As many of you know, my daughter, Emma (Puklich) Stedronsky, RN BSN, is in her last year of her Doctor of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) schooling at the University of Minnesota. She has chosen women’s health and gender-related studies to be her specialty. Emma has always been interested in our pediatric, prenatal, and postnatal care in the women patients that we see at Live Well Chiropractic. She chose to do her third year project at Live Well to help educate our pregnant and postpartum patients in postpartum depression (PPD). Emma came to Live Well and shared with our staff her findings:
The literature does support the use of chiropractic care for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) (Kiani et al., 2020). Depression causes an increased sympathetic nervous system response in the body due to higher levels of cortisol, adrenaline, agitation, and difficulty sleeping (Kiani et al., 2020). It is thought that chiropractic spinal adjustments help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn helps to balance out the autonomic nervous system (KIani et al., 2020). Although MDD and PPD vary slightly, the mechanism of treatment may still be applicable. It has been reported that some women hesitate to discuss their mental health concerns with their provider because they want to avoid pharmacological interventions (Nguyen, 2017). Although some pharmacological interventions are safe and necessary to treat patients with severe cases of PPD, chiropractic care may serve as a valid adjunctive therapy. Nearly 90% of pregnant women suffer from lower back and/or pelvic pain (Weis et al., 2022), published the first best practice consensus document regarding this much needed research.
I have been practicing chiropractic for nearly 28 years and have treated hundreds of pregnant and postnatal women. I am extremely proud of my daughter and her project and I love how it validates our work on perinatal women. Dr. Andria and I get to know our patients’ physical health and many times we even get to know our patients (and their families) on a personal level. I personally have seen that a chiropractic adjustment DOES balance the autonomic nervous system, DOES contribute to balancing hormones, and DOES increase the feel good hormones by releasing endorphins (the same chemical that is emitted giving runners a “runner’s high”) and I also believe our relationship with our patients makes them feel comfortable to talk about symptoms they may be experiencing during pregnancy or following the birth of the baby. I love that the research confirms what we witness every day.
Starting in July 2023, we will be helping Emma conduct her own research on our perinatal patients by giving a survey to our female patients that are currently pregnant or are within 12 months of their last delivery/birth. We will score the survey and if the score is high enough, we will follow up and make sure she gets the help she needs.
What is PPD?
PPD is a mood disorder that can affect pregnant and postpartum women typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue.
Having a new baby can be a lot of work, both mentally and physically. If you are experiencing the following signs and symptoms for more than 2 weeks, we can help or find you help. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
- Lack of energy
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, or guilty
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby