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My Journey to Postpartum Care

by: Dr Melissa Reinke, DC

I am extremely passionate about postpartum health. My ultimate goal is to empower my patients to take back control of their body, while being able to enjoy an active, pain free lifestyle.

I've always really enjoyed working with the postpartum population but it wasn't until I had my first child that I was able to connect with the vulnerability that this group faces.

Here's my story...

Since graduating as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 2011, I have prided myself on being strong and "working out smart". I am trained in proper exercise form and have tailored my own exercise program to my body's unique needs... which include congenital hip dysplasia and general low back hypermobility, both which make me more prone to low back injury.

So when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I was excited for the challenge! I stayed strong throughout my whole pregnancy and did "everything right". I was that lady at the gym still lifting weights at 8 months pregnant.
I was so fortunate to be able to work with midwives during my pregnancy and have a great child birthing experience with no complications.
I followed all the best evidence on how to properly return to exercise and was patient with my body.

So, I was taken aback and upset when four months postpartum I started having debilitating low back pain and muscle spasms. By seven months postpartum I had herniated two discs in my low back, and an MRI showed deep bone bruising with chip fractures in my vertebrae. I was in so much pain that I would have to crawl across the room every morning to get to my baby... and then play with her on the floor until my pain medication kicked in so I could bear to stand.
I did all the right rehab and treatment, and saw all the right people... experts in the field of disc pain management. I knew that the patients I treated with disc herniation's typically saw improvement right away. So why was I still in excruciating pain over a year later, at two years postpartum? Why did exercise seem to make my pain worse?

Then I unexpectantly found the answer I was looking for- by becoming certified as a Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist. I took this certification course to further my understanding of some of the common issues my postpartum patients face. What I wasn't expecting was to heal my low back pain in the process.

I learned so much about my body! I now understand why I wasn't healing, and how I was actually exasperating the problem with some of the typical disc treatment protocol exercises I was doing. 

It is NEVER too late to correct these issues. Whether you are currently pregnant, six months postpartum or 20 years postpartum- you can be helped and return to an active lifestyle and feel good in your body again!

I greatly look forward to working with you!

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