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For more information about chiropractic treatment, contact:


M. Todd Staker, DC
Ben Schemmel, DC

3550 NW Cary Parkway, #104
Cary, NC 27513
Telephone: (919) 460-1515



140 Iowa Lane, Suite 104
Cary, NC 27511
Telephone: (919) 990-1088

Chiropractic, Acupuncture
Benefit Pregnant Women

"Under normal circumstances, chiropractic care for a woman is of great benefit,” Cary Chiropractor Dr. Todd Staker believes. “When she is pregnant, chiropractic care becomes a near-essential choice for good health—for the woman as well as for her unborn child."

Dr. Staker and Acupuncturist Karen Velasquez
study MRI film of a patient in pain.

And recently, Dr. Staker has added the capabilities of an ex-perienced acupuncturist, Karen Velasquez, LAc, to serve his patients— including pregnant women—on an as-needed basis. Ms. Velasquez has her own practice in Cary.

Pain in the pregnant woman, notes Dr. Staker, “is all-to-often accepted as an inevitable part of the child-bearing experience. It very often presents at the bone in the spine labeled L5, near the bottom of the spinal column, just above the sacrum and coccyx, in the area involving the sciatic nerve, lower leg, ankles, and feet.

“We had a patient, Emily, who was five months pregnant when she first came to us. That’s frequently a time for intense pain to set in with pregnant women, because at this point both the pelvis and the spine start to shift. Sciatica—a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed—is common and painful for pregnant women at this time, and that proved to be her problem.

“Emily came into our office with severe left-sided low-back pain that radiated down to her left glutel area, and into the left posterior aspect of the leg down to the knee. She needed assistance coming into our office. She was a chef, and had been forced to leave her job.

“There are certain complications in treating women at this point in their pregnancy. Certainly we do not want to do an X-ray or MRI, and we want to avoid medications of any kind. In my opinion, chiropractic care, supported by acupuncture, is the most logical, non-invasive, and conservative health care approach for pregnant women. In such cases, we do our diagnostic work using motion studies.

“We treated Emily for three weeks. She began to have good results after the first week, following light treatments to take pressure off the sciatic nerve. Adjustments with pregnant patients are really quite easy, because their ligaments are already loose, while they often have some muscle tightness and mild muscle spasms.

“After our chiropractic adjustment work, we treated Emily with the Active Release Technique (ART) that we find is a powerful adjunct to chiropractic adjustments. ART allows us to treat muscles and tendons in a way we’ve never done before. Chiropractic adjustments can accomplish a great deal on their own, and so can ART. In combination, there’s a powerful synergy, as Emily experienced. After three weeks, she was mobile and pain-free—and a true convert to the idea of regular chiropractic care.”


And now, many Staker Chiropractic patients are benefiting from the training and skills of Ms. Velasquez, a long-time practitioner with a BS in nursing from Indiana University, with honors, and a master’s degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, summa cum laude.

“I have come to have deep appreciation for the healing power of acupuncture, especially when coupled with proper use of herbs and nutrition, to help restore and maintain balance in the body,” she observes.

“And this approach for many women, as an adjunct to Dr. Staker’s protocols, is effective in treating pre-menstrual issues, painful and heavy periods, menstrual cramps, fertility issues, irregular cycles, and nausea linked to pregnancy. Acupuncture helps balance out the cycle and promote normal functioning. It promotes homeostasis in the body. In Western terms, acupuncture in women helps balance the hormones and increase blood flow to the uterus to reduce pain.”

Evaluating Spines

Dr. Staker encourages women to have their spines evaluated regularly during pregnancy. “Misalignments in the spinal column—which we call vertebral subluxations—damage the nervous system and affect the workings of the entire body. The essence of chiropractic care is to correct these misalignments with a spinal adjustment to release the spinal stress. “The result of such alignments,” he says, “is that the body will function better, have higher resistance to disease and simply be healthier. All of this, of course, is extremely important for the pregnant woman, who needs to have an optimum level of health for her own well-being and the well-being of her child.

“Chiropractic care will help ensure that the reproductive and other systems so essential for a healthy pregnancy receive a nerve supply from the spinal column without interference. The slightest interference to the nerve supply can adversely affect the mother and the developing fetus.”

Chiropractic care is especially valuable during pregnancy, Dr. Staker says, “because of the many physical and chemical changes the woman’s body is going through. Not only is her center of gravity changing because of the added weight she is carrying, but her spinal structure becomes more flexible due to hormonal changes that relax the ligaments in the pelvis, preparing them for stretching during childbirth. In an already unstable spine, that may aggravate spinal problems.”

Beneficial and Safe

Above all, says Dr. Staker, “I want to assure women that chiropractic care and acupuncture treatments during pregnancy are absolutely safe. Some women have happily received chiropractic adjustments during labor. Infants a few hours old have been given spinal checkups and adjustments, if needed. My youngest patient was two days old. His Mom, a patient of mine, noticed after his birth that his head was tilted to the right. I did a very, very light treatment, and his mother brought him in three weeks later for a check up. He was fine.”

Osteopathic physicians share his opinion that spinal care for pregnant women is important and effective, Dr. Staker notes. “In the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, one practitioner wrote that ‘correction of vertebral subluxations definitely helps normal function and rehabilitation. Manipulation can be of great value in normalizing the body functions of women with problems of pregnancy such as toxemia.’

“Another physician added that ‘manipulative therapy normalizes functions of the pituitary, adrenal, ovarian, and placental systems, including the craniosacral respiratory mechanisms. This shortens the labor, and lessens medication requirements. Postpartum depression is a rarity in patients receiving manipulative therapy.’”