I wish all surgeons would recommend chiropractic post surgically. If you are under anesthesia, chances are your body has been in an unnatural position for a period of time. When muscles are relaxed and the conscious mind can’t move itself to protect us, it makes sense that there is potential for strain to occur to the joints, resulting in joint misalignments, ligament sprains, muscle sprains and neurological deficits.

I recently had my dog, Zen, spayed. Two weeks after her surgery she started “leaking” urine. I thought she might have a urinary tract infection but she wasn’t showing signs of fever or frequent urination. I am certified in animal chiropractic and once I went through my list of obvious potential medical complications and made a call to her vet, I decided to adjust her lumbar spine. Yes, I know, I am not a veterinarian. She is however my own dog, diagnosis is similar and I knew her recent history. If she were not my dog, I would suggest clearing with a vet first. That’s another conversation, for another time. Anyway, within an hour, no more leaking and none since. Considering the position of surgery, the organs of surgery and the innervation of the uterus and bladder from the lumbar spine it makes perfect sense that she would be out of alignment, subluxated, in her lower back and that those nerves could be influencing those organs and that correcting alignment corrected the problem. 

Another urine story. Years ago, a patient called me from the hospital after delivering a baby. The baby wouldn’t urinate. They said if he didn’t urinate in an hour they would be putting a catheter in her brand new precious newborn. She was upset and begged me to come adjust her baby. I drove straight to the hospital. Within 5 minutes we had a perfect arc of potty and avoided the catheter. Likely, the process of birth pinched something in the wee ones spine and not all circuits were working. I know, childbirth is not surgery but the mechanism of injury is still intense, if not traumatic.

Oh, the miracles of chiropractic!

Back to surgical examples. I have treated many people post surgically. They experience headaches (neck rotation while being intubated), arm or leg numbness from lying flat or from discs that flare up, to hip pain from being in a figure 4 position and so many other strange things that happen to unconscious bodies. This is not a fault of the surgeon (or veterinarian). It is the nature of surgery, anesthesia, and even post-surgical adaptation. 

After surgery, a check-up is a good idea. No symptoms are necessary. Some symptoms might not be as severe as leaking urine or arm tingling but often people have physical complaints of some kind. Maybe, just soreness. Neck strain is common after extensive dental work or wisdom teeth removal. Lower back pain is common after hysterectomy or any surgery where patients lie flat with their feet flopped out. Surgeries that have patients with arms up overhead (ex: gallbladder or abdominal) may end up with shoulder, clavicle or rib problems. Open heart surgery inevitably gives patients rib subluxations and often sternum/rib subluxations. If the surgery doesn’t cause a problem, sometimes the after effects of surgery causes a problem. If you end up on crutches, a cast, a walking boot, or have a limp or have to sleep on one side or hold your body in an abnormal position or do things like stand on one leg you may end up with secondary complaints that can be addressed with chiropractic care.

Post surgical correction with chiropractic care is done cautiously and gently. Patients have to be able to sit or lie comfortable. Treatment is only to the patients tolerance level and often low force techniques work well. Often therapies for swelling or muscles spasm can be applied. With less pain, more comfort and joints that move well and nerves that fire without interference healing can be quicker, and recovery can ensue with fewer complications. Don’t feel like you need to “wait” to get adjusted! You can feel better sooner.

If your surgeon doesn’t recommend chiropractic, consider it for yourself and your loved ones. If you feel like your body is stressed, it probably is. I like to keep the perspective of a holistic approach for whole body care after surgery. Certainly healing the area of surgery is a priority. And, keeping the whole body well is the best outcome of all.