POSTPARTUM RESOURCES

Chiropractic Care For Postpartum Wellness With Dr. Sydney McNeill

Let’s Thrive Postpartum | Dr. Sydney McNeill | Postpartum Chiropractic Care

Imagine feeling energized and mobile again after the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth. Postpartum chiropractic care can be a key part of your recovery journey. Join Kelly Siebold and Ashley Moore in this episode featuring Dr. Sydney McNeill, the owner and doctor at the Art of Health Chiropractic, as they delve into the critical topic of postpartum chiropractic care. Dr. Sydney talks about her own experience and why she is passionate about helping postpartum mothers. With a focus on proactive healthcare and holistic support, Dr. Sydney offers practical advice and guidance for navigating the postpartum journey with greater ease and vitality.  

Download your free Postpartum Mental Health Plan today at https://wethrivepostpartum.com/postpartum-plan/.

Get Dr. Sydney’s guidebook, Thrive Through Pregnancy, at https://stan.store/drsydneydc.

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Chiropractic Care For Postpartum Wellness With Dr. Sydney McNeill

Introduction

Welcome back this week to the show. 

We are so excited that you are joining us this week. We are talking to Dr. Sydney McNeil. She is the owner and doctor at the Art of Health Chiropractic outside of Charleston on Johns Island, South Carolina. Dr. Sydney is fabulous. A little bit about her. She graduated from Life University with her doctorate in chiropractic in 2018. After graduation, she and her husband moved to Columbia, South Carolina to start her career. After her son was born, they decided they wanted to build a life in Charleston. 

They have relocated here in September of 2023 and bought the art of health chiropractic. She is uniquely talented at offering patients a gentle full spinal adjustment with an emphasis on the upper cervical regions. She’s especially passionate about health and wellness overall. She’s very active on social media. She’s @Dr.SydneyDC on Instagram and we’ll include that in the show notes. She really likes to give followers insights into her workouts, healthy eating, and what it’s like life with a one-year-old. 

Some of our favorite things about this conversation are she gives a really wonderful explanation about what chiropractic care actually looks like for people like myself and like Kelly, who were previously a little more unfamiliar with what those appointments look like, how it’s helpful and supportive for pregnant and postpartum women. She even sheds a little light and walks us through her own postpartum experience, which for her was very supportive and restorative, mostly due to the plan that she put in place. She’s going to be sharing her top three recommendations that she gives to all of her patients who are pregnant to help them plan for a healthy and successful postpartum. This one is really wonderful.

Welcome. We have Dr. Sydney McNeil here today. She is from the Art of Health Chiropractic. Dr. Sydney, we are so excited to talk to you. Welcome to the show. 

Thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you. 

Let’s Thrive Postpartum | Dr. Sydney McNeill | Postpartum Chiropractic Care

Dr. Sydney, before we jump into all the great information you’re going to share with us, tell us a little bit about you, how you got into chiropractic services, you’re kind of background or you are a mom. Why do you care about postpartum women? Give us a little bit more about you.

I grew up in a very happy, healthy household. I had two really great parents who kind of they were very healthy. They kind of taught us from a young age that health is super important. I grew up wanting to do something in the healthcare field. I just found my way into the chiropractic world, fell in love with it, went to chiropractic school, and worked for somebody else. Then just recently, actually, I don’t even know if you guys know this. I recently purchased Art of Health. I just started at Art of Health in September. This is my new chiropractic baby. 

Congratulations.

Thank you. I’ve been a chiropractor for five years. This is my sixth year and this is my first year with Art of Health. We moved to Johns Island, we love it. My husband and I had our first kid almost two years ago. Before that, I always loved taking care of pregnant women. I always loved taking care of postpartum women. I always loved taking care of babies in my office but it’s not until you go through it yourself that you really understand how important it is. Even for me, I was always like, “We got to take care of the pregnant moms.” Then you just kind of forget about the postpartum moms because you’re like, “They’ve had the baby. They’re good. The baby’s here, the baby’s healthy.  Life is great.” 

It's not until you go through postpartum blues yourself that you understand how important postpartum care is. Share on X

Then that was very much my mindset as well when I got pregnant. I was like, “I got to take care of my pregnant body, my pregnant mind.” Then postpartum came and I was like, “Why is nobody talking about this physically, mentally, just all the things?” That’s where in the last two years, I’ve become much more passionate about taking care of still-pregnant women, but also postpartum moms and postpartum babies as well. Just knowing, experiencing firsthand, wow, postpartum care, oftentimes lasts much longer than a pregnancy. It’s 2 or 3 years, we’re still going through all the postpartum stuff. It’s become a newer passion of mine. That’s kind of my story. It wasn’t until I went through it myself that I was like, “This is where we need to really focus some attention on these moms.”

Concerns And Process

It’s so great to hear because that’s what we hear. I think Kelly ourselves and so many other people we talked to, it’s like, “I went through it.” Then was like, “Why is this not like just as much of a focus as it is while you’re pregnant in terms of just your health, your mental health, and everything?” Dr. Sydney, what do you see when a postpartum mom is coming to your office or contacting you, what do you see as concerns that they’re trying to work through, or what does that whole process look like?

Most postpartum women out there are coming to me because of the aches and pains associated with postpartum recovery, physical recovery, also the physical demands of caring for a newborn. Sometimes they have other babies at home as well, toddlers and such that they’re caring for. Very much so when they begin seeing us, it is for physical aches and pains, which of course we help with definitely. I remember the early postpartum weeks, I was like, “Thank goodness I work with other chiropractors and they can take care of me.” That was where one of the big passions came out because it was like, “How do women do this without chiropractic care?” I was very blessed. 

I had an incredible postpartum experience because I think I had a lot of different providers kind of already in my circle that I could reach out to when I needed them. That’s how most women start, most postpartum women. It’s a lot of neck, shoulder, and upper back pain from just the postural stuff, which I see in my office. Then I love seeing them because I, again, can use my experience and my expertise to kind of talk them through, “How’s breastfeeding going? How’s your return to exercise going? How’s nutrition going? How’s your supplementation going? What’s your sleep like? How’s your mental stress? How’s communication with your partner if they have a partner?” 

I learned a lot and I went through that all firsthand. I’m definitely not a therapist or anything like you Ashley, but I do feel like sometimes they can kind of unload and they can be like, “I was just coming to you for pain but what are your thoughts on this, that, or the other thing or what should I do about this, that or the other thing?” It just becomes more of like more of like everything that they come for. 

That’s amazing. I think it’s so important that it’s just the people talking about it and having the conversation because somebody is able to say, “Let me connect you with this person or let me connect you with this resource or this kind of provider,” but we have to talk about it first for those conversations to even happen. That’s so wonderful that you’re trying to draw that out and check in on all of those important hearts with your clients. I’d love to ask this. I had never been to chiropractic care until you and I had this conversation. 

What To Expect During A Chiropractic Visit

We went into the podcast and I wanted to test it out. We grew up in a family that this wasn’t a thing. I kind of grew up in the country in North Carolina. I don’t even know if there was one in my area and it was absolutely fascinating. If there are other moms like me who don’t know what actually it is, or apprehensive about it. Can you kind of tell us what is it like to go, especially if you’ve just had a baby, and you’re not physically feeling well, what are chiropractor services like?

That’s a great question because a lot of people don’t know. This is a general question that we get a lot of, not even just postpartum, a lot of people don’t know. It’s so important for postpartum because it’s so much more than just your physical aches and pains we’re looking at. As chiropractors, we are looking at your spine and the overall alignment and health of your spine because of the nerves that live in your spine. We’re working on your nervous system and your nervous system controls every other system in your body. It tells your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, your food to digest. 

It’s working over time. Through this postpartum, it is an overdrive. I think you’ve probably heard of terms like nervous system overdrive and parasympathetic fight or flight, all the different sympathetic overdrive, all those fancy words. That is really what chiropractors work with. We’re so overloaded as postpartum moms, especially just like our brains are going constantly, “When was the last time his diaper changed, when was last feed, all these different things.” You’re trying to recover physically and mentally yourself too. Postpartum women’s nervous systems are in such overdrive. 

What chiropractic care is really about, obviously, we care about your aches and pains and your muscle tension and all of that, but what we really like to focus on with those women is tapping into your body is in overdrive. It’s in sympathetic overdrive, fight or flight. It is like being chased from a lion and your body is just so stressed out. What chiropractic care is really good at doing is getting you from the sympathetic fight or flight to the parasympathetic rest and digest. That’s where your body can properly heal. Just calming the nervous system. Does that make sense? 

One of chiropractic care's strengths is helping you shift from the sympathetic fight-or-flight response to the parasympathetic rest-and-digest state, which allows your body to heal optimally. Share on X

It does. I would just say from somebody who had a very high fight or flight experience and getting to calm myself. I wish I would have known about this a couple of years ago because I calming down and going into that rest phase was not a thing I could do on my own easily. 

Super important. 

That’s amazing. There’s probably, there might be some listeners out there. There’s been a lot of talk recently, like the therapy and wellness world about the vagus nerve and polyvagal theory and that kind of thing. That’s something that even like me I’ll have my first chiropractic experience this week. I’m very excited about it. I’m like, “How did I not know? This is so closely aligned with the work that I do as a therapist.” I’m just, you can learn something new all the time is what I seem to continuously find out. 

Closely aligned. That’s what we hear a lot is like, “I wish I had found out about this sooner.” That’s why we’re trying to get out in the community and get to all the events and educate women and families. We see women sometimes they’ve been dealing with stuff. Their kid is now 10 years old and they’re still working through some stuff. It just kind of breaks our heart a little bit and it keeps us like super on track with our mission to educate people to know that we are here and we are eager to help you. Just trying to get the message out because we hear that so like every week, wish I had known about this sooner.

Postpartum Recovery Plan

If a mom is coming in and she’s very high anxiety in that fight or flight mode at the moment and she comes and sees you or another chiropractor, is that she might leave kind of feeling a little relaxed on phase one as you kind of do more treatments or how long do you kind of start to feel some of that relaxation and that calmness kick in?

Such a good question and it really just depends on each patient and how much trauma or micro trauma has built up in their system because some patients have been through a lot more than other patients. It really does depend. Each adjustment does build on the neck. You will get better and better with each adjustment, but it really is that first adjustment kind of tapping into the parasympathetic rest and digesting and allowing the healing to take place really a lot of that does happen in the first 12 hours to 24 hours. Then with each adjustment, it does build on that. 

That’s where we do have to meet individually with each woman and say, “What have you been through physically and mentally?” Because mental health does affect your health physically as well. We do see that a lot. That’s where some postpartum women, they would need to come more frequently and some postpartum women would need to come less frequently. It just depends on kind of everything they’re working through. I would say overall in general, the general best bet would be coming weekly to start postpartum. 

This is where if we’ve taken care of you through your pregnancy, then we would have this conversation before the baby comes, which is always great that we can be proactive with the postpartum care because they always ask, “When should I come postpartum? When’s the best time to start going to the chiropractor?” We always answer, “As soon as you’re ready to come see us, we are ready for you to come. “We do always offer, you guys have been there, you know what it’s like to be immediately postpartum. You don’t want to see anybody, you want to be in sweats. 

Let’s Thrive Postpartum | Dr. Sydney McNeill | Postpartum Chiropractic Care

Postpartum Chiropractic Care: When’s the best time to start going to the chiropractor? We always answer, “As soon as you’re ready to come see us, we are ready for you to come.”

 

We’ll say, “If you want to come before the office opens or after we close, we will do that for you the first couple of weeks.” Most often, postpartum women they’ve got a lot going on. They’ve got a lot of other appointments and they’re going to pediatricians and stuff like that. It’s usually 3, 4, or 5 weeks postpartum that they start coming to see us. Usually, it’s not much sooner than that. 

I waited probably five days, but then it was like all my friends who were chiropractors, I was in there when the office was closed and I was getting adjusted. I was like, “I need this.” Some women, they come in right away, like a week later, but most often it’s 3 to 6 weeks afterward, and then they’re coming weekly for a little bit until their nervous system can kind of get a break and they’ve got, it gets easier with every week that you go through postpartum and every month that you go through it gets easier. 

My biggest question is, does it hurt? 

Yes and no, it can hurt. It depends on kind of how you start. If you don’t have any major pain and you’ve recovered pretty well, it shouldn’t hurt, but discomfort does happen. It’s kind of like a deep-tissue massage if you will. Kind of like the same thing. That’s where you just have to be honest and be like, “Doc, that hurts a little bit. Can you use a little bit less pressure and then we’ll totally be fine.”

It’s amazing. You mentioned earlier that you kind of had this I guess a little bit more of like a plan postpartum because of the friends you have and the people that the kind of environment that you work in. Then you said you had a really positive postpartum experience overall. What else, in addition to the chiropractic care, was a part of that for you? 

This is a great question. I could really go on forever. If I’m going to if I’m going to be honest, which I always am, my ideal patient would be somebody who starts to see me while pregnant or even planning their pregnancy so then I can take care of them while they’re pregnant and then we can have all the postpartum conversations ahead of time and then it’s less of a dumpster fire. That’s my that’s my ideal scenario where I would help them build their pregnancy care team, their birth care team, and their postpartum care team. 

In terms of why my postpartum experience was so good, is because I think my line of work is very proactive with our health. We see a lot of patients for wellness just because they understand the importance of proactive health care. They’re not necessarily in any pain, they’re just wellness patients. I planned my postpartum to the best of my ability. I still had no idea what I was in for until you actually go through it.  These are my top three postpartum recommendations for women. 

Women, you guys can get a pen and paper and write it down. 1) You want to plan for success. If you want to breastfeed, you want to plan to breastfeed successfully. A lot of women do not talk about how hard breastfeeding is, how mentally and physically hard it can be. That’s where I think a lot of postpartum mental stress and physical stress comes from because you’re trying to feed this baby and it’s not going well. You don’t know what to do. You feel like a failure. Your body hurts and your boobs hurt and it’s just a mess. I met with a private lactation consultant before my baby came. 

If you want to breastfeed, you want to plan to breastfeed successfully. A lot of women do not talk about how mentally and physically hard breastfeeding can be. That’s where a lot of postpartum mental and physical stress comes from. Share on X

I met with her pregnant and she walked me through a few things like initially, this is what it’s going to feel like when your milk comes in because I didn’t even know that your milk doesn’t come in until 1 to 2 to 3 days after your baby is born. There’s just so much you just don’t know. She kind of walked me through this is what it’s going to feel like and watch out for this and that. She taught me how to properly latch him and none of that stuff I would have known. I will say this, there’s usually a lactation consultant in the hospital or wherever you’re giving birth, the birth center, but it’s not the same as meeting privately for an hour ahead of time.

Then I had already met her pregnant. I already had her phone number and her contact information. When I was in the hospital, “Emily, I gave birth. When can I come see you for my first postpartum?” Instead of waiting to see how it was going to go, I went in to see her, I think my baby was three days old. At that point, I did need help. It was not easy, it was very painful, but I already had the appointment set up because I texted her from the hospital. That’s number one where I let all my pregnant patients, I’m like, “Do you have a lactation consultant? Go now before the baby comes, get familiar. A lot of them accept insurance and they do super bills for you.” 

That’s super important. 2) I also worked a lot with therapists and I referred a lot to therapists. Number one, do not wait to see how it goes postpartum and to see how you’re doing postpartum. Do not call your sister or your friend or think that you’re going to talk to your husband. Set up a postpartum therapy appointment ahead of time. Sometimes you’re waiting to have an after and you don’t really know when your baby’s going to come, but you can set one like, “I’ll definitely have given birth by now the baby might only be a week old, the baby might be three weeks old, the baby might be a month old, but let’s just get this on the books, you can reschedule it.”

Then you can even go when you’re pregnant. I didn’t go when I was pregnant just because I had other stuff going on, but I did start going proactively after my baby was born. Obviously, I would recommend seeing a postpartum therapist who knows what you’re going through, and who has had kids because it’s just different and you can usually bring your newborn with you. Again, I didn’t have any major postpartum stuff. 

I was very blessed, but I kind of went proactively for a few months through my first couple of months postpartum. Some sessions I get there and I’d be like, “I’m doing really well, but can you help me?” One thing that’s really hard is something that was unrelated to me and the baby. It was like, “How can my husband and I figure out how to manage baby stuff?” Just it was like where we just I was fine, the baby was fine, but how can we figure out how to co-parent because you’d have to go from being just spouses to co-parents?

Communication is huge.

I think being proactive with that, again, most postpartum therapists take insurance or they do super bills. It doesn’t have to be all these. That’s number two, super important, proactive. 3) This is a little bit controversial, so I did, I had a midwife team, I did not deliver with an OB, I did deliver at a hospital, it was a midwife team at a hospital. I had one of my very good friends as a chiropractor, she acted as my doula, so I did not hire a doula. She was acting as my doula, so I had her. I would midwife, I did hire a doula to come to the hospital and to pick up my placenta and encapsulate the placenta. I did take their little pills. I’m not like, I wasn’t like frying my placenta up on a frying pan. 

That’s too much for me. Again, a lot of people don’t know about this service. A lot of doulas offer it. I was not a part of it. I had just given birth, my birth team knew to put the placenta in a clean cooler and then the doula came, she picked it up, and then 2 or 3 days later, she dropped off the pills on my front porch and that was it. It’s easy and then it’s just a little supplement and I took those for, it depends on how many pills you get. It depends on how big your placenta is and all of that. It’s usually a 2-month to 4-month supply. 

Again, it’s not expensive. I paid about $200, which if you’re buying a nice postpartum multivitamin, then that’s about $50 for four months. It’s very comparable in price. I took that postpartum every day for about 3.5 months. Does that contribute to why I had such a great postpartum experience? I don’t know for sure, but there’s a lot of really good science behind it in hormone regulation, mood regulation, milk supply, and stuff like that. I will definitely be doing it again with my next baby. That’s the third one. That’s kind of like the curve ball. Listeners just look into it. You can ask for my Instagram and message me about it. It’s not that weird. It’s really cool There’s a lot of great science behind it and I definitely think it helped me and I will definitely be doing it again.

It’s not something that’s all that uncommon and with so many things in this preventative proactive side like one of my personal mantras it cannot hurt might help.

Definitely cannot hurt might help. It was to the point where I was like, “Let me just not take it for a couple of days and see how I feel.” I always just wound up being like, “I’m going to take it again because I don’t feel as good as I did a couple of days ago.”

I love above all that you had a plan. That is something I was not smart enough looking back to have had a plan for who’s going to sleep with my child. How’s she going to sleep? How are we going to do certain things? You had an actual plan and it’s one of the things we keep talking to moms about is how are you looking after you mentally and physically after having a child? I love everything you said about being prepared for breastfeeding if you’re going to breastfeed. Looking at what you’re going to do to support yourself nutritionally.

How are you going to go ahead for your mental health? You already had chiropractors in your team set up. I think that regardless of how your mental state was helped you be prepared and have other people on the lookout for you. You were seeing and engaging with other people. I just am very impressed and I’m really hoping that some of our listeners are taking some of this advice. I know we’ve talked about putting together a postpartum plan and we have that available. You can come download it for free and kind of start building your plan. These are all great things, Dr. Sydney, that you did that I, looking back, really am envious and I wish I would have done.

Let’s Thrive Postpartum | Dr. Sydney McNeill | Postpartum Chiropractic Care

Thrive Through Pregnancy

I had such a good experience. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had bad days. I’m one of those annoying people. I loved being pregnant. I loved giving birth. I didn’t love being postpartum in terms of how I felt in the initial weeks but like I loved I had such a good experience overall. This past 2023, at the end of 2023, I wrote a guidebook. It’s about 40 pages. It’s called Thrive Through Pregnancy. It’s very in line with your branding because that was what I was very passionate about. At that time, I wanted women to learn how to thrive through pregnancy, with the goal being to have a great birth because a lot of women don’t wind up having the births that they want. 

It walks you through, what can you focus on to ensure that you get the birth that you want. Now my next project in 2024 is I’m going to write my next guidebook and it’s going to be called, I mean, I’ve got to go with it. It’s going to be Thrive Through Postpartum. It’ll be very on-brand with you guys. I’m going to talk about a lot of this stuff that I’ve already talked about in terms of building your postpartum team and planning for this and planning for that, nutrition, supplementation, mental health, all of the things, just because that is just as important as pregnancy if not more for sure.

Dr. Sydney, if there are moms listening who are pregnant right now, how can they get your guidebook?

I’m sure that you guys can do fancy links to show notes and stuff like that. 

We will make sure it’s available. 

I’m going to send you my stuff. I am big on Instagram. I’m Dr. Sydney DC on Instagram and on Facebook and all the things. It’s all on there and I will send it to you guys and you guys can check me out there.

Wonderful. Then when you come around in 2024 and you write your postpartum one, we’d love to kind of help you share that as well. If that’s something to help get to the other moms who are listening who might’ve already had a child.

Yes, definitely. 

This has been so amazing. I love talking, Kelly, we’ve talked to you before about just shifting the mindset from being reactive to more proactive or preventative in terms of how you’re planning for a postpartum experience. Not just that, but really anything in life. Isn’t it better to feel like you’re being proactive rather than reacting and seeking out help only when something is really wrong? Sometimes when you’re able to do a little bit more planning on the front end.

Sets you up with a team of support so you’re not searching in the hardest moments, but it also sometimes can build in some extra tools and services and those kinds of things that can be extremely helpful in reducing some of the symptoms or for some people even preventing the occurrence of postpartum depression and anxiety. I love hearing you talk about just the preventative and being more proactive which is what you said, a lot of people come to you just for general chiropractic care, and some, a lot of people do it as a proactive service, not just when there’s something wrong.

I mean, obviously we do get some people that wait, but being proactive super important and also something that you talked about earlier, Ashley, is just talking about it. Just trying to talk about it. Now I am always with patients, you never want to say the wrong thing and rub them the wrong way and be too pushy, but now easily knowing I am helping them, any pregnant patient that comes through my door, I’m like, “What’s your postpartum plan? Some of them look at me like I have like three eyes and I’m like, “No. If you don’t have a plan, let’s sit for five minutes let me just give you a couple of things and kind of share my experience.”

Being proactive is super important. Share on X

I’m very blunt and I’m very just like I think at the end of the day people are very grateful but it is more common that people look at me if it’s their first pregnancy and they’re like, “What are you what are you talking about?” Just we’re talking about it more. That’s what we’re doing. That’s what you guys are trying to get out there and help people with. We’re just aware and like, “Have you heard about postpartum rage? Did you know about postpartum anxiety? Do you know what intrusive thoughts are? If not, buckle up.”

In all this stuff, you should know because the first thing is doing it’s okay. There’s not something wrong with you. That it’s very common. How do you handle it when it happens?

All the things that I probably should have come in and learned from the get-go to begin all this. If you’re a mom out there who is pregnant or you’re in that postpartum phase and you’re struggling, even now sitting down and kind of going through that plan, Dr. Sydney is local in the Charleston area, but if you are in another state or another location, check out chiropractic care, we’ve talked about some of the really good benefits. Add that to your support team. It may be something that you want to consider when you’re looking at all the ways to either plan for postpartum or to help you kind of at that moment where all of us can live for those first couple of years. 

It’s not just those first six weeks, but the first 2 to 3 years of recovery make a really big difference. Dr. Sydney, I want to ask a really straightforward question because again, I came to see you because we’re going to do this and I wanted to try chiropractic care, also a weenie and was a little bit nervous. Walk a mom through if they’re going to come or somebody who’s not been for. What do you do in the first appointment? I didn’t know what to wear. I didn’t know what to expect. What is a generalized first appointment you walk in? How do we normalize that? 

First Chiropractic Appointment

I need to know this for my appointment this week, perfect.

It’s the not knowing that can be scary. It was not scary at all. 

Even if you Google it, like don’t trust Google. In general, I’m going to answer this in general, not just in my office, but if they’re a good chiropractic office. It’s going to go a lot like my office. Come as you are, don’t wear makeup. Your hair can be in a ratty bun. Bring your newborn if you are postpartum. Do not try and find childcare. We love a baby. We will help you, we will support you, and we will welcome you. If you’re postpartum, bring the baby in. Come in sweatpants if you’re still in a diaper. Come in your diaper. We welcome that. You can wear anything you want. We have different things.

If we need to gown you, come as you are. We want you to be comfortable. People can wear dresses. I mean, we’re in the South, so people are in dresses and skirts all the time. That’s fine. We have different things that we can use if we need to. First appointment, you’re going to fill out online intake forms ahead of time, so that’ll be great. I can review that before you even come in. I have an idea of when you gave birth or when you’re due if you haven’t given birth yet. 

Then you and I are going to sit down behind closed doors and we’re going to talk about, “Why are you here? What are your big goals with care? What’s any major stuff that you’ve kind of been through in the past, either mentally or physically?” Then I’m going to talk about, “This is generally what we do with a patient.” Generally after that chit-chat conversation, we would jump into any exam that needs to take place, but then likely we’re going to take X-rays. That is up to me and up to the patient. Some patients don’t want x-rays and that’s fine and sometimes it’s not proper to x-ray a patient.

That’s where I wouldn’t x-ray a patient. If you are at a certain, you don’t want to x-ray a patient too closely postpartum, you have to be at least eight weeks postpartum before we would x-ray. A lot of times we don’t x-ray postpartum moms. If you are past that, and I always like to wait a couple of months, so eight weeks is the mark, but then I’m like, “If you’re nine weeks, let’s still wait.” If you’re past that, then we will take x-rays. X-rays are like, this is how I explain it in my office. It’s kind of like when you go to a dentist and they take x-rays of your teeth every couple of years. 

We’re just checking out the health of your spine. We’re looking for any spinal cavities. That’s what I say. We’re just going to look for the general health of your spine and your spine health dictates your nervous system health because your nerves live in your spine. That’s how I explain it. That’s generally the first appointment. We kind of do all that exam-finding stuff. There’s no adjustment on the first appointment. Generally, unless the patient is an acute care flare-up, and they really need to be treated, or for some reason, they really want to get treated, or we don’t take x-rays. 

If we don’t take x-rays, then I don’t need time to analyze them so we can jump into an adjustment after the exam. If I take X-rays, I like to view them and analyze them before I do adjustments. That’s going to be the first appointment. If we take x-rays, you’ll come back the next visit, we’ll go through the x-rays together. That’s where I actually like to show you, and it’s very educational. Again, bring your baby, come as you are, you can wear whatever you want. Bring food, bring drink, whatever you need to thrive. 

We will help you but I’m going to show you x-rays and we’re going to go through stuff, and then I’m going to talk about big weaknesses, what we can help with. If there’s something we cannot help with, we might talk about that and where you might need to go instead, whether it’s pelvic floor PT, PT, ortho, that kind of stuff, that’s very rare though. Then we’ll go through the plan, “This is how often you should come. This is what you should avoid doing at home for the time being.” Any of that kind of stuff. Then we’ll jump into the adjustment. Adjustments for me. 

Now this is going to vary. This is where it varies for a chiropractor because we all do adjust a little bit differently but just to give you guys a good visual, you are going to be face down for the majority of the adjustment. You’re going to start face down. I’m going to do some weird checks. I’m going to poke some different spots along your spine, and your pelvis, check your feet, and check different areas of your neck. Then I’m going to use the table to start moving and that’s called flexion distraction. That just helps hydrate the discs in your low back. It feels really nice. 

The table might come up in your pelvis and it might drop and that feels a little bit strange, but what that’s doing is it’s really lighting the pelvis. Then I’m using two different instruments, one’s called the integrator and one’s called the arthroStim and those are just chiropractic adjusting tools. They are designed to be very specific. With that specificity, it does allow my adjustments to be a little bit more gentle.

There’s no twisting, there’s no cracking, there’s no popping like traditional chiropractic care, you’re face down for the majority of it, and then you will come to a seated at the end and I might do a little muscle work on your shoulders or your traps. Then I might do a little disc work on the discs in your neck and then that’ll be it. The whole adjustment takes about five minutes. Then I’m going to ask that you hydrate. I’m going to ask that you ice and I’m going to ask that you rest, which I always say very lightly to postpartum women. “Make sure you get lots of rest.” I don’t generally say that to postpartum women.

Wouldn’t that be amazing though, if you were like, go home and sleep for eight hours?

Go home and take a nap. Not easy. That’s generally what it’s that generally the first two appointments. 

Thank you for that. Just not knowing walking into it was very lovely. There was nothing to be scared of. The X-rays were fascinating and kind of able to go through exactly what my spine looked like because I’ve seen I broke an arm at one point. You see your bones. You’ve never seen my spine before. It was very fascinating to say, here’s you. Here’s what we’re going to do for you. Thank you for kind of walking through, taking any of that fear away of the unknown. 

It’s so important. Dr. Sydney, is there anything that Kelly and I didn’t ask or touch on that you were hoping to share or anything that just comes to mind that you want to relay to anyone out there listening? 

Conclusion

No, I think my big message is just to be open to all forms of healthcare. Think outside the box, talk about it. Just talk about things, and what you’re experiencing. Listeners, I guarantee you somebody else has experienced it, so just talk about it. Try and be proactive. I know it’s not easy, but being proactive with stuff is helpful. If you’re a listener and you’re already struggling and you’re not proactive, that’s okay. Ask for help. We are here to help. We can help you now. Those are my biggest messages. Try and be proactive and then just talk about it, which is what you guys are doing, Ashley and Kelly, and we’re just so grateful that you guys started this. 

Thank you, Dr. Sydney, for being here with us today, for sharing not only your lessons learned of what you did to kind of set yourself up for success, that all of us listening can pull those pieces that would be helpful for us, but also really just sharing the benefits of this with moms who likely may not know that this is another great way to support their mental health, to support their physical recovery. The time they’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant all the way through those first few years and ongoing in life. This has been so helpful, so informative. Thank you for sharing all this information with us. 

You’re welcome. Thank you guys for having me. 

I’ll be seeing you soon. Thank you, Dr. Sydney.

You’re welcome.

That was so great to hear. I love her enthusiasm and I learned so much, not only from seeing her a few weeks, a few days ago, but just really hearing the impact that it can make on your nervous system. I didn’t realize how much it could help calm you down and really put you into that safer mentality. That was so helpful for me. 

No, same. I learned so much and I think she brought up again and again that chiropractic care as well as so many other services out there are proactive, they can be protective, they can be preventative for so many things, like not just postpartum experiences but your health and wellness in general. I really love that we’re able to highlight people like Dr. Sydney who are in the world of helping women try and think ahead and do things that just are really helpful for themselves rather than always feeling like we’ve talked about this before, like always reacting when something’s going on and being in that constant state of like problem-solving. It’s nice to feel like, “I’ve got some tools. I’ve already been working on this.”

If you’re pregnant now or if you’ve already had a child and are struggling, still think a postpartum mental health plan is key to help you kind of set yourself up for success. We’ve mentioned it before. We have one for free on our website. Come to WeThrivePostPartum.com and download it. You can start putting it together for yourself. We’ll also include a link in the show notes. Come check it out. Hopefully, it’s something that can help you figure out all the different tools and guides that you wanna pull together for yourself. We’re also going to include a link to Dr. Sydney’s guidebook that she mentioned that she wrote. It’s called Thrive Through Pregnancy. Check those out in our show notes. If you’re interested in learning more, that’s available for you as well.

Thanks for joining. 

Thanks for joining. We’ll see you next week.

 

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About the Guest

Let’s Thrive Postpartum | Dr. Sydney McNeill | Postpartum Chiropractic CareDr. Sydney McNeill is the owner and chiropractor at Art of Health Chiropractic. Dr. Sydney McNeill graduated from Life University with her Doctorate of Chiropractic in 2018
Following graduation, Dr. Sydney and her husband moved to Columbia, South Carolina to start her career. Once their son was born, they decided they wanted to build a life in Charleston so they relocated to Johns Island in September 2023 and bought Art of Health Chiropractic.
Dr. Sydney is uniquely talented offering patients a gentle full spinal adjustment with an emphasis on the upper cervical regions. Additionally, Dr. Sydney is especially passionate about health and wellness. She is active on social media, @drsydneydc, where she gives followers insight into her workouts, healthy eating, and life with a 1-year-old.
Dr. Sydney believes in chiropractic care during all phases of life. She came under care as a young adult after struggling with migraines. She continued routine adjustments as a young adult, during pregnancy, and now as a new mom. Her son, has been adjusted since birth and often comes to work with his mom! Dr. Sydney hopes that even if she meets you in periods of pain, that with the help of regular chiropractic care, you can have a lifetime of wellness.
In Dr. Sydney’s free time, she loves to read, run, and spend quality time with her husband Tyler, son Mac, and dog, Zeus.

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