Chiropractic and Conception
[originally published in KCN, October 2010]
“My husband and I are having difficulty conceiving… can chiropractic help?”
This is a question that I hear in my office from time to time, and my answer, I’m happy to say, is that it’s very possible!
Just about every chiropractor has a story in which he has had an infertile patient suddenly conceive while under chiropractic care. And while nay sayers might chalk this up to coincidence, the fact that this topic is increasingly finding its way into the scientific literature should give one pause.
In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 7.3 million women in the United States were classified as infertile — which is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. That’s a huge number! Just over one million of these women sought medical attention for it.
And while there are a variety of reasons a woman’s ability to conceive can be thwarted, up to twenty percent of the time medical testing shows no clear answer — which maybe one of the reasons that medical intervention for infertility has a modest 34 percent success rate. Even so, many — as is evidenced by the dramatic increase in our nation’s fertility clinics — will shell out up to $30,000 per menstrual cycle for the chance to conceive.
What I’m about to share with you — from a chiropractic perspective — isn’t earth-shattering. But, in fact, is a beautiful illustration of chiropractic at its finest: ensuring optimum nervous system function by encouraging healthy spinal movement through regular chiropractic care. That’s it!
Your nervous system controls everything in your body — including your reproductive organs. A spine that is functioning appropriately is more apt to support a healthy nervous system devoid of health-robbing interference. This equates to a body that simply works like it’s supposed to. What’s more, a healthy spine and nervous system are bolstered and better able to combat the everyday insults of physical, emotional, and chemical stresses that are thrown at it. What this means for a woman who is looking to conceive and carry a child is that through regular chiropractic care she is able to optimize her body’s ability to function in a world of stressors that look to do just the opposite, and thus is able to create an environment in which pregnancy is more likely to occur.
In 2008, the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics reviewed ten different case reports that looked at a total of eleven women suffering from infertility — ten were actively trying to become pregnant. Many had symptoms ranging from lower back pain to ulcerative colitis. The result: All eleven became pregnant shortly after starting chiropractic care.
In 2003, a similar review study was published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. The study examined fourteen separate articles of fifteen women suffering from infertility. Again, many of these women had painful symptoms such as chronic lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches, as well as other nervous system insults such as childhood falls, scoliosis, and car accidents. The result: fourteen of the fifteen women got pregnant within two to twenty months after starting chiropractic care. And the one that did not get pregnant? She was 65 years-old and had been infertile all her life when her menstrual cycle ceased at the age of eighteen. Four weeks after beginning chiropractic care, her cycle resumed!
Finally, just added to the mix are three additional case studies in the 2009 edition of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health — Chiropractic. All three of the infertile women in this study conceived and delivered healthy children, including one who had been trying for four years, despite costly and, in her case, dangerous medical reproductive assistance.
Bottom line:The above examples are case studies and more research is needed, but if you are trying to conceive, having your spine checked for nervous system interference by a chiropractor makes sense. It is considerably more cost effective and is remarkably safe. In fact, the only possible side effect I see is a baby.
Source used for this article:
Alcantara. Female infertility, subluxation and chiropractic care: a case series and selective review of the literature. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health Care – Chiropractic. 2009;(2):1-10.
Behrendt. Insult, Interference and Infertility: An Overview of Chiropractic Research. Journal Vertebral Subluxation Research. May 2, 2003.
Bula. Infertility and chiropractic: a review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. 2008;9(1):567-571.
Burgess. Making adjustments: infertility and the chiropractic link. Preconception.com
Hansen. Chiropractic and infertility: infertility helped with chiropractic. Why chiropractic (blog). (viewed 09/14/10).
New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic and Infertility. Stern Chiropractic Press Release. June 28, 2009.
Williams. The chiropractic approach to infertility: a review of recent chiropractic research. Pathways to Family Wellness. Issue #05. Spring 2005.
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