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Photos by Keith Borgmeyer
The first thing that people think of when they hear the word “chiropractor” is usually something associated with lower back and neck pain. Sure, chiropractors are able to assist in those areas, but they can also do so much more.
“Chiropractic care is the big picture of lifestyle health,” says Dr. Arminta Phelps, owner of Achieve Balance Chiropractic (pictured above with Boone and Jenna Miller). “It is preventative care that can keep a person healthy rather than trying to heal someone who is already sick.”
Chiropractic care assists the body so it’s in the best position to begin its healing process. It centers on the nervous system, taking care of the spine for better brain-body communication so the body is able to heal itself once it’s in the right state to do so.
Arminta looks at chiropractic care as part of a healthy lifestyle. She assesses patients based on a system of toxicities and deficiencies. “Do we have too much of the stuff that we do not need? Or too little of stuff that we do need?” she says. “When we replenish deficiencies and eliminate toxicities, it’s going to be self-serving and self-healing on its own. So really we look at a system from the inside out instead of looking at it from the outside in.”
And her philosophy extends to patients of all ages.
From Their First Breath
Many chiropractors in the Columbia area see patients from every generation. “My oldest patient right now will be 95 by the end of this month, and my youngest right now is about 2 months old,” says Arminta. “But I’ve got a slew of pregnant women who are just about ready to have their babies, so I’m sure that we’re going to get a few new little ones in soon.” Arminta has also provided chiropractic care for her own baby.
“One of the things that I requested in my birth plan was that I would have immediate skin-to-skin contact, so after a couple of moments, I actually adjusted my son right away,” Arminta says. “I made sure that his spine was functioning right because those little bones in his neck can misalign.”
Arminta’s passion for chiropractic care in kids has only increased because she wanted to take care of her son, Jackson. He is now 10 years old and has never had an ear infection or taken an antibiotic. “Twenty-five percent or more of children in the United States are taking one prescription medication a day,” Arminta says. “And that’s alarming because that’s not giving trust in the innate healing potential of the system. We are created perfect. We are made just right. And as long as you support that system, that system will be able to heal what it needs to.”
Dr. Amanda Owens, owner of Tiger Family Chiropractic, along with her team, has had additional training in prenatal care. She says that 91 percent of infants have a strain after delivery. Even a C-section can cause strain on the baby. So, by getting a child to the chiropractor early, or even after birth, they are more likely to be comfortable while sleeping, breastfeeding, and with movement in general.
Chiropractic care can also address digestion concerns, colic, ear infections, and torticollis. There can be some hesitation from parents thinking that chiropractic care could be too intense for a baby; however, Amanda says that babies frequently sleep right through the chiropractic appointments. If the child is older, there might be some general fussiness from being a toddler, but the treatment is gentle. There are specific chiropractic adjusting tables and pressure applied to accommodate all ages and all stages of pregnancy.
Pregnant and Poised
The female’s body goes through a lot of changes while creating another human being. For many pregnant mothers, it can be hard to get comfortable, whether it’s walking, sitting, or sleeping. The good news is that chiropractic care can also help pregnant mothers have an easier, smoother, and more comfortable pregnancy and birthing experience. Dr. Ashley Emel, owner of Compass Chiropractic and Wellness, says that getting chiropractic care while pregnant could even make the delivery process quicker.
Chiropractic care can also help pregnant mothers with indigestion problems such as heartburn and acid reflux as well as problems with their thoracic spine or pelvic area and overall nutrition. Arminta sees mothers as the beginning: where it all starts. “Healthy mom, healthy womb, healthy baby — that’s how I look at it,” she says. “If a mother can be comfortable and ready to take care of the baby as soon as she delivers him or her, the whole experience will be better for everyone involved.”
One of the most interesting parts of chiropractic care for prenatal patients is with babies in the breech position. “There is something called the Webster technique that is very successful in allowing the baby to return to the natural head-down position,” Amanda says. “The process is gentle and includes aligning the pelvis and soft tissues, which allows the baby to correct their own position rather than being rough on the mom and baby,” she continues. “The technique focuses on bringing back everything into alignment as a way to correct whatever is causing the imbalances.”
Boone Miller was only two and half months old when he started experiencing seizures. “We took him to the emergency room and he was admitted into the hospital for four days of evaluation,” says Dr. Jenna Miller, Boone’s mother and a dentist with Willett Dental Associates. “After many tests, they couldn’t see what was causing the seizures, so the physicians decided to put him on anti-seizure medication.” According to Jenna, the medications weren’t working. Soon, the seizures that were only happening one to two times a day escalated to 15 to 20 times a day.
“That’s when someone mentioned chiropractic care as a treatment option,” Jenna says. “I researched and found it had been successful for many people.” Boone was taken off the medication and was referred from Kansas City to Achieve Balance. They were able to see Arminta the same day they called her. The way Arminta approached the case was head-on: “Why don’t we go after the cause of the problem instead of putting a Band-Aid over it?” she says.
To their delight, after multiple adjustments, Boone stopped having seizures. “She would come in after hours and on weekends to see him,” Jenna says. Now, Boone has been seizure-free for eight months. Jenna and Boone still see Arminta for maintenance, but she changed their lives. “She has been a lifesaver for my son and our family,” Jenna says.
Emily Purves also saw Arminta for her children and prenatal needs. Emily, unlike many other pregnant women, was able to keep moving throughout her pregnancy. The adjustments took pressure off of her so she could move regularly and exercise. When it came time for labor, Arminta took a house call to adjust Emily so she was able to give birth, and once her son was born, Arminta also adjusted him.
Alaina’s Sharp’s son, Beckett, who was 6 months old at the time, was having problems sleeping through the night. After multiple adjustments, Beckett, now 3 years old, was sleeping soundly. Alaina’s other son, Rowan, who is now 1 year old, also goes to Arminta.
“Once you get into a rhythm, you start to see the potential the patients begin to express.” Arminta says. “You see somebody that has been sick and suffering and hope is lost, and then you start to watch them heal, and you watch them trust their body again, and you see them come in more relaxed.” Eventually, she says, they start to smile. “You watch families get their lives back. If they didn’t have that, what would it be?”