaxants and pain medication in these situations can allow a chiropractor to perform the needed procedures. Not to mention the many illnesses that chiropractors find that are out of their scope for treatment. Being in a hospital would allow them ready access to the best person for the job.

I think that hospitals incorporating chiropractic would be a great synergistic relationship. I hope that Utah hospitals will soon be open to this kind of opportunity. Things would improve, even if they just set up a working relationship with each other. They don’t have to be in the same building.

Babies, Babies, Babies

Jacqueline Clarke

Image by: Jacqueline Clarke

I believe that I have posted before about women coming in wanting a “chiropractic induction” to get labor going (see post here, and here). Here’s an announcement I got today:

Dr. Duncan,
Another success story for you! Matt and I left your office yesterday at 5:30 and I almost immediately started into some painful contractions. We were in the hospital by 8:30 (at 6 cm), and we had a baby by 2:30 this morning! No induction needed! Thanks so much for all your help – it was great to not have to worry about back and rib pain in labor! I will come in for another adjustment before we move to Texas next month and I’ll be sure to bring in either the baby or pictures of her to add to your success story pile!
Thanks again,
Congratulations Kimberly and Matt, on your new baby girl. The picture is not of their baby. I may swap it when I get one from them. Perhaps someday I’ll dedicate a page on here to new babies and their moms photos.

Why Do Some DCs Claim to Cure Diseases?

To clarify, this question was asked regarding cancer, and other such diseases that don’t seem related to chiropractic.

The answer is, that they should not be. It is illegal to make fraudulent or misleading claims especially in advertising. My suggestion if you run across a chiropractor making claims like this, is get it in writing, then make some good money in court.

Seriously though, chiropractic is based upon the idea that we cannot cure disease, only the body has the power to heal it’s self. When a chiropractor treats he is simply helping the body to function at its best so that it can do what it needs to. As much as you tell people this, it doesn’t stop rumors from flying.

I have pregnant patients who come to me to induce labor. Chiropractic does not induce labor, and I inform them of that. Chiropractic does align the body and improve function. It can help prepare the body to go into labor on its own, but it does not induce it. The problem with me telling this to people is that they still want to be treated for their pain, which I happily do, and after I treat them a high percentage of them will go into labor within 24 hours, some within the hour, and they tell everyone that their chiropractor got their labor started.

Things like this happen in every profession, in medicine they call them miracles (just because we don’t yet understand them). I’m not opposed to miracles, I pray that all of my patients receive miracle cures, but I base my treatments on prior evidence and have faith that positive results will occur.

You may have seen charts like this one with nerves from the spine running to different organs of the body. That is true, and nerve conduction is key to organ function. It is also true that an adjustment may have an effect on nerve conduction that causes a chain reaction and your body is able to heal it’s self. We don’t fully understand the mechanism of these things. If your chiropractor claims to “cure” you of any disease this way you should probably find a new chiropractor, or at the very least demand that he publish his findings so that everyone else can understand how and begin curing the world. Chiropractic can provide relief from some of the symptoms of cancer and other such diseases, and has definitely been shown to improve the standard of living of these patients.

Most chiropractors do not treat illness, they attempt to help the body function better so that it can heal its self.

Pregnancy Lecture Series

Image by: Simona Balint

I’ve had some really great success with pregnant patients, and that area of need is one that I want to focus on. I have decided to do a monthly lecture on Pregnancy and Chiropractic, or methods of pain control during pregnancy, or breech presentations, or exercises for pregnant women, or…there are so many different topics that I could cover. I think the ideas will solidify as I do it, but I have decided to start.

FREE Pregnancy Workshop
Presented by Dr. Christopher Duncan
With Utah Doula of the year Heather Duncan

Every 4th Tuesday from 7-8PM (March 25, April 22, May 27, June 24)

Align Rehabilitation and Wellness Center

2230 No. University Pkwy., Suite 6B in Provo

To register and reserve your place call Align Rehabilitation & Wellness Center at 801-235-9944

I will be holding a free lecture and open discussion on the topic of pregnancy. I hope that it will bring in some new patients, but more importantly it will be informational.

I plan to bring in providers of all types. I want to form a pregnancy group. With chiropractic, OB/Gyn, massage therapists, doulas, birth educators, midwifes, etc. I want women to be able to come to any one of us with a concern and be able to get the help she needs without having to “try everything.” She should get the proper referral as soon as we know the problem.

That’s it! I will form the Utah Pregnancy Resource Group. Cancel that, I just looked it up online and apparently there is already a group called that here and they are an abortion information center. They call it being “dedicated to meeting the comprehensive needs of those unprepared for pregnancy.” Well perhaps they will accept help or at least refer those who do decide to be pregnant to my group. I just need a good name. Any ideas?