Fertility and Chiropractic


Mankato, MN

More and more couples are having trouble conceiving, approximately 10% of the population. That number doesn’t seem high, but to those in that ten percent it feels extremely high.

Many people seek chiropractic care for neck pain or low back pain, and it’s a great alternative to naturally relieving those symptoms. Chiropractic is also great at improving overall health. But could chiropractic really help fertility?

Let’s go back to basic anatomy. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The nervous system controls everything in your body and without these two things, nothing works. The brain and spinal cord are protected by the skull and the spine. So it makes sense that if the spine isn’t functioning properly the nervous system won’t be either.

What we look for are called subluxations, or misalignments of the spine, or even more simply put the joints or bones in the spine are “stuck” in the wrong position. When subluxations happen, they put stress or pressure on the nervous system leading to nervous system dysfunction causing muscle spasms, inflammation, pain or organ/organ system dysfunction. The stress on the nervous system due to subluxations of the spine is similar to stepping on a hose. You still have the information coming in and out, but it isn’t as good as it should be. Because the nerves come out between each bone of the spine, they go everywhere in the body, and are how the brain and the body communicate. For example, the nerves in the low back go to all organs and organ systems in the abdomen, which includes the reproductive system. As a chiropractor, I detect these subluxations causing stress on the body and correct them to allow the body to function properly. If you are interested in more research behind chiropractic and fertility, here is a great article.

But how do these subluxations happen? Subluxations are due to stress. I know what you’re thinking, who doesn’t have stress?! And you’re correct, everyone does. But the kind of stress your thinking and the kind that I’m referring to are different. When I say stress in relation to our health I am talking about physical (walking, sitting, falls/accidents etc.), chemical (diet, medications, not drinking enough water) and emotional. Conceiving a baby is considered a stress on the body and if that body is already under a state of distress or system overload, it will not take on additional stress in order to protect itself.

Along with chiropractic, we have an approach based on the fundamental essentials that are needed so your body can function at its most optimal level. We believe in giving your body the best chance for a successful pregnancy by focusing on your health first. And if you are healthier, your child will be healthier. It's a win-win! You can read more about our approach here.

Your Nervous System


I’m sure many of you know chiropractic care has to do with the spine, but what many of you might not be aware of is that chiropractic actually focuses on the nervous system. I was the same way. I started seeing the chiropractor in high school for Bell’s Palsy and neck pain. Then in college I had severe low back pain and chiropractic care helped tremendously. Every time I went to one it was for a reason – being in pain with the only goal of getting out of that discomfort. I had no idea that my health and body could benefit so much from chiropractic care, until I started researching more about it and decided to go to chiropractic school. I was also not educated about chiropractic and its amazing benefits from the chiropractor I was seeing (but as a teenager I doubt I would have listened anyway!) but this is why I love to educate my patients about how wonderful chiropractic care is. More often than not, the reason to begin seeing a chiropractor is for pain relief or some other complaint, but a lot of people will notice other differences/improvements in their bodies. That is the result of treating the nervous system by treating the spine allows the body to function better, and for the brain and the body to communicate more efficiently.

The nervous system is the major controlling system of the body. Every single feeling, thought, and action is processed by the nervous system. The nervous system allows the body to constantly react to changes in its internal and external environments, therefore regulating the body for optimal health. The nervous system is divided into two parts: the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord. The PNS consists of nerve fibers, cell bodies and synapses that connect the peripheral structures in the body to the CNS, allowing the brain and body to communicate.

The PNS includes 12 cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves that provide communication from the CNS to the rest of the body and regulate the functions of the body. These nerves branch out from the spinal cord traveling through the spine to the body then back to the spinal cord and brain. One of the most important divisions of the PNS is called the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS controls the functions of the body that are automatic, meaning they are performed without you even thinking about it. Some of these functions include blood pressure, breathing and digestion along with several other organ functions. The ANS also has two divisions: the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System – both of which are extremely important.

The Sympathetic Nervous System is in charge of the “Fight or Flight Response” that occurs in stressful situations, which you may or may not have heard of. I like to describe this response by imagining if you are camping out in the woods and a bear shows up. What do you do – fight or flight? (I hope you know to run. I mean, you can stick around and fight the bear… But I wouldn’t recommend it!) How do you know instinctively that you need to run and how does your body prepare for that? It’s the sympathetic nervous system! It increases your breathing, your heart rate, your blood pressure, increases blood flow to muscles to make them stronger, etc. It also slows the body processes that are not needed in stressful/emergency situations, like digestion. The sympathetic nervous system is great for short-term, but if it is stimulated and activated for long-term, meaning our bodies are in a constant state of stress, that is when we start having dysfunctions of the body.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System conserves and restores. It slows down your heart rate and blood pressure, it stimulates digestion, conserves energy, and uses the energy to restore and build tissues. Our parasympathetic nervous system should actually be dominant over the sympathetic nervous system, but like I mentioned above a lot of us tend to have a dominant sympathetic nervous system.

Chiropractors treat the nervous system, stimulating and decreasing the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to allow proper balance, communication and functions of the body. Chiropractic adjustments also decrease the stress on the body that causes spinal misalignments. What I mean by stress is any physical, chemical and emotional stress. They all affect our nervous systems. This is exactly why chiropractic is great for everyone – no matter what our age we all have stress! 

Contact Vitality Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Mankato, MN today to have your spine and nervous system checked!

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System


Mankato, MN

Cold and flu season is upon us! I don’t know about you, but I like learning of natural ways to protect my immune system so I can prevent falling victim to the cold or flu. Or if I’ve already caught the bug, knowing what to take to make me feel better the fastest (and I don’t mean taking copious amounts of Dayquil and Nyquil to help me get through the day and night!).

There are many natural ways to jumpstart your immune system, but these are a few we recommend to our patients:

  • Chiropractic care:  Chiropractic care regulates or treats the nervous system. The nervous system controls everything in your body, including the immune system. Chiropractic care boosts the immune system by 200-400% - and that is for everyone!
  • Vitamin D:  The sun is a natural source of vitamin D, but with daylight hours decreasing and the weather getting colder, it’s harder to get enough vitamin D from the sun. Supplement vitamin D3 to prevent cold/flu and to jumpstart the immune system.
  • Probiotics:  Probiotics are “good” bacteria that inhabit the gut and support the immune system. Over 70% of the immune system is controlled by what happens in the gut. If you are on antibiotics it’s so important to take probiotics after to help replenish the good bacteria.
  • Omega-3-Fatty Acids:  Not only are Omega-3 fatty acids good for the cardiovascular system, reducing inflammation and enhancing brain function they also boost the immune system.
  • Diet: Making sure your diet is full of fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to fight off that pesky cold/flu is so important. If you find it hard to fit in several servings each day consider throwing veggies and fruit into a smoothie (preferably one without yogurt or milk) or juicing them into a delicious juice. Both of these are my favorite way of getting more fruits and vegetables daily. And what is even better is that many fruits and vegetables are prebiotics, which are a form of non-digestible fiber called oligosaccharides that help support and essentially feed the probiotics.
  • Exercise:  Regular exercise is important for healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.  Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
  • Echinacea:  Helps prevent colds and flu, but if taken when you are sick it also helps shorten the duration and decreases severity. NOTE: Echinacea is in the ragweed family, so if you are allergic to ragweed you may be allergic to Echinacea as well.
  • Garlic:  Garlic is a potent herb with a variety of active compounds that reduce inflammation, fight infection and regulate the cardiovascular system. Garlic is full of antioxidants and even helps you fight the cold/flu faster.

Now you know of natural ways to kick that cold or flu to the curb!

Tips for Backpack Safety

Pediatric Chiropractor discusses tips for backpack safety to prevent low back pain and neck pain in children.

Mankato, MN

It’s that time of year already when all the kids go back to school. Some excited, some not so much, I’m sure! I was always one that was ready to go back to school no matter what age I was. I got to see my friends, sports practices started and just maybe because I enjoyed learning, (especially the older I got – obviously!). I still remember the overloaded backpacks and knowing what I know now, remember what they do to your posture. So I thought I would write about some tips for the proper way to wear and pack a backpack.

Backpacks are actually one of the leading causes of shoulder and back pain in children. Think about how their posture changes when carrying one – they tend to bend forward, their shoulders rolled and their heads come way too far forward (ideally, our ears should be in alignment with our shoulders). This posture causes stress on their spine and muscles that over time could lead to pain, which could either be due to the wrong sized backpack, one not properly adjusted or one that is too heavy.

So I want you to ask yourself these questions to make sure your child has the correct backpack and to follow these recommendations by the American Chiropractic Association.

  • Is the backpack the correct size for your child? The backpack should not be bigger (wider or longer) than the size of your child’s torso. It also should not hang more than 4 inches below their waistline because when it hangs lower than that it increases the weight on the shoulders and causes your child to lean forward when walking.
  • Does the backpack have two wide and padded shoulder straps? These types of straps help protect the neck and shoulder muscles by preventing unnecessary pressure being placed on them and they are more comfortable, unlike non-padded straps.
  • Are the shoulder straps adjustable? The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. The straps should be pulled tight to minimize the space between the backpack and the child’s back. The backpack should also be evenly centered in the middle of your child’s back.
  • Does your child use both straps? Carrying the backpack using both shoulder straps helps to distribute the weight of the backpack evenly. Lugging a heavy backpack by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, low-back pain, and poor posture.
  • Does the backpack have a padded back? A padded back not only provides more comfort, but also protects your child from being poked by sharp edges on school supplies (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
  • Does the backpack have several compartments? A backpack with individualized compartments helps position the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back, and try to place the heaviest items closet to the body.
  • How heavy is the backpack? It is recommended that a child’s backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of his/her bodyweight. For example, a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds, and a 50-pound child shouldn’t carry more than 5 pounds.

Dr. Jessica specializes in chiropractic care for children. If your child reports pain or you notice changes in his/her posture, please give us a call or ask us about your child’s spine when you are in for your regular adjustment.

A Healthier, Happier Life

What is chiropractic? Mankato Chiropractor explains chiropractic and how it affects a healthy life.

Welcome to Vitality! This is my first blog post for my very own practice and I am SO excited to tell you more about chiropractic and ways to live a healthier, happier life.

Maybe you’ve heard the word Vitality before and you may or may not know the meaning. There are several definitions of the word Vitality - the power giving continuance of life, the capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence, and the power to live or grow. I seriously love all of these definitions, but to me Vitality simply means Life. And that is why I named my practice Vitality. I want to help others live the life they deserve by helping their bodies heal and function properly. It is possible for everyone because vitality is present in each and every one of us.

But where does chiropractic come into play in living happier and healthier lives? Well let me tell you! For those of you that have not been to a chiropractor previously or those who sought chiropractic care for a specific condition, there is so much more to chiropractic care than treating low back pain or neck pain, etc. In order to fully explain chiropractic, we need to freshen up on our physiology.

I want you to think of the different systems in our bodies and answer these questions.

1.     What system is responsible for healing when you cut yourself?

2.     What system controls your blood pressure and pulse?

3.     What system is accountable for your breathing?

If you answered the following questions with the immune system, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system you would actually be incorrect. Yes, they do do these things but the nervous system is actually the system that controls the immune, cardiovascular, respiratory systems and all the other systems. Your nervous system controls everything in your body – every cell, organ, muscle and tissue.

I will actually go into more detail about the nervous system in an upcoming blog, but I’m going to give a short rundown of it for the purpose of today’s blog. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord is protected by the spine and there are nerves that travel from the spinal cord to everywhere in your body (as mentioned above every cell, muscle, organ and tissue). As chiropractors, we look for areas of misalignment in the spine. These areas are called subluxations, which they are lacking proper joint motion and are “stuck” in the wrong position, so to speak. Subluxations put pressure on the nerves that come from the side of the spine and connect to specific areas of the body, resulting in dysfunction of that organ, muscle, etc. and ultimately causing the body to not function at its most optimal level. As a result of our bodies not functioning properly, we may notice certain symptoms such as pain, muscle spasms, constipation, headaches or others. If you are experiencing such symptoms, are you really living a happy, healthy life? Have you ever noticed that when you are in pain or not feeling your best, it can actually affect your mood and the amount of negative versus positive thoughts you have? Just think about how it can affect you and your life.

Chiropractors correct the areas of subluxation to not only help you feel better but also to allow proper communication of your brain and body, allow your body to function the way it should and help you take the step towards a better life.

Vitality Chiropractic & Acupuncture offers care to those in and surrounding areas to Mankato, MN.