Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Lower back pain is a common side effect of pregnancy and affects some women as early as their first trimester. For some, their back pain presents before they even realize they are pregnant!

There are several reasons why your back may hurt while you are pregnant. 

  • Hormones: It goes probably goes without saying that hormonal changes take place during pregnancy! One particular hormone, relaxin, is a major contributor for women experiencing lower back pain during pregnancy. Relaxin, like it's namesake, relaxes or softens the ligaments in the pelvis in order to allow a woman's body to accommodate their growing uterus and prepare them for delivery.  The softening of the pelvic ligaments can lead to back pain because with that ligamentous laxity, there is a great deal of strain placed on the pelvic joints as they are stretched. Some women will feel pain in the lower back, in their pubic bone (front of the pelvis) or even have pain that radiates into their legs. 
  • Biomechanical changes (the way you move) and shifting of your center of gravity: As your pregnancy progresses and your body changes, your center of gravity will shift forward. With that, there is tremendous pressure on your lower back and pelvis. Additionally, the way you perform various tasks may become altered as a result of the way you feel or simply because you can't perform activities the way you usually would because your belly prevents you from doing so! (think tying your shoes or positions you can comfortably sleep in). The methods you adapt to perform daily tasks may put additional stress on your body, leading to pain. 
  • Weight gain: It is obviously normal to gain weight when you are pregnant, however that weight gain can have consequences on the way your body feels. Imagine carrying around a backpack weighed down with an additional 20 or 30 pounds or more. You can't leave the backpack in your car while you run errands or take it off while you sleep at night. The weight gain experienced during pregnancy comes on rather quickly and puts additional pressure on you joints and supporting musculature as well. 

So what can you do about it?

For most of the women who come to my office during pregnancy looking for help with their back pain, the approach is multidimensional. Your body is going to continuously change as your pregnancy progresses, so it's about not only helping you feel better now, but giving you the tools you need to control the severity of your back pain symptoms as your pregnancy progresses.

Chiropractic techniques like the Webster method are aimed at assessing and correcting mis-alignments of the pelvis and it's articulating partners; the spine and hips. The Webster technique involves spinal (sacral) and pelvic adjustments, as well as treatment of the involved soft tissues, namely the gluteal and hip muscles and the round ligaments that suspend your belly as it grows.  

In addition to spinal and pelvic adjustments (joint mobilizations/manipulation) and manual (hands on) soft tissue treatments performed in the office, simple (but important) exercises are recommended that you must perform to strengthen the muscles that stabilize your pelvis and help reduce painful stresses placed on those joints as your body changes to help reduce joint pain due to hypermobility (aka loose joints). 

Most of my pregnant patients experience relief very early on once treatment starts, which is wonderful! For most of my patients, treatments once or twice a week through the duration of their pregnancy help them experience significant reduction, and in some cases, complete elimination of their pain. Every patient's situation is different, so your needs would be based on the severity of your symptoms and response to care. 

Acupuncture and trigger point needling is another safe and effective option for pregnancy related pain I use in conjunction with chiropractic care and physical therapy exercises. 

To find out if the treatments offered at Advanced OC Wellness are right for you, contact us!

Kids and Backpack Safety

It's that time of year once again when the kids are saying goodbye to summer and going back to school!  While this is an exciting time for a lot of kids, new friends, new teachers and new school clothes, it also means filling up those backpacks with lots and lots of books and supplies. 

backpack safety.jpg

"About 6,000 children are injured each year from wearing an inappropriate backpack," Linda Rhodes, senior occupational therapist at Children's Hospital of Georgia, said in a Georgia Regents University news release.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, a child's backpack should not exceed 10-15% of that child's weight. In addition to weight, the manner in which the bag is worn is equally important.  Both straps should be worn on both shoulders, (no leaning to the side) and the length of the backpack should not hang below their waist.  

If your child has to bend forward at the hips or lean back in order to walk with their bag, adjustments must be made! Wide padded straps are also recommended to prevent nerve compression around the shoulder region.

This is vitally important to protect your child's back and prevent these types of injuries. Kids are already sitting in class most of the day and probably aren't practicing proper posture.  

In addition to overuse injuries such as sprains/strains due to use of an overly heavy pack, other dangers could arise, such as potential trips and falls due to clumsy walking with the overweight bag.  

Do yourself and your young ones a favor and weigh your child and their backpack and talk to them about the importance of what has been expressed in the above post. They only get one back for their lifetime, and although they are young, that doesn't mean they can't get injured! Help them stay active, safe and injury free!

For questions about backpack safety and how we can help, call the office or set up an appointment today! Click Here!   

It's Winesday!!

Wednesday has become synonymous with the terms of endearment "Hump Day" and "Winesday".  Once we have made it over the hump we are closer to the weekend and (hopefully) relaxation and decompression from the stressful week we endured. 

I thought it would be fun to share some health benefits associated with (moderate) indulgence in "Winesday".  I said moderate, so don't start pounding bottles tonight!

Compliments of this Food & Wine article. 

The Benefit: Promotes Longevity

The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk

The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.

The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam's VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke

The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clot–related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts

The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.

The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline

The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.


Source: http://

Bad Posture Isn't Just Ugly...It's a Syndrome.

Upper crossed syndrome.

You may be asking yourself, WHAT THE HECK IS UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME??  


Well, I am here to tell you.  Upper crossed syndrome refers to postural and muscular imbalances caused by certain muscles being facilitated (activated) while others are inhibited (lazy) leading to slumped forward, not-so-attractive posture.   

What does upper crossed syndrome look like?

If you were to look around any office you will likely be able to spot at least one case of this syndrome.  Basically, slouched posture, rounded back with chin jutting forward.  While this is obviously not an attractive look, the implications go far beyond appearance.  

This "condition" mostly affects those who sit for long periods of time at a desk or in a car. When one gets lazy with their posture and gradually assumes the above described position a few things begin to happen.  

From the top down: the muscles in the back of your head and neck become overworked, trying to keep your eyes on the horizon  because of your rounded shoulders and jutting chin.  This can lead to tension headaches you feel at the base of your skull and into your temples. Your scapular (shoulder blade) muscles responsible for pulling your shoulders back into their proper position go into hibernation mode and are then unable to combat the effects of your tight pectoral muscles, which pull you further forward.  

So what? When you assume this posture described above, the normal curves of the spine are altered.  The curve in your neck straightens and the curve in your mid-back becomes exaggerated.  When this occurs the joints don't wear evenly and wear and tear is accelerated. This can lead to pain and early onset of arthritis in the spine.  

If you suspect you are afflicted with this syndrome, there's hope!  Dr. Pierce used chiropractic care to restore joint mobility to the spine, muscle release to relax tight muscles and exercise to strengthen and  correct the problem long-term.  If addressed early, you can avoid the painful and debilitating effects of upper-crossed syndrome! To make your appointment call (949)300-2028 or book online today!

Healthy 4th of July Options!

This 4th of July, try to include some healthier options into your BBQ festivities!

Try substituting a refreshing cucumber, tomato and feta salad for pasta salad, or, my personal favorite, a garbanzo bean, quinoa, avocado, cilantro with lemon salad in place of your potato salad! 

Small substitutions can have a large impact on your overall health.  Start small and bigger steps will come.  

Another small step is to start integrating chiropractic care or acupuncture into your health routine!  Patients who visit chiropractors tend to be more health-conscious overall.  Also, your chiropractor is your health advocate! Keeping you healthy and motivating you to make smart choices and stick with them. We do more than just keep you pain free!!  Are you  experiencing any pain, having trouble with your posture, want to learn exercises to stabilize and strengthen your core, or are just interested in becoming healthier overall?  Call or make any appointment online today! Dr. Pierce's office is conveniently located in Newport Beach near Fashion Island and offers chiropractic and acupuncture services 5 days a week!