Bladder infection or no bladder infection

chiro bladderInterestingly, in the past year I have seen a few female patients that have mentioned ongoing bladder infection-type symptoms, but there was no bladder infection. In all the cases, urine tests were negative for infection, and a few were given antibiotics which did not make a difference to their symptoms. This doesn’t really make sense in the medical world. According to symptoms it seems like an infection but it doesn’t test as one and doesn’t respond like one. In these cases they were all women who had had children. Some had noticed these symptoms on and off since childbirth, while others many years after childbirth.

What I found was that they all responded well, (although some faster than others) to an adjustment to their bladder. An organ adjustment might sound strange but it is literally getting the organ to move slightly within the body cavity to a better position. Our organs are held in place by a type of skin that connects between all our organs. Sometimes for different reasons, such as surgery, the strain of pregnancy or giving birth, or accidents the organs can be jarred, twisted or pushed out of position and the skin that holds them in place may tighten and end up holding them in that new incorrect position. This can cause a sense of tension in the body, or it can cause some changes to the organs ability to function ideally, for example if the Large Intestine is affected it may lead to constipation.

In this case I found there was a downward pressure of the bladder onto the urethra which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder on urination. This pressure caused irritation to the bladder and urethra and hence resulted in infection type sensation. In one case the symptoms would return slightly whenever she lifted something heavy, so again this would create downward pressure in the abdominal cavity and therefore affect the bladder again.

Organ adjustments is a Chiropractic technique that can be used for many different symptoms. It is often used in addition to other adjustments or muscle releases. It may be used for digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation or indigestion. It can also be useful for areas of pain or tightness such as in the ribs or throat. It is a technique that is also very helpful for ongoing tension or pulling sensations following surgery, as you may need some adjusting simply due to the invasive nature of surgery or to break up scar tissue as a result of surgery.


Acupuncture and Later Pregnancy & Birth Preparation

Sacupuncture and pregnancyo you’re counting down the months (or even weeks or days) till you can meet the newest member of your family. This time should be all about nesting and preparing, but that’s hard to do if you are feeling exhausted by some of the conditions that can arise in late pregnancy. When these problems are severe, they can really detract from the experience of being pregnant. Issues that tend to flare up at this stage of the pregnancy include:

  • Swollen ankles, fingers and wrists (can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia
  • Indigestion, acid reflux
  • Varicose veins
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Back pain, sciatica, as baby’s head presses on the nerves exiting the spinal column
  • Pubic symphysitis
  • Insomnia


Easing late pregnancy complaints with Acupuncture.

Thankfully, most of these issues tend to respond well to Acupuncture. You’ve probably already heard of the benefits of Acupuncture in back pain and sciatica, as well as aches and pains like carpal tunnel syndrome. I also use specific Acupuncture points to reduce water retention and aid fluid metabolism, improve indigestion, and ease the discomfort associated with swollen veins and haemorrhoids. Other points can help you sleep or to help nourish the blood (to combat anaemia). These are combined with points selected for your individual constitution and any other symptoms you might be experiencing. The overall result is a very relaxing experience that should help settle your discomfort and support you as your pregnancy advances.

I find that with some of these conditions, especially pubic symphysitis, but also back pain and sciatica, the best results are achieved with a combination of Acupuncture and Chiropractic.

Other issues in late pregnancy that are less common include:

  • Breech baby (head-up rather than the normal head-down position), and other positions not ideal for labour, such as posterior.
  • High blood pressure (pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia),
  • High blood sugar levels (gestational diabetes)
  • Complications of pregnancy like a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia).

Let’s look at how Acupuncture can help these complications.


Breech and other positions not ideal for labour.

If your baby is in breech position, its bottom or feet would be delivered first if you went into labour. Some obstetricians are confident in delivering breech babies. But because complications can occur, most will attempt to physically turn the baby (external cephalic version) if this is possible. If it doesn’t work, the usual advice is to have a Caesarean section, but this is not without its risks and complications. Apart from issues with labour, a prolonged period in some types of breech position can also lead to problems with baby’s hips after birth.

Luckily, there is an alternative. At around 33-34 weeks, Acupuncturists use a specific point on the big toe, which is not needled but instead heated with moxa (a processed form of the herb Artemisia or Mugwort). You continue this treatment at home for 1-2 weeks. The moxibustion stimulates fetal movement, encouraging the baby to move itself into the normal head-down position. This form of treatment has been evaluated by research — it led to the baby turning in about 75% of cases (as a comparison, less than 50% of babies turned by themselves in women who did not have moxibustion treatment). No harmful effects were noted. There is another advantage of this approach. Because we are intervening relatively early in the pregnancy (compared with an external cephalic version at 37-38 weeks), if the moxibustion is successful, the baby is in the breech position for a shorter period, so we’d anticipate less chance of damage to the hips.

The best position for the baby to be born in is head-down, with the chin tucked right down into the chest, and in the head in the anterior position. This means that the back of baby’s head is directly under your pubic bone. This makes for a smoother birth. It is also more efficient, meaning you won’t get as tired during labour because the baby is already lined up correctly. Some babies don’t naturally adopt this position, but instead have their heads the other way up so that their forehead is directly below your pubic bone. This can lead to a longer, more tiring labour, with a lot of back pain, as the baby rotates into the anterior position (this does not always happen – the baby can be born in the posterior position, but this is not common).

We use a similar moxibustion technique if the baby is posterior, coupled with exercises to try and get gravity to work in your favour in encouraging baby to turn anterior.

In the following conditions, acupuncturists working with pregnant women have observed improvement in response to Acupuncture. However, little research has been done to back this up.


High blood pressure.

Your midwife or Obstetrician will be keeping a close eye on your blood pressure, because occasionally pregnant women develop a condition where the blood pressure rises out of control (and other problems develop). This is called pre-eclampsia and poses risks to the health of yourself and the baby.

While women with severe pre-eclampsia need to be hospitalised for monitoring and treatment, Acupuncture can be useful if there is just a mild increase in blood pressure. It can also help reduce the water retention that can also happen with this condition. Generally, the sooner treatment begins the more likely it is to have results. Of course, ongoing monitoring by your obstetric team is very important.


Gestational diabetes.

It’s normal for blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise slightly in pregnancy, but in some women this happens to the extent that diabetes develops. When severe, this can have complications. The concept of diabetes was recognised by the ancient Chinese, and several Acupuncture points have been proven to promote glucose metabolism and pancreatic function. By using these points, plus others for general wellbeing and the stage of pregnancy, we hope to help normalise glucose levels.


Low-lying placenta.

If your placenta is too low in the uterus, this can cause problems with bleeding later in pregnancy. In severe cases, a vaginal birth is not possible as the placenta obstructs the cervix. This condition often resolves by itself as the uterus enlarges and the placenta naturally rises away from the cervix. But in cases where it does not, we can add in Acupuncture points that have a lifting action according to Chinese Medical theory.


Pre-birth treatment – preparing for labour.

So you’re in the final weeks and no doubt you’ll be thinking about how to ease your passage through labour. Birth preparation Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular since research has shown its effectiveness. One New Zealand study found that, overall, women who had birth preparation Acupuncture were 35% less likely to need their labour to be medically induced (43% less likely for women having their first baby). Women having these treatments also had a 31% reduction in epidural use.

I prefer to do weekly treatments from about 35 weeks, as the best effects are achieved when you have 4 treatments or more. In these sessions, we gently prepare your body for labour with specific points that act on the cervix and uterus. We also cover acupressure techniques for you or your support person to use during labour that can help you deal with the contractions and help the cervix dilate.


Inducing labour.

There’s no doubt that it’s best for your body to go into labour by itself. We don’t really understand the interplay between the mother and baby that sets off labour, and it’s likely to be complex and involve a cascade of factors. But sometimes, when the pregnancy goes more than a week – 10 days over the due date, then it’s wise to start weighing up the risks and working out a plan of action. In these cases, or when the Obstetrician wants to induce labour for medical reasons, Acupuncture can be very useful in kick-starting the process and potentially avoiding a medical induction. Feedback from midwives in New Zealand who started using Acupuncture in inductions has generally been positive, although the research is certainly not conclusive. In these circumstances, we stimulate points traditionally used to bring on labour, and do several treatments close together, ideally every couple of days.

So enjoy the last months and weeks of your pregnancy, and don’t forget that Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be great after the birth for promoting healing and dealing with breastfeeding issues like mastitis.


Does sitting affect your health?

Health In The Bay Massage HandsWithin the last 30 years, our world has seen astounding advances in our technological capabilities, which has affected the way people carry out their daily lives. Nowadays, most people are required to spend the majority of their working day in an office environment sat at a desk in front of a computer.

Our bodies, however, were not designed to remain in one position for long periods of time; they were made to move. When we are sedentary, our body responds by burning fewer calories and slowing down our circulation. Such a lifestyle also leads to postural problems, which can develop into chronic health issues.

In a seated position, certain postural muscles, especially in our back and neck, start to become short and tight from being overworked. This then leads to issues such as upper or lower back pain, stiff shoulders, neck pain, tight hamstrings, headaches and migraines. The muscles that support our spine also become weak, like our gluteal and abdominal muscles.

Repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are also becoming more widespread and it is not uncommon for keyboard users to complain of wrist, arm and shoulder pain or discomfort.

I am sure the majority of us, including myself, will have experienced some or all of these above symptoms at some point in our lives.

So what can we do about it? Take time to get up and move about, as well as to stretch. Whilst seated, be aware of your own posture and at work try to change the nature of your tasks as often as you can. In addition, try to develop a regular exercise routine even as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day.

Massage therapy is also extremely effective in this situation to release and relax the muscles, as well as to reduce overall tension and fatigue found within the body. Regular massage sessions are thoroughly recommended to assist in maintaining good body health and well-being.