One of the best parts of my job is surprising people. Often, a patient will come to my office for treatment of a problem they consider a typical chiropractic issue—neck pain or backache, for example—and are pleasantly surprised to find that other, seemingly unrelated health problems have been improved through treatment.
Such is often the case with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I am always taken aback at the sheer number of people struggling with IBS, but never shocked to find that chiropractic is an effective strategy for dealing with the symptoms of this disorder.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also known as ‘spastic colon,’ and occurs when the muscles in your large intestine contract slower or faster than normal. This action causes cramping, pain, gas, sudden onset of diarrhea, and/or constipation. It is a very common problem that affects women more often than men, and usually begins in the teens or early adulthood.
It comes as no wonder to me that many people with IBS have psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. As in so many other health issues, the link between the mind and the actions of the body is quite strong among IBS sufferers. Many of these patients report worsening symptoms in stressful situations, or even when simply thinking about subjects that cause anxiety.
What Causes IBS?
I believe that knowledge is power; the more you understand your condition, the more you can do to help yourself. It’s important for IBS sufferers to acquaint themselves with the key players in their disorder—the central nervous system (the brain) and the enteric nervous system (the digestive system). Information flows back and forth on a continual basis between these two systems on complex pathways.
At some point in human evolution, it was important for our bodies to respond quickly in the face of real or possible threats. The body’s complex communication network was crucial for the survival of the species.
Any disruption or dysfunction along the pathways between the brain and the digestive system can contribute to the abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea experienced by IBS patients. The nerves in the digestive system that are experiencing sensitivity can trigger changes in the brain. Exaggerated responses in the digestive system are then prompted by any type of feelings or thoughts in the brain that are related to anxiety or stimulation of any kind.
Chiropractic Treatment at Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that IBS symptoms can be lessened through proper diet (increasing fiber intake, limiting caffeine consumption, etc.) as well as by finding ways to alleviate anxiety or any other mental health issue that could be a contributing factor.
There are a number of drugs available for IBS patients, including laxatives (for those prone to constipation), antispasmodics, and antidepressants. Of course, many IBS patients are familiar with loperamide (the generic form of Imodium), which is effective only after the patient has experienced at least one bout of diarrhea.
Chiropractic care works by locating and eliminating the intrusions in the nervous system that may be at the heart of your IBS symptoms. When the misalignments in your spine are corrected, your digestive system can return to normal, healthy functioning.
Our Monmouth County facility targets overall posture to align the spine with gravity. This corrects the spine and promotes nervous system health. This technique, known as Chiropractic Biophysics, was designed to eradicate spinal issues permanently. It can also provide temporary relief during the treatment process.
Patients often experience a break from anxiety through chiropractic treatment as well; many of our patients leave Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation Center far more relaxed than when they first walked in. Contact Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation to learn more about how we can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrom.