INCIID Insights Newsletter April 2007: Chiropractic and Infertility by Kari Crawford
Chiropractic Does Not Treat Infertility
Kari Crawford, B.S., D.C
Aligning the spine to stimulate the body’s natural healing process is the goal of every chiropractor, correcting the cause of the problem, not the symptom or disorder. Chiropractors assist the body in achieving optimal health in order to function properly in all areas. Chiropractors do not treat infertility, but research shows that the likelihood of achieving a pregnancy following appropriate chiropractic treatment is increased. Doctors of chiropractic do not claim to be a substitution for medical doctors or infertility specialists.
A study published on July 6, 2006 in Chiropractic and Osteopathy (an online journal published by BioMed Central), showed that almost all of the participating DCs (99.8%) recommended patients see an MD. Most DCs (91%) have formally referred a patient to an MD at some time. Approximately 57% of DCs initiate a formal referral to MDs.
Chiropractors believe that the body can heal itself if given the opportunity. The twenty-four vertebrae of the spine form a protective chamber around the spinal cord, which provides communication between the brain and the body. The spinal cord is like a highway with nerves branching off and exiting at each vertebral level to communicate with specific areas of the body. If one or more of these nerves are not functioning properly, the corresponding area of the body will not function properly. Nerves malfunction due to vertebral misalignments (subluxations). This prevents the body from healing itself. For example, nerve roots of the lumbar spine and the sacral nerves feed the reproductive organs in both males and females. If these nerve roots are not functioning properly, neither will the reproductive organs. When chiropractors correct misalignment, normal functioning to the spinal cord, nerve roots and the rest of the body is restored.
Simon A. Senzon, M.A., D.C. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (a peer-reviewed scientific journal), September 14, 2003, pp1-6
A 34 year old female who had one previous aborted IVF attempt prior to chiropractic care. On the second IVF attempt, estradiol was 1001pg/ml on day 8, and 2019pg/ml on day 11, with LH at 9.3. The Oocyte retrieval after the second attempt was 10 eggs, each approximately 18mm. A successful aspiration of eggs was completed on 6/17/02, and a successful pregnancy and birth followed.
Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, December 8, 2003
A 32 year old female with a history of infertility, had attempted to become pregnant since August 1999, with no success and sought chiropractic care in November of 2001. Prior to chiropractic care, she had received unsuccessful conventional medical treatment, including detailed fertility testing, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and treatment with the fertility drug Clomid. She sought chiropractic care on November 3, 2001. Chiropractic analysis and correction were performed over the next six weeks. During this time, the patient’s secondary complaints of low back pain and headaches improved dramatically. Additionally, the patient’s fertility specialists noted that her estrogen levels, endometrial thickness, and cervical mucus levels were all at more favorable levels than at the time of the first in vitro attempt. A second attempt at in vitro fertilization was made on February 17, 2002, and the patient had a positive pregnancy test on March 2, 2002.
Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics (JCCP), July 2006
A 37 year old woman was diagnosed with infertility. The woman presented herself for chiropractic care due to lower back pain. She had a past history of endometriosis, a retroverted uterus and inactive ovaries and therefore she was unable to conceive. She had undergone four unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilization. Her chiropractic examination determined the presence of subluxations in the upper, mid and lower spine. Chiropractic care was initiated. The patient noticed relief of back pain after the first visit. After her fourth month of care the patient reported that she was feeling “great” and was scheduled for a fifth and final attempt at in vitro fertilization. During the in-vitro-fertilization program it was medically discovered that her ovaries were showing activity for the first time on her record, and she had produced two mature eggs. She became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
No case studies have been reported on the effectiveness of chiropractic on male infertility. However, experience leads many to believe that chiropractic adjustments and nutritional supplementation can balance male hormones, improve prostate functioning and increase sperm count and motility.
Chiropractic technique (the way an adjustment is performed) varies from doctor to doctor. The most important thing to remember is that the goal of every chiropractor is to remove interference to healing. This can be accomplished many different ways.
The typical treatment for a patient would consist of an extensive new patient exam, followed by a report of findings and the development of a customized treatment plan. Usually the patient will need to be adjusted two times each week for eight weeks. This may vary depending on the severity of the misalignment and other contributing factors. The cost for treatment would average $1500. Insurance companies usually cover a majority of this amount depending on the type of plan and the patient’s subjective and objective findings.
The chiropractor will recommend the patient be adjusted on a periodic basis following the initial eight weeks of care in order to maintain optimal wellbeing. This is ideal because spinal misalignments are caused by thoughts, traumas and toxins which affect our bodies on a daily basis. Maintaining a healthy spine leads to a healthy future.
While studies do not prove that chiropractic care alone cures infertility, they show that chiropractic adjustments improve homeostasis, enhance overall health and prepare the body for pregnancy.
I encourage you to refer your patients who have had unsuccessful IVF attempts to a reputable chiropractor, prior to the patient initiating a second IVF. I am confident you will see positive results. Chiropractic can eventually be implemented as a recommended precursor to IVF.
As good as our individual efforts may be, together we can achieve even greater success.
Kari Crawford, B.S., D.C. is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.