01 Nov An Interview with Local Chiropractor, Dr. Stephanie Wautier
This month we are talking to Dr. Stephanie Wautier from Wautier Wellness Chiropractic and Massage. We are excited to share more about her, and her thriving practice, with our readers. I’m a big believer in chiropractic care because I’ve seen it work wonders for our clients. It has also made a big difference for me and my family. From alleviating pubic symphysis in pregnancy, sciatica pain, earaches, nursing mother back pain, breastfeeding latch issues, colicky babies, stress, child bed wetting, headaches, sensory processing challenges…I have seen firsthand the wonders of chiropractic care.
Expecting parents often have questions for us about chiropractic care, here Dr. Stephanie answers the most common concerns to help us understand why she is so passionate to help families in this way.
Can you tell us about Dr. Stephanie the person?
First and foremost, I am a mom and a wife. My family is my absolute first priority. I have two kids, Noah and Sonja, they are 11 (almost 12) and 10. Our animals were both adopted from UPAWS- Midnight, a black cat and Lucy, a border collie/lab mix. I LOVE the beach! Any kind of water- Mother Superior, the Ocean, or any other lake, river, pond. And I love scrapbooking, I’ve moved from the good old fashioned paper scrapbooks to digital, I actually use my phone for most of what I do! I don’t have a lot of extra time for “hobbies” as most of my time is spent getting kids to and from school and activities and trying to prepare semi-healthy meals!
What made you want to become a chiropractor?
Both of my parents had some health challenges when I was growing up. My mom was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) when I was 10 and my parents looked for direction more through the “natural” or alternative world as they were disappointed with the limited direction of MDs at that time. My dad is a small business owner,( he still owns Escanaba Moving Systems), and his low back would go “out” (as was the term). He would be crawling on the ground, barely able to get himself up the couch, and after an adjustment or two at our Chiropractor, he would be back on the road (and back making money as the primary breadwinner). So Chiropractic was an integral part of how we were raised.
How long have you been a chiropractor? Where did you get your degree? Do you have any additional certifications?
So Chiropractic is my second career. As the second oldest in a family of five, my parents weren’t able to help us with college expenses much. I was very intimidated by the enormous debt that I knew I would go into at Chiropractic School so I got my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Michigan State first. I worked full time as a nurse for 8 years before finally getting the courage to go back to Chiropractic School. I don’t regret that time in my life, as I had so many wonderful experiences as a nurse. For several years I was a traveling nurse, working in ICUs in 6 different states. I was able to see the country and it truly stretched me as a health care provider, seeing so many different conditions. I attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa and graduated with honors in February of 2007. I am certified in the Webster technique, a pregnancy-specific technique, and in the ProAdjuster, Activator, SOT, Rockblades, and Rocktape. I am a member of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, and I am a founding member of the nationwide Women Chiropractors organization.
How does chiropractic care work? Some of our readers are not familiar with chiropractic care.
Doctors of Chiropractic are trained in the science, art, and philosophy of removing vertebral subluxations. When a spinal bone gets twisted or shifted in the wrong position it not only can cause pain but it can cause diminished function of the body. We know that our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) controls every function in our body, so we also know that if there is irritation to the nervous system structurally that we will not be able to heal or function to our fullest potential. So we do an exam, checking for restricted motion, tightness, swelling, pain, perhaps numbness, tingling or even electrical type shooting pain. The adjustment itself can look very different from one Chiropractor to another. I have a few different tools that offer more gentle adjustments, including the ProAdjuster, Activator and a technique called SOT or Sacro-occipital technique. I also do the more “traditional” type of Chiropractic adjustment, that many may know as the “Palmer Package”. My goal is getting each patient better the way their own body prefers.
What is your favorite part of chiropractic care?
My favorite part of Chiropractic is seeing my patients get better. It’s especially fun when people are SURPRISED by how good they feel, or if a condition they had been suffering with gets better “just” with the adjustment.
How can chiropractic care help women in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum?
The Webster technique, the pregnancy-specific technique I use, addresses uterine torsion caused by pelvis rotation or shifting. During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is secreted to loosen the ligaments and prepare the pelvis to open up and give birth. That same hormone can make a misalignment of the pelvis even more likely. When we gently adjust the Sacrum (the triangle bone between the two “hip” bones) and when we adjust the Iliums (the hips) we are affecting the ligaments that adhere to the uterus from the inside. This allows the uterus itself to be in as open and symmetrical of a position as it can be to allow the most room for the growing baby inside. This allows for the most optimum development and it has actually been proven to make delivery speedier! Getting both mom and baby adjusted in the postpartum time is essential for many reasons. That relaxin hormone that was secreted during pregnancy will continue to be secreted in the body for about 9 months after delivery. I truly believe this is the best time for mom to get her pelvis aligned so that she doesn’t have any longterm issues. I see so many women who’ve had pubic symphysis pain or “hip” pain postpartum and there were no resources given except for pain medicine. Chiropractic can naturally re-align your pelvis and relieve that pain without drugs.
What about newborns? We often hear that people are nervous to bring their baby in. Can you tell us what chiropractic care looks like for a newborn? Can you address parents safety concerns?
Many births are quite “traumatic” even if they were not medically labeled as so. The first subluxation in a child is usually at the very first vertebrae in their neck. Whether born vaginally or by C-section there is a significant amount of pulling and twisting used to get that beautiful baby out. Having your baby’s spine checked soon after delivery will assure that their nervous system is functioning at its highest potential. The adjustment of a newborn looks NOTHING like the adjustment of an adult (in my office). The amount of pressure used to adjust their spine is about the same as you would use to check to see if a tomato is ripe. It is gentle. Colic is probably the most common reason parents bring their children to me, and we have great success helping those little ones feel and function better. I love when parents say, “It’s like they’re a different baby!”
What is something unique about you as a chiropractor?
I tend to spend a bit more time with patients than some Chiropractors. I think of myself as a detective, investigating where the problem is coming from in the body and using a myriad of techniques to correct those problems. I love the phrase, “Chiropractic is specific or it is nothing”, meaning the adjustment must be on the exact bone at the exact vector. I am the only Chiropractor in Marquette County to have the ProAdjuster, a technology that uses a piezoelectric sensor that NASA originally developed to see if the tiles on the Space Shuttle were loose or not. Being Webster certified and focusing a lot of my continuing education on pediatrics (and being a mom myself) makes me uniquely able to connect with parents and children. I never force parents to bring their children to me, though, that is their decision. And if a child isn’t in the mood for an adjustment, that is not forced either. We are all about free will at Wautier Wellness.
What all do you offer at Wautier Wellness Chiropractic and Massage?
In addition to the Chiropractic adjustment, we offer Massage Therapy. We have so many talented Massage therapists and they range from Swedish to deep tissue to myofascial release and cupping. We bill almost every insurance including UPHP Medicaid and Medicare, and we truly try to make our services affordable for everyone. We also just added the cold laser to our treatment modalities.
What is your favorite thing to do in Marquette in your free time?
I love being with my family outdoors, whether we are at the beach or on the boat or hiking in the woods. What a spectacular place we live!
Wow! Thank you so much for all the amazing information, Dr. Stephanie. We are so thankful for your insight into chiropractic care. It’s evident that caring for others in your passion, that you value growing in knowledge, and that you take the time to really connect with each patient you see. As a fellow mom, your value for your own family gives me such confidence in knowing that you will care for my family with heart-centered care too!
Also, good news! Wautier Wellness Chiropractic and Massage is currently accepting new patients, you can contact them directly at (906) 273-2777.