Infertility is a real problem for many couples. The struggles of infertility force couples to recognize an entirely new level of patience, one that comes with sadness and sorrow at the core. Fortunately, health care researchers are constantly looking for ways to help couples solve the problem that seems to never end.
As men and women are looking for treatments with a holistic, rather than a prescription drug, approach, chiropractic care has been a go-to option. Chiropractic care, at its base, is about realigning the spine for optimized health. So, couples struggling with infertility often turn to chiropractic care, they do so with the hopes that realigning the spine will change help them with fertility.
Reviewing Case Studies Found Positive Associations
A review of case studies published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association found "positive outcomes predominated in our scoping review of chiropractic management of infertility." For most of the case studies that were reviewed, the average infertile period of time was three years. In most cases, it only took a few months of chiropractic care before women became pregnant. Unfortunately, the review looked at case studies, not randomized and controlled studies that are preferred in medical studies.
In the case studies, most of the women were in their 20s and 30s. Nearly all of them were treated with manual spinal manipulation with manual palpation to find the vertebra to adjust. Interestingly, they all used different methods of testing to find the appropriate vertebra to adjust. Some used heart rate, thermography, and surface EMG.
Fertility Treatments and Possible Side Effects
Couples struggling with infertility often turn to fertility drugs, but those who do use them should know there are dangerous side effects. Researchers have studied a range of side effects both for the men and women using the drugs to the children who were a result of them. One such study was published in The BMJ and found a connection between fertility treatments and children and adolescents with mental disorders.
The findings of this study were mixed. When children were born due to in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic injections, they had the same chances of mental disorders as children who were conceived without treatment. The only difference between the two groups was that children who were conceived with IVF or II were a subtle increase in tic disorders. Another finding involved children who were born after ovulation induction. They had a slightly higher risk of autism spectrum disorders, hyperkinetic disorders, tic disorders, and emotional, behavioral, and social disorders when compared to children who were conceived spontaneously. The study looked at over 500,000 live births in Denmark.
With an increased possibility of mental disorders for children who are born after fertility treatments and ovulation induction, it is easy to see why men and women are looking at chiropractic care to treat infertility.
Avoiding the side effects of fertility drugs
The side effects of fertility drugs have been widely recorded and studied. In a case published in Drug Safety, the side effects of popular fertility drugs were studied. In some cases, the side effects of most fertility drugs can cause life-threatening effects that include multiple gestations and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. They can also cause problems like hot flushes, visual disturbances, nausea, hypotension, and cervical mucus abnormalities.
There have also been several studies looking at the connection between fertility drugs and a variety of cancers. In the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online, researchers found that more research needs to be conducted about the relationships between fertility drugs and cancer as women who have taken the drugs in the study are not yet at the age when people begin developing cancer. The cancers that have been reported include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer.
Successful case studies using chiropractic adjustments
Instead of worrying about medical side effects and the possibility of cancer, chiropractic care can help with infertility. In a case study reported in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, a 29-year-old woman who had been struggling with infertility for eight years turned to chiropractic care. The chiropractor found that she had a subluxation in the S4 sacral vertebra. The problem was treated with "specific, high-velocity, low-amplitude thrusts were delivered according to Gonstead protocol." She was treated for four weeks and became pregnant.
Another case study saw similar results. This study was also reported in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research as well as the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic.
In this study, a 31-year-old woman with three years of infertility visited a chiropractor to deal with her upper back pain, neck tension, and headaches. She also complained of heavy bleeding during two-week-long menstrual cycles. She received a full evaluation to find where her problems were. She received five months of Specific Diversified adjustments. After the first adjustment, her menstruation corrected and after eight adjustments, she reported being pregnant.
The theory supporting optimization of fertility and chiropractic care
The theory behind chiropractic adjustments ending infertility has to do with the structure of the body. A study reported in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics shared why chiropractic works. "The neurology of the reproductive system is dominated by the nerve roots T12 to the sacrum. The T12 nerve root innervates the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries, and has adrenal influences in the sympathetic chain."
While there aren't any large studies that show how adjustments affect fertility, the small case studies that have been reported have shown a success. Chiropractors believe that when vertebrae are subluxated, the flow of energy that comes from the nerve root is blocked. When the vertebra is adjusted, the flow of energy returns to the way it should be. When the trouble is near the nerve roots that affect the reproductive systems in men and women, adjustments open up the flow of energy, which can result in fertility.
The same study in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics also discusses healthy nutrition and massage therapy. Both of these are commonly used in chiropractic offices and can both help increase fertility. Men and women both need to look at their levels of hydration and their intake of vitamins and minerals to optimize fertility. They can also look at various forms of massage therapy, like Reiki and Mayan Abdominal Massage, to help realign body structure, too.
About The AuthorDr. Brent Wells, D.C. has been a chiropractor for over 20 years and has treated thousands of patients. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.