We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to chiropractor Dr. Valérie Lavigne.
Dr. Valérie Lavigne graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1998. She graduated in November 2014 with a Master of Science in Pediatric Musculoskeletal Health from the Anglo-European Chiropractic College. Her office is located at the Clinique Chiro-Santé Kirkland in Montreal’s West Island. When Valerie is not working she is either sailing or skiing!
How would you describe your job in just one sentence?
Helping people’s neuromusculoskeletal pains through manual therapy.
What made you want to be a chiropractor?
We used to go see a chiropractor when I was a young child and I thought this was a great profession where you would help people feel better through touch. I liked being hands on!
How can new or expectant parents benefit from your services?
Moms-to-be often experience many discomforts that they think are normal for pregnancy. Well, with chiropractic care, we usually can reduce their discomfort and make them enjoy a much more pleasant pregnancy.
For example, most pregnant mothers suffer from a sacroiliac dysfunction because of the laxity of the ligaments that occurs during pregnancy. They get a lot of muscle spasms in the gluteus and piriformis muscle and they come in complaining of pain in the buttocks. By doing some muscle work using trigger points therapy and manual adjustments most mothers get a lot of relief.
Another common reason pregnant mothers seek chiropractic care is when their baby is still in the breech position towards the end of the pregnancy, rather than head-down. In this case, a chiropractor familiar with the Webster technique will attempt to gently encourage baby to turn.
The Webster technique theory is that the uterus is like a balloon suspended by ligaments in the front and attached to the sacrum by ligaments in the back. If your pelvis is not balanced or is positioned posteriorly on one side, then it will torque the uterus. The goal of the technique is to work on the side that is tight and rebalance the pelvis, and then doing a small trigger point in the ligament in the front called the round ligament (which is also half muscle), allowing the uterus to de-torque and give more room to the baby who will turn on its own. We never touch the baby to help it turn. If the baby does not turn there is usually something physical preventing it from doing so, such as a fibroma (fibroid) or a tight cord.
What happens at your first meeting with new or expectant parents?
The first visit consists of taking a medical history, doing a full neuromusculoskeletal exam using various tests, and then discussing the best way to treat the patient.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?
That we can only “crack.” We have many tools in our tool bag and we can treat people with various techniques that are appropriate for them and you do not have to keep coming for the rest of your life! You can decide to do spinal maintenance the same way as dental maintenance or use us for acute care.
What do you love most about working with new and expectant parents?
I love the excitement around the pregnancy and being able to provide them relief!