Do You Need a Postpartum Chiropractor? What to Expect

A postpartum chiropractor can help you recover faster and reduce pain associated with pregnancy and birth. Here’s everything you need to know.
postpartum chiropractor

Despite the fact that we’re led to believe that we’re A-okay once we’ve been given clearance to exercise and resume sex around week six postpartum, the reality is, most of us are far from what we consider to be normal—or even recognizable—versions of ourselves. 

Whether you had a vaginal birth, C-section, or even if you were not the person birthing your child, you’re in for a postpartum experience that far extends the standard six weeks or even a year. To help you readjust in terms of your body and mind, one of the best things you can do is enlist the help of postpartum practitioners, one of them being a postpartum chiropractor. 

What is a postpartum chiropractor? 

A Doctor of Chiropractic {DC) is an alternative healthcare professional who specializes in spinal adjustments, explains Allen Conrad, B.S., D.C., C.S.C.S., owner of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania. Postpartum chiropractors are specialized in certain techniques that apply gentle, non-invasive adjustments to the spine and pelvis and are aimed at realigning the body and relieving discomfort. These techniques help address the musculoskeletal issues that can arise during pregnancy and childbirth. 

While most chiropractors are qualified to assess and treat postpartum patients, certain chiropractors actually specialize in caring for individuals during the pregnant and postpartum periods. “These practitioners have undergone specialty postgraduate training that has allowed them to care for this group of patients,” explains Jordan Duncan, D.C., a chiropractor at Silverdale Sport & Spine.

Who can benefit from a postpartum chiropractor?

Not every person may feel they need a postpartum chiropractor, however, all can benefit from seeing one, according to Dr. Duncan. In fact, he explains that it is most effective for those dealing with back and neck pain after their pregnancy, which accounts for some 50 percent of birthing individuals, according to Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy

“Those who dealt with neck pain or low back pain during pregnancy will often have postpartum neck pain and back pain, however, rehabbing these areas can help alleviate the pain and get the areas moving better,” Dr. Duncan says. 

It’s worth pointing out that the length of delivery can be a factor that increases your risk of back and hip pain postpartum. Studies have shown that 28 percent of mothers who had postpartum acute back pain never had it go away. “Postpartum treatments like chiropractic care and massage therapy can help with back pain, and if left untreated, 40 percent of mothers may develop chronic low back pain as a result,” says Dr. Conrad.

Benefits of a postpartum chiropractor

Here’s a look at some of the key benefits of a postpartum chiropractor.

Reduced pain

A major benefit of seeing a postpartum chiropractor is pain relief—in nearly all areas. “Chiropractors are experts in treating musculoskeletal pain, and postpartum chiropractors specialize in conditions commonly seen in patients following childbirth,” says Dr. Duncan. “Reducing pain is extremely important during this time, especially without the use of medications if a new mother is breastfeeding.”

Increased flexibility and range of motion 

Equally important to pain relief is your ability to achieve full range of motion, which can be compromised from pregnancy and birth, explains Dr. Conrad.  “When muscles get sore, they shorten or contract, which can be the result of carrying the newborn for long hours, affecting the shoulders, neck and back,” he says. “Our office incorporates stretching and strengthening exercises and massage therapy to help postpartum mothers prevent permanent scar tissue from forming while carrying the child for long hours each day.” 

Strengthened core

Your core takes a serious toll during pregnancy as it changes and shifts to allow for the growth of your baby. Working on strengthening it postpartum can be very helpful to get you back to normal life. “The core musculature has to stretch to accommodate the baby in the uterus, which, combined with some of the hormones released during pregnancy, can result in laxity of the core area,” says Alex Tauberg, D.C., C.S.C.S., chiropractor, and certified strength and condition specialist. “Strengthening this area up can help to both reduce pain and prevent future issues.”

Improved posture

It’s quite common for a new mother to experience poor posture, not only from the delivery process, but also from the ergonomics of feeding, rocking and carrying around a new baby. “A combination of chiropractic and massage therapy helps alleviate sore muscles which occur from the recent lifting and carrying of the child,” says Dr. Conrad. “Learning to lift and bend with proper ergonomics can help prevent shoulder and elbow tendinitis which commonly occurs for first time mothers who are carrying the child for long hours each day.”

Relief from stress

Postpartum chiropractors can help manage stress following childbirth—including physical, mental and emotional stress. In fact, Dr. Duncan explains that physical tension is actually a common manifestation of mental and emotional stress, and, by treating one aspect, you can often affect the other. “Reducing stress through manual procedures and educating patients on diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management can greatly help patients during this time,” he says. 

What to expect from a visit with a postpartum chiropractor 

Most of the time, postpartum chiropractic visits are covered by insurance, but you may need to get a referral from your doctor in order to see one—that all depends on your individual insurance plan. If your insurance doesn’t cover the visit, you can expect to pay anywhere from $60-$200 out of pocket. 

When visiting a postpartum chiropractor, you can first expect to go over a detailed medical history, as well as any health concerns you may be experiencing. You’ll want to share the details of your pregnancy as well as your birth experience. “Following the history, the chiropractor will perform a thorough physical exam, where a variety of exam procedures targeting muscles, nerves, and joints will be conducted,” explains Dr. Duncan. “Some chiropractors take x-rays, but these often aren’t necessary for most conditions.” 

Finally, Dr. Duncan explains that your chiropractor will likely discuss the findings from their assessment and outline a treatment plan that may entail manual or instrument assisted adjustments, soft tissue treatments, exercises, and perhaps education regarding diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. 

The Mother Chapter is here for you as you navigate the postpartum period. From headaches and hair loss to night sweats and beyond, we’re here to accompany you every step of the way. Head to The Mother Chapter to read articles on all facets of the motherhood experience and to join the community yourself.

Author

  • Jenn Sinrich

    Jenn Sinrich is the co-founder of Mila & Jo Media, an award-winning journalist and mom to Mila and Leo. She's also on-track to become a bereavement and postpartum doula to help women, like her, who've experienced pregnancy loss. She's a Peloton-tread addict who loves to cook and spend time with her friends and family. A Boston-native, she has always loved the Big Apple, which she called her home for close to a decade. Follow Jenn on Instagram. and visit her website.

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