Dr. Michelle Zhou McCulloch is an Australian Chiropractor currently practicing in Hong Kong. She is the Founder & Director of UP!health, a Central-based multidisciplinary health clinic. She is passionate about providing chiropractic care to pregnant women and new babies.
She started UP!health almost 4 years ago with the vision of creating a unique and beautiful space that provides an array of complementary professional health services that focuses on modern day health challenges.
Michelle is a new mother of 5 month old baby girl Maddy and recently moderated one of our most popular talks at Healthy Matters’ fourth edition of The Hong Kong Maternity + Baby Event.
Michelle gives us an inside perspective on the different benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy and how it can support and prepare expectant women for childbirth.
How would you describe chiropractic treatment to someone who has never tried?
Chiropractic treatment or adjustment is a safe and gentle hands-on therapy that focuses on improving the alignment, biomechanics and neurology of the spine and nervous system. It is an effective treatment option for various spinal conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, headaches and more. Chiropractors goes through 4-5 years of university training before becoming registered with the Hong Kong government to ensure you are in safe hands.
What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Aches and pain is extremely common during pregnancy, especially in the lower back and shoulder region, due to the additional weight and the growing belly changing the woman’s normal posture and centre of gravity. Many women believe pain is something they must put up with during pregnancy and that is totally not true! There are many physical treatment options available to the pregnant woman such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, professional massage, etc. Chiropractic treatment is effective in relieving pain and tightness caused by misalignment of the spine and pelvis. The treatment does not involve the use of any drugs or surgery, which makes it an safe and appropriate option during pregnancy.
How can chiropractic prepare and facilitate childbirth?
During pregnancy, hormones relax the joints in your pelvis in order to allow room for your growing baby and eventually, for the delivery itself. It is an absolutely marvelous process that the woman’s body goes through to allow pregnancy to take place; however this normal and natural adaption also causes a tremendous amount of stress on the body. This is particularly evident during the third trimester – pelvic alignment issue is extremely common. While lower back and pelvic pain is an obvious symptom of alignment issue, more importantly is the potential effect it can have on the position of the baby and/or your delivery. For this reason, I recommend considering having your spine and pelvis assessed prior to your delivery, especially if you are planning for a natural birth.
Could you walk us through a typical chiropractic consultation?
Your chiropractor should perform a detailed examination after a thorough discussion of your complaint and health goal. If appropriate and required (obviously not during pregnancy), X-rays or other imaging can be referred to rule in or out any underlying concerns. I prefer to spend a good 10-15 minutes giving my patients a clear report of findings to allow them to better understand their condition and have the opportunity to discuss their care recommendation with me. I believe that if only someone has 100% understanding of their condition, then will they be able to make the best informed decision for their body. I will then start their treatment while explaining the process along the way, which will often involve some muscle therapy followed by adjusting/manipulation of the spinal joints using a variety of chiropractic techniques to suit their unique condition.
Has the way you practice changed since you have become a mother?
I have been adjusting pregnant patients and new babies for the past 11 years since finishing chiropractic school, and I absolutely love it. Since becoming a mum, I have a deeper appreciation of what a woman goes through during pregnancy both physically and emotionally, and I feel very lucky to be in a position that I am able to help and assist in anyway possible to support my patients’ journey. The first couple of months after birth is a huge roller coaster of emotions – it made me face all my worst fears at once, while bringing me closer to the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. I feel that there is a huge need in the society to provide emotional support to new mothers and to take away the stigma that post-natal blues is anything abnormal.