We’re Dr. Daniel, and Dr. Josiah Hackney, and we own Hackney Chiropractic in Edmond Oklahoma. We’re both Webster certified chiropractors.
JOSIAH: The Webster technique is additional training that chiropractors can receive after graduation. We both went through the training — it’s 16 hours, of not just learning what to look for as far as adjustments and pregnancy, we work with the pelvis. We work with the soft tissues, with the muscles and the ligaments in the area, but the education is also about birth in general — What that process looks like, how we can support moms and families outside of just making an adjustment to their sacrum.
DANIEL: And a couple weekends ago, we went to the advanced Webster training, which is another 16 hours, for even more in-depth analysis of the pelvis and what we can do to help support the pregnant moms… and really perinatal care. So we’ve got them during pregnancy and postpartum as well.
J: There’s new research coming out as far as what to look for and how to support moms and even things that could be indicators of whether they are a good candidate for a vaginal birth after a Cesarean. Lots of exciting things that we’re starting to implement in our practice.
Why Do You Focus on Pregnancy and Birth?
J: When we started our practice, we were very open to anyone who had a spine.
D: If you have a spine, then you need an adjustment.
J. We can check you out. But seeing moms, taking care of moms, was kind of my thing. So I was Webster certified first and then I got pregnant, and I told Daniel that either he needs to get Webster certified or I’m going to go to another chiropractor who is.
D: Which I thought was ridiculous.
J: He went to the training and he came back from that, from the 16 hours, changed. He was just like, “we have to take care of all pregnant women.”
D: And the biggest thing is, I understood why she didn’t want me to adjust her without that training. I didn’t understand before and then after going to (the) Webster training class, I’m like “OK I get it. I understand now why you didn’t want me to adjust to you before.”
J: There are a lot of a lot of changes to the biomechanics of the body during pregnancy.
D: Yeah. I think a fuller understanding of that makes a big difference.
J: So I was out and with our baby and he took over seeing the moms and then I came back with more of an emphasis on babies and moms after birth, because there are a lot of changes happened with pregnancy but so many that happen postpartum — physically, emotionally — and so my heart was, after I experienced that, I need to take care of and be that support for moms during the postpartum period. So I see moms postpartum and their babies. And then Dr. Daniel sees pretty much all moms in pregnancy.
But Isn’t Back Pain Normal During Pregnancy?
D: So a lot of times we get moms that come in and they say, “well I have the normal low back pain during pregnancy and I would say, things that are common… you know, pressure is normal, but pain is not normal. So if there’s low back pain or sciatica or rib pain or, you know, there’s a lot of different aches and pains that the moms will come in for, kind of starting with care, and then we just talk about you know my biggest thing I can do is to help to balance the pelvis, working our way up the spine, just so that the body works better and it functions better, and when it functions better than it feels better. And then we can kind of see what is actually normal, because if we remove the biomechanical imbalances then we can see, “OK. So this pressure is normal but before when you were having the sciatica or the S.I. joint pain, or the low back, or whatever it may have been… that was a byproduct of the pelvis being out of balance.
J: Yeah. And we use the term “normal” because it’s just something that we’re used to. “Oh yes. I’m in my second trimester or third trimester so of course I had this back pain, it’s normal.” It’s very common. And I would say it is normal in the sense that it’s your body communicating with you that something is not right. So you shouldn’t have that pain in pregnancy. I had two pregnancies. The only two times I was in pain, once each pregnancy, I did something really stupid.
D: Moving a box with your foot.
J: Yeah, don’t move when you’re pregnant. Everyone moves when they’re pregnant (like moves where they live). So I did that. So yeah, it was just doing something stupid, trying to move a really heavy box. I was like “I’ll just scoot it over with my foot, and my pubic joint was like, that was not a good idea.” So the pain that I experienced was normal, because it was my way of communicating that something is out and it’s causing stress. Now if I had continued and said, “well this is where I am in pregnancy,” now that would not be normal it would be very common for women to do that, but that’s your body communicating and it doesn’t have to continue that way. I mean like he said, when everything is balanced and moving the way that it should then your body shouldn’t be sending you those warning signs that something’s off, which often translate as pain.
Should Every Pregnant Woman See a Chiropractor
J: Because of the changes that your body goes through during pregnancy, even in the first trimester with the relax and hormones, things start to shift, we don’t have a big bump yet but your body knows it’s coming… And so those changes happen. Whether or not we have pain, those changes are happening, and the Webster technique supports those changes. So it is very helpful for pain relief, but more than that, and what’s more important to us, is that you are supported during this pregnancy and even in preparation for labor, at birth, and postpartum, that recovery time.
What About Postpartum Care?
D: So as a postpartum woman I will defer it to you.
J: Thank you. I am.
D: I mean, I would have things to say, as a post… I don’t know, what would you refer to me as?
J: You’re also postpartum. Your body is not postpartum, but you are postpartum.
D: Yeah, we’re in the postpartum period.
J: Yes we are. So our body goes through a lot of changes in pregnancy and then postpartum. We used to have this weight in the belly. Now it’s in our arms. We’re in this flexed position, however you’re feeding (breast, bottle)… everything in motherhood as flexion: changing diapers, you’re sleeping in these funky positions, and you don’t even know it until you wake up and there’s a crick in your neck. And then your body is adjusting to these changes that occurred over the last year, really. So postpartum chiropractic care just helps support your body through those changes as well. We tend to see more tension in the upper neck and shoulders, but the pelvis is still trying to figure out what just happened — regardless of the the way your baby was born, whether it was a vaginal birth or a surgical birth —— your pelvis still went through all those changes and pregnancy alone. And then postpartum, we tend to not have the greatest posture. So when things are out like that, it can cause pain and it’s really common once you become a mom that this little bundle of joy is your focus, which… they are very important but so are you. And so we are trying to, as much as possible, communicate with moms: “You matter. You’re very important and you can’t take care of your baby well unless you are taken care of.” I mean you can take care of your baby, women are amazing, and we just figure it out. But the quality of care that you’re able to provide, and just the relationship with your baby and with your significant other is going to be better when you are taken care of in you’re supported, and so chiropractic is one way to do that. We’ve set up our clinic as a safe space for mom. We have a feeding room and we’ve got couches in there, and Netflix set up. It’s very common for that to be the first outing for moms. So they come, we check on mom, we check on baby. And then they’re able to go and sometimes a couple hours later, it’s like “Oh you’re still here!” which is amazing. That’s what I wanted. They’re in there connecting with other moms and that is so important, that as a mother YOU are taken care of.. in pregnancy, yes, but postpartum. And if you’ve had a baby, you’re postpartum. It doesn’t end after 6 weeks, or after 12 weeks. Moms need to continually be supported, and taken care of.
D: And that’s why you’ve had your postpartum PJ party too.
D: As a segue…
J: Well that was something that, after my first baby was born, I realized I didn’t really know where to go to get that support, and I kind of conned some of my patients into being my friends. And so I have now, once a month I have a postpartum PJ party, which all that means is you don’t need to get dressed. You don’t have to shower. Just bring your baby. It’s for moms of babies under a year. And we just hang out. Usually I have a massage therapist that comes, we have some protein bites we nibble on, and sometimes we talk about important mother things, and sometimes we talk about nothing. And it’s just a safe space to get together with other moms and have that community, because we’re not supposed to do this alone. And for some reason we think we are. And we try, and it’s impossible. It is impossible.
Do Babies Need Adjusting Too?
J: We recommend babies be checked after birth as well. Both of our babies were checked within…
D: 45 minutes or an hour
J: …an hour of their births.
D: Which is convenient, to have a chiropractor at your birth.
J: It is. It’s a little upside. We were both at their births and so we know what happened. They were very gentle. No one was pulling on their necks, but when we checked them they both had in their upper neck areas where the joints were shifted and that causes stress in the nervous system and the nervous system controls everything else. So when we have a contraction, 12 pounds of pressure is put on the baby’s head and then when we push it’s an additional 27 pounds of pressure. And what’s most effective is the push during contraction. Thirty nine? Thirty nine pounds of pressure.
D: Twenty seven and twelve is thirty nine
J: Great. Thirty nine pounds of pressure put on their little head every time we push during a contraction, so being born is hard work. And that doesn’t even factor in forces for many interventions, if there are forceps or a vacuum, or even with a surgical birth, that’s a different kind of force put on their neck, so it’s very, very, very common for things to be shifted after the birth process. So we like to check babies and the sooner the better because we can make small specific adjustments as they’re young so their muscles and joints don’t learn that this is normal and then they come in as a 15, 20-year-old and they kind of have this little head tilt and they’ve been having headaches, and ideally we want to address things before they even start. But some common signs and symptoms that we see in babies that have things shifted, or this stress on the nervous system, is difficulty latching on one side versus another. So if the joints in the upper neck are shifted then it won’t be comfortable to turn the head equally both ways. So one way, this is fine, but then this way not so much. So when we bring them to eat, they have to latch on this side it’s fine but then when they have to turn their head to latch on the other side, then…
D: Or you have to hold them in a different position.
J: Mhmm, moms are very adaptive and so sometimes we don’t even really notice that something’s going on because, “Oh, they won’t latch, so we’ll just change the way we hold them because we’re going to feed this baby.” So if we have to change anything up with the way that they’re eating from one side to another, that’s usually an indicator they have that stress. Or even when you just lay them down if they always turn their head, or they always have this cute little tilt…
D: Or they’re looking up at the sky
J: Yeah, looking up at the sky is a real common one. We’ve had a few babies and mom says “he just loves to look at the sky,” and while I’m sure they do, we brought the head back down and the baby went back up because the skull was actually shifted during the birth process. And so that is what was comfortable for him. So feeding is usually a big indicator early on, upset tummy, gas, colic, constipation is a big one.
J: There’s not necessarily an adjustment for constipation but we lovingly refer to low back adjustments in babies as the “number two adjustment” because it’s very very common, and one reason we have changing tables in our clinic, it’s very common after they get adjusted for their brain and body to be better connected and it knows what to do.
D: Sometimes they just walk into the clinic (laughing). Well what about car seats?
J: Car seats, that can be an indicator, because baby’s spine at birth is in a C shape, and so they should be comfortable being cradled being even in a car seat. When they’re uncomfortable being cradled or being put in a car seat, that’s usually because there’s a lot of tension in the backside. So it’s more comfortable to arch back, and when you put them in the car seat and strap them in… not fun. Car seats aren’t fun for anyone but they shouldn’t be in pain. So if you hear that cry and it’s more than just “I don’t want to be in this”, especially from early on, that’s probably a sign that they have some tension on the back side of their body causing the arching.
What About As Baby Gets Older?
J: What’s most important to me is that things happen in a certain order, not necessarily a timeline. Every child has their own timeline. Our first daughter was very kind in teaching us that lesson firsthand. Because babies would come to me, the mom would bring them in, and they hadn’t taken their first steps yet and they were 12 – 13 months old and I would check them, and their pelvis would be shifted, which is really common, from when they start to pull up and then they fall on their bottom a few times. So that can shift things, and then when it’s stuck, they’re just not able to have full range of motion and it makes it more challenging to walk. So I’ve had a lot of babies who, we adjust their pelvis and then they go home and take their first steps. Our daughter didn’t do that. She’s been adjusted since birth and…
D: 16, 17 months
J: She was 17 months.
D: But she was moving well. Her movement patterns were good.
J: She was crawling and everything. So she was just that great personal experience reminder that their timeline is their own. But we want things to happen in a certain order. And so, I had a baby recently who is almost a year, and she hasn’t walked yet, but she also hasn’t crawled or rolled over, and she’s trying to sit up. So those things are not in order. We need to be rolling before we’re sitting. And every time she was on her tummy she would just scream. After her first adjustment she was able lay on her tummy, and then she was up on all fours, and now she’s rocking… she’s crawling now. Crawling and pulling up. So we’re very close to walking. And it’s just things were shifted in her body and there’s just some imbalance, so it was uncomfortable. She wanted to do those things but was uncomfortable. And then we had another one who hadn’t walked until she came in. And we got her… it was the same thing, in the pelvis, some rotation in the pelvis and got her adjusted. And after her first adjustment she started walking.
What are Some Common Questions You Answer?
D: So a common question that we get also is, “do you see regular people?” And I guess by regular people, they’re asking, do we see non pregnant, non-babies. So dads.
J: You don’t have to to be pregnant or in a diaper.
D: So I do see a lot of dads as well. And kind of as a personal story, after our first was born, it’s just kind of a crazy time. And so I probably wasn’t getting adjusted as much as I should have been…
J: Well your chiropractor was kind of on maternity leave.
D: Right. And there’s a lot of different movement patterns that you do as a parent that you don’t do if you’re not a parent. So generally if I wasn’t a parent I wouldn’t be sitting on the floor, I would have my daughter jump up and down on me, things such as that, like leaning over a crib… those movement patterns aren’t kind of like normal things that you would do if you’re not a parent. And so I probably wasn’t using the best biomechanics, kind of how I was moving. My favorite is doing the jackknife sit up getting out of bed, so kind of like the rearing back and then propelling yourself forward…
J: No one should do that.
D: Yes. You should really roll to your side, and push yourself up, which I practice daily now. So I actually, I threw my back out probably four months or so after, maybe six months after Zoe was born.
J: No, it wasn’t six. It was probably four.
D: Yeah, probably four months after Zoe was born, and it was just kind of a wake up call. It’s like, “hey I need to move better too.” But also the importance of the regular adjustments to make sure that my body is functioning the best that it can, and you really want your body to function well when you have kids. Not only for yourself but just so you can better take care of the family.
J: And for your relationship with your spouse. You don’t want to be the one that is not feeling well when your wife is postpartum.
D: Yeah. It’s not great to have to lay in bed all day when your wife has to take care of your baby.
J: She wants one baby at a time. The cute one that she birthed.
D: Right. Yes. So we do take care of the regular people as well. But we have Grandma and Grandpa’s come in as well, and people who have never had kids, and college students. I mean we take care of a variety of everyone. So yeah everyone needs chiropractic not just… I mean definitely through pregnancy and for the postpartum period…
J: Our additional training and education is in that prenatal/postpartum period and with babies. But our heart is in families.
D: But kind of like you were saying with the pelvis, all the information that we learned in Webster really translates to everyone. I mean it’s not it’s not just a prenatal adjustment technique. It is designed for that…
J: It’s pelvic balance.
D: Yeah. So I have round ligaments, as a guy, but the rest of the components of the Webster were able to check and we generally, depending on what’s going on, are checking everyone for that.
J: So we’re we’re often asked what an adjustment looks like in babies and in pregnancy. Babies are not just miniature adults and pregnant women aren’t exactly like they were before pregnancy. There’s a lot of hormones that are acting on the body, a lot of changes that happen, so a lot of special consideration needs to take place in both populations. So in babies the amount of pressure that it takes to make an adjustment is about six ounces, which is how much you would use to check a tomato to see if that’s ripe. So I use my fingertips. If they’re asleep, it’s very common for them to just sleep through the adjustment. Once they get a little more active and they’re wiggling around, I wiggle around with them. So it’s real gentle and with toddlers we like to have fun. We have a little table with a lion face on it. So we lay down the lion table and sometimes I’m on the floor with them… just wherever they need to be adjusted, that’s where they will be adjusted. We don’t make our pregnant moms lay on the floor, but we actually have a pillow to support the belly. So they lay on their stomach, without extra pressure on the baby, which feels really great when you haven’t been on your stomach for a while, and then the adjustments that we do are very gentle and specific on the mamas.
D: And safe for baby too during pregnancy.
J: Yeah. We never, as chiropractors, we are not adjusting the baby in utero. It’s really common for moms to come in because baby is in a breach position, which means instead of being head down (which is the most optimal position for vaginal birth) they are sitting with their head up here in their bum down. So, as chiropractors we don’t actually turn them, but with the Webster technique we make sure that the pelvis is balanced. It’s very common that they have the space that they need and then they turn head down on their own.
D: And they move a lot too.
J: They do move a lot. Especially we work with the round ligaments, we get to see like little dance party from the babies.
D: I like to feel like they’re high fiving me.
Finding a Webster Certified Chiropractor
J: We are located in Edmond, Oklahoma, and we take care of families from all over but we are not the chiropractor for everyone. What’s most important to us is that you find someone who is properly trained and who you connect with. One great thing about both of us being in the office is, if I’m with a patient and they need different work, something that he has training in that I don’t, or it’s just not a great connection between the two of us, we are able to refer back to each other for what that patient needs. And it doesn’t ever hurt our feelings if they need to see a different doctor, whether it be one of us, or even someone outside of our clinic. So we often use the ICPA Directory, so that’s the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, that is who the Webster certification is through. So any doctor that is listed on their site has additional training. They have a special interest in families. So icpa4kids.org, and you can search zip code, and find chiropractors in your area who have the Webster certification, or have additional training to take care of families.