A Chiropractic Approach to Healthy Cycles
Here’s an experiment. Next time you’re out with your lady-friends at your monthly brunch date ask this question “How do you feel about your period?”
I pretty much guarantee at least 50-75% of the group will meet you with groans and stories of discomfort and annoyance. A couple people will most likely tell you they “solved” their cycle problems by starting some form of hormonal contraceptive. You might get a few odd looks – because…you know…talking about periods is a little taboo.
It was back in chiropractic college when the widespread nature of dysmenorrhea (aka painful periods) first popped up on my radar. I was experiencing some issues myself and wasn’t getting much help from my medical doctor who thought my pain was “pretty normal”.
I started asking around, and nearly everyone I met had the same story. I heard “yeah…my periods are terrible!” or “my cramps are so bad sometimes they make me nauseous” or “ugh…I hate that my face breaks out right before”.
Many women were masking their symptoms with some form of hormonal medication only to be dealing with the side effects of that medication. Nearly everyone had a negative experience with their cycle and most hadn’t discussed it with anyone before.
So why this crazy epidemic of period problems?
Here’s a chiropractic point of view. We are living in a stressful world these days. In chiropractic, we consider 3 types of stresses on the body – namely mental, physical, and chemical – and in Western society today, women are being bombarded with these stresses like never before.
We have immense mental stress as we are judging our worth by what society deems “successful” all the while having a career and being the primary caretakers in our families. We are sitting in our cars or our desk jobs for 8+ hours per day, putting ourselves through excruciating high intensity workouts, and lifting our 35 lb kids in one arm while carrying our groceries in the other.
Don’t even get me started on chemical stress – our bodies are dealing with funky chemicals in/on our food, in our beauty products, in medications, and in our cleaning products.
Our body can handle and adapt to these stresses miraculously well…but eventually it hits a breaking point. It’s this breaking point where our nervous and hormonal systems wear down. That’s when we start noticing symptoms – and for women, many of these symptoms can manifest as period problems.
The period problems aren’t the root cause….they are the result.
So we have two choices for solving our symptoms. We can decrease the stress load on the body or we can strengthen the body to meet our stress demands. If you want to heal quickly (who doesn’t?!) my advice is to do both.
Chiropractic care is a fantastic method to elevate the body’s ability to meet our stress demands. By supporting the nervous system, the brain can communicate more effectively and efficiently with the body. Furthermore, the nervous system has direct connections to our body’s other communication pathway – our hormonal system. By ensuring the nervous system is functioning, we can help our organs and tissues function in synchrony. When our bodies function better they can handle more stress without breaking down. Pretty simple, huh?
In closing, I’d like to say one more thing about women and period problems…..
Having debilitating symptoms every month isn’t normal. Your cycles aren’t just for procreation. How you feel for 3-7 days out of every month matters. It matters a lot.
If any of this post speaks to you, I’m extending this personal invitation to come chat with me. We’ll sit down over a cup of tea, discuss your symptoms, and figure out what you need to have a wonderful cycle.
Links to more research: Here are some links to case studies on chiropractic care and cycle health.
Dr. Kelsey Perreault is a chiropractor at Spark Wellness, a holistic cooperative in South Minneapolis. She specializes in women’s health ranging from menstrual health, pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. She thinks all women deserve specialized chiropractic care that helps them feel vibrant, whole, and happy.