Chiropractic for Fertility
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September Burton: Good morning . I’m here today at CJ chiropractic again. A few days ago I interviewed, dr. Jenna Bridgewater. And, her husband is here with me today. This is dr. Chris Eddy. And so together they run CJ Chiropractic. That’s Chris and Jenna, I assume. Okay. So CJ chiropractic is a very family friendly chiropractic office, it’s really fun in here, I just enjoy it. So Chris, tell us about how you got into chiropractic and your story. Your wife said that you have quite an amazing story, so I’d love to hear it.
[00:00:30]Chris Eddy: Jenna, my wife moved around a lot as she’s a military brat. I basically was born and raised in Iowa, rural small town on the farm. And, so we did a lot of work on the farm and I was a little bit of a shy kid. I kept to myself, and whenever I was in junior high, my parents forced me to go play football. They just wanted me to at least make some friends. And, they didn’t realize what that would turn into. But I was basically practicing, and of course I was like on B squad, I wasn’t super athletic. Just kind of more used to work with my hands and that kind of thing. And my coach saw me running and was like, this just doesn’t look right. And he referred me over to the chiropractor in our hometown, which he’s very well-respected, dr. Larry Heparin. They have a big family, and chiropractic and he actually adjusted my feet and my hips and then my upper neck and within about four weeks or so, I went from like second screen, a second string B squad to like A squad. My athleticism just, yeah, it exploded. It was like a light switch just turned on. So it was pretty awesome. Also my learning style even switched, so I used to just be very to myself. I would just drill home the different things that I was studying to be able to space it, ingrain it into my head so I can pass and get a good grade. But now it was a lot more interactive. I actually, I’m a very kinetic hands-on and I like to teach and that’s how I learned. And that style used to not be me. So interacting with people became the bigger priority for me. So it almost just changed the whole way my mind works, which is cool. And then I knew I wanted to go into the health field and I was actually going for dentistry first. Cause I liked the whole prevention side of health care. And, as I was going through university of Iowa, I came home and I was still not totally sure about the whole dentistry route. It seemed fun, but my heart just wasn’t completely in it. And then my chiropractor, who was still adjusting me back home, mentioned A wellness paradigm. It was a book and had a huge title on it, that was basically the philosophy of chiropractic. And I read that and it just completely clicked. And I was like, yeah, this is what we’re going to do.
[00:02:45] September Burton: So you were going for dentistry and Jenna was going for cardiology and then you guys both ended up becoming chiropractors. How fun is that? I love it. So Jenna was telling us that you do a little bit more of the fertility side. She takes care of more once a woman gets pregnant, she takes care of her a little bit more, and then after. Whereas, you do more of the actual, like hormone balancing and dietary needs and things like that to actually help a woman get pregnant. Can you tell us about that?
[00:03:12] Chris Eddy: Yeah. I look a little bit more into applied kinesiology, where my wife is a little bit more specialized in the pregnancy and the pediatric type side of the care. So with applied kinesiology, what it allows me to do is look at how the systems are actually working and then be able to correlate them with, if there’s misalignments in the spine or what we call subluxations, or if it’s a dietary deficiency, if it’s a toxic load type of a thing. So a lot of times what we’ll do is just like a normal chiropractic evaluation, which we’re basically measuring how that autonomic nervous system is functioning where that parasympathetic or the rest, digest, procreate type of the nervous system is located in kind of the top three of the cervical spine. And then also sacrum, pelvis, lower part of the lumbar spine. And then that’s sympathetic for the fight and go are run away from a tiger type of thing is right in that thoracic spine. So based on the patients presentation of where those misalignments or where that tensions being held, I can gauge on where they’re at in the spectrum weather nervous system. Also we look at the digestion first. So digestion is actually our first line of defense. The stomach was actually what we would call the sort of fire. So any kind of that comes in a lot of times, we want to make sure that stomach acidity is actually very high, which actually prevents heartburn. Make sure you’re breaking down the essential vitamin B12, your calcium absorption, breaking down your protein, all that good stuff. And then also, that microbiome. And then along with that, we look at liver and kidney function. So if those guys aren’t producing well, we might have some cholesterol imbalance. Which, if you have bad cholesterol that’s gonna affect your testosterone and estrogen progesterone levels, also the health of the thyroid, so your thyroid levels. And then also blood sugar balance. So if your cells are basically full of sugar and are toxic, procreation is low on the list.
[00:05:12]September Burton: I like what you’re saying about the liver and the kidneys. That’s definitely what I like to focus on nutrition wise is getting those vital organs healthy because then , you get your body out of that survival mode, and one of the things I tell people is we’re mammals. And so we’re still designed to survive first and then reproduce second. So if you’re living life in survival mode, you’re not living life in reproduce mode.
[00:05:32] Chris Eddy: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That even goes for, I know my wife mentioned before about a lot of fertility is focused on the woman. But it does take two people.
[00:05:41] September Burton: Yes, it does. So that was actually going to be my next question is there anything that chiropractic care can do to help improve.
[00:05:49] Chris Eddy: Yeah, so I think the misconception with sperm is that if you get a test done and your levels are high, then like the male’s good. And you can just sit back and relax. But you also need to ask the question is how has the motility of the sperm, also the integrity of the DNA of the sperm too. So if you’re not having a very good balance or I know like a lot of low T values are a big thing for men now, because we’re not moving as well or eating as well as we should. Yeah, so doing a heavy squat will raise a man’s, testosterone levels. So you have to put the body under stress because that’s what men were designed to do. But yeah, if you’re not supporting a healthy body, then that essentially making division of sperm cells, sometimes that process can get, basically interfered with. So there’s more to it than just sperm level count in general. Also the concept of a sperm besides just the sperm, but, the actual ,I guess the product, that it mandates, there’s a lot of nutrition and everything along with it as well.
[00:06:54] September Burton: I read an article not too long ago that talked about how fetal alcohol syndrome can actually it’s not necessarily just for the mother drinking after conception happens. It can actually be from the sperm. So that is a possibility, which I find fascinating. So the sperm matters so guys you need to take care of yourself too.
[00:07:13] Chris Eddy: Yeah. So that’s why we try to encourage we’re a family practice. So we want to get mom treated and dad treated and a little bit of philosophy too, because I know stress plays a big role into it. And especially for me and my wife’s story is we actually battled a little bit with fertility as well. And, we always knew adoption was on the table, but as soon as we switched our minds into focusing on getting pregnant and just focused on becoming good parents, the stress went away from getting pregnant or just focused on making us being good parents. Cause we knew we were going to be parents cause we’re going through an adoption process and then it happens that we get pregnant.
[00:07:51] September Burton: So I like that. I love that. So you focus yourself on how can you be the best person that you can be so that when you become a parent, you’re the best parent you can be. And then lo and behold, now your baby’s due in October, right?
[00:08:04] Chris Eddy: Yeah. So yeah, super fun.
[00:08:06] September Burton: That’s a cool story. And that’s a great way to put it. I love that. Thank you for sharing that.
[00:08:10] Chris Eddy: Thank you.
[00:08:12] September Burton: So let’s talk about progesterone levels and cortisol and like how those things interfere with each other and maybe what you can do to help with that.
[00:08:20] Chris Eddy: Yeah, as far as the tests run, I guess hormone balance type thing is, you have to look at the whole hormone axis and that actually starts in the brain. So that’s pituitary gland. We do a lot of cranial work, doing cranial work allows us to actually tell how that or it can affect the function of the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. so you have this, fluid called the cerebral spinal fluid that surrounds the brain. And essentially that’s like the vascular system for the brain. It’s also a cushion for everything. So if, despite popular belief, our cranium actually moves a little bit along with our sacrum and those two in rhythm together help pump that fluid around the nervous system. So if those sutures in our cranium get locked up, that cerebral spinal fluid flow will actually be a little bit disrupted. If you don’t have a good flow of nutrients through that cerebral spinal fluid, you basically get like an ischemic reaction or lack of oxygen. And so the hypothalamus will start to dysfunction a little bit. Then the pituitary gland is going to be affected by that because it’s directly linked. And then you’re essentially the hormones that tell the thyroid, the ovaries, and adrenal glands instead of basically pump out their cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone will be altered a little bit. cranials are a big thing. And then also, with adrenal, a lot of, especially people who are stressed out, we see a lot of adrenal fatigue.
[00:09:50] September Burton: Yes. That’s a huge problem in our society.
[00:09:54] Chris Eddy: So getting people off caffeine, getting them to eat good food that helps support that, actually a really easy supplement that I use is called spirulina. It’s like a blue-green algae. That’s been like the best thing to help with adrenal function, I’ve found.
[00:10:10] September Burton: And so how does that affect a woman’s fertility?
[00:10:13] Chris Eddy: Fertility? Yeah. So with women, you have ovaries, which is primarily progesterone estrogen production, and then just testosterone and cortisol are pretty much taken care of by the adrenal glands. And, with cortisol levels, if your cortisol isn’t high enough then a lot of times with adrenal fatigue the cortisol dumps down. People are going to feel really tired and they’re going to be lethargic, a telltale sign, but like a metabolic type syndrome. So getting the adrenal function up and getting that cortisol level up, does help support the balance of estrogen and progesterone. So if you don’t, your cortisol is off or you’re stressed out, which also deals with sugar metabolism as well then those cells and the ovaries aren’t going to be as healthy, and then or the hormone balance is going to be off and they’re not going to be able to support.
[00:11:05] September Burton: So you’re going back to the egg quality and the sperm quality at this point?
[00:11:09] Chris Eddy: A little bit. Yeah. And then also this hormone balance also helps support, the viability of being able to keep a pregnancy as well.
[00:11:17]September Burton: Yeah. I know when I was going through, I had recurrent miscarriages years ago and that was what got me into this work. And when I was going through that, it was as a progesterone imbalance. At the end of the day, what the problem was. And that’s what I had to fix. Yeah. so Jade said “story of my life”, I’m assuming you’re talking about being tired?
[00:11:36] That’s funny. so as far as the adjustments how do you balance everything so that you’re living a functional life and fertile?
[00:11:43]Chris Eddy: So as far as like at home things, certain like acute stresses are actually good for us. That’s why going to gym is good, work deadlines, like those are good stresses kinda makes us productive. But if you have chronic stress, that’s going to obviously freak out the sympathetic system on a chronic level. Chiropractically I’m not certified advanced Webster, so that’s why I don’t see the pregnant women. But I do still use the Webster technique to help balance that sacrum, but there’s also applied kinesiology allows us to do blocking, which is a little bit different than your typical adjustment, which is a thrust but they actually place blocks underneath the pelvis and essentially the patients on the blocks and gravity’s kind of creating that pelvic correction as time goes. And as the breathing that’s sacrum is going to slowly get itself in its rhythm, which is a very neat and a very effective way of get that cerebral spinal fluid working. And then also just looking at sacrum balance, lumbar spine balance, and then the C1, C2, C3 area as well. And then also this cranial work, and with cranium it’s, cranial works is a little bit different. It’s usually just a, about a two pound pressure on certain points of the cranium. And usually we coordinate that with breath as well. And that’s essentially how, whenever we breathe the lungs expand and force the spine to move. And then when we breathe out the spine moves and that’s essentially the generation of that pump mechanism between the sacrum and the cranial bones. And so a lot of times with the cranial treatment we’ll coordinate our force and apply it to the cranium with the breath to be able to sync those two together.
[00:13:23] September Burton: That’s cool. I, my mom’s a chiropractor and my mom started chiropractor school when I think I was four. So I basically grew up being adjusted and she used to do that, put the blocks underneath the hips. That was one of the techniques that she did when I was a kid, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to another chiropractor who does that?
[00:13:43] Chris Eddy: Chiropractic as a whole, when you really start learning all these different techniques, cause activators are our staple here.
[00:13:49] September Burton: You guys use more gentle methods than most are not, I shouldn’t say most, but a lot of chiropractors do.
[00:13:56] Chris Eddy: And it’s funny when you start comparing these different techniques. It’s all just chiropractic. It’s just a different delivery mechanism. But, activator, for instances, it takes it pulls stuff from the applied kinisesiology to basically create this one technique, essentially. So, it’s all good. Going to a chiropractor and getting your spine and nervous balanced is going to help you. That’s just finding, I like to call myself not a very prideful doctor. So my goal was just to get rid of that misalignment and get your function back and no matter how, which way I do it, as long as it gets done, that’s the most important. Yeah, that’s why I have several tools in your toolbox. Blocking it’s instrument assisted adjusting to that with this manual adjustment, you do that.
[00:14:43] September Burton: So when it comes to fertility specifically, is there one of those techniques that’s more effective than the others?
[00:14:49] Chris Eddy: I think Webster’s technique is definitely, a high one. And I do think that activator does a really good job just because it is very neurologically based, and the delivery of the force is a little bit different, than like a typical manual adjustment. So the velocity or the speed of the adjustments is really high. And it seems to affect the nervous system just a little different than manual adjustment. Not to say that a manual adjustment wouldn’t help either. it’s just in my experience, of course I do instrument assisted adjesting most often, so that’s my experience. But, I think it’s more on an individual basis and the doing the right treatment for that particular patient.
[00:15:31] September Burton: Absolutely. So do you talk to your patients about how you guys switched your focus? Getting pregnant to being the best parents that you could be and maybe encourage them to take a similar approach?
[00:15:43] Chris Eddy: Yeah. That’s going to have an, a conversation is whenever people come , I tell them right up front my goal is to not put a baby in you, fertility doctors are really awesome at doing that. So that’s their job. They’re good at their outcome is getting pregnant. My outcome that I wish for them is to be a healthier person and to function better. And that part of it is I always like to think of as being a parent, I want my kids to be the best, best that they can be or to have good habits so that when they grow old, they can be healthy and do what their God-given purpose is. And, whenever I was thinking as a parent, I want to pass down those good lifestyle activities to them. And so changing our lifestyle to become a good parent will make you healthy, and in turn make your kid healthy. That’s I think the mind mentality that I try to get across to patients, because you can be really unhealthy and maybe a fertility doctor helps you get pregnant and conceive and have a child, but if you have all these bad lifestyle changes, you’re still not going to get the best line to your kid.
[00:16:51] September Burton: Yeah. One of the reasons that I like focusing on fertility, as much as I do or nutrition is because like I could go help one person get over diabetes or get healthy in whatever way but that only helps that one person, when you take a couple who cannot get pregnant, we change their diet and then all of a sudden, Oh my gosh, that worked. We’re pregnant, we’re having a baby now. There is no way that they can’t pass this information and this knowledge onto that kid. And that kid this is going to have a better life, and their kids are gonna have a better life. So for me, it’s all about the next generation and what kind of world are we bringing in now? So it’s more, I like the family focus of it.
[00:17:30] Chris Eddy: I think one of the best compliments that I get sometimes is now I have to keep coming back to you. I’m feeling really good. They get more in tune to the good, healthy things .
[00:17:43] September Burton: And when you change your lifestyle and you change your diet and those kinds of things, cause I grew up in an extremely unhealthy home basically, food-wise and and when you make those changes, you have to keep learning. You have to keep coming back. It’s not an overnight, it’s not a snap light bulb, oh my gosh I’m just going to eat nothing but greens and spirulina for the rest of my life. It’s like you fall back into your old habits, so you need to come back and be reminded again. And then you start to fall back a little bit, but every time, you take more steps forward and when you start to fall backwards, it’s not as far back as it was before. So I think it’s really important, like in chiropractic care and nutrition in anything, when you’re trying to change your lifestyle and learning a different way of living that you have to keep coming back because it just doesn’t work.
[00:18:33] Chris Eddy: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like wanting to go to the gym once and never go back. So you have to keep, that’s a truly a lifestyle and that’s even what chiropractic is, I don’t like the towel, but like most people see a bad a compensation or once you go to the chiropractor, you have to keep going. That’s Oh yeah, oil change. So it’s like eating your greens and having a healthy lifestyle. That’s the thing is if you do healthy lifestyle changes, you don’t have to do the other things as much. Yeah. yeah. Trying to keep patients to be independent and live that healthy lifestyle that will make a big lasting change.
[00:19:15]September Burton: Yeah. that’s awesome. Is there anything else that you wanted to add? Any final thoughts?
[00:19:18] Chris Eddy: I think that’s about it. I think my wife did a really good job of kind of explaining, the biggest thing too is just, having patience that’s another kind of mental distress is just, they want it done right now and that’s our society and outlook here. But just knowing that it is a process and it might take a little bit of time, and to be patient with that process and knowing that in the end of it when it’s supposed to go.
[00:19:44] September Burton: And sometimes I can take some time. I’ve worked with couples where it takes a year and a half for them to get pregnant and, and that’s fine if it takes a year and a half. The more modalities you add into your care plan the faster it’s going to happen, the faster your body’s going to heal.
[00:19:57]Chris Eddy: And also too, the light of hope with knowing that it might take some time, is that whenever it does happen since you’re at a healthier and you did it in a natural way, your outcome for your birth and the outcome of your pregnancy is probably going to be so much better than if you were to go some other way.
[00:20:16] September Burton: Yeah. So I think that’s a good point. Thank you so much.
[00:20:20] Chris Eddy: Thank you so much.