Unlocking Relief: Can a Chiropractor Help with Constipation?

patient with abdominal pain due to constipation. lets see how can a chiropractor help it.

Have you found yourself enduring days of discomfort, grappling with abdominal pain, and contorting your body in search of relief from stubborn constipation? The struggle is all too real, leaving many to wonder: Can a chiropractor help with constipation? 

The answer, surprisingly, is yes. While the notion may seem unconventional, chiropractic care extends beyond addressing back pain. 

Through specialized spinal adjustments and manipulation techniques, chiropractors have been known to alleviate tension and misalignments in the spine that could be contributing to digestive woes like constipation. 

By restoring proper spinal alignment, chiropractic treatment may facilitate improved nerve function, potentially relieving constipation and its accompanying discomfort. 

Delve into this blog to uncover insights and potential solutions that could transform your digestive health journey.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is a common digestive issue characterized by infrequent bowel movements, typically less than three times per week, leading to difficulty passing stools. 

It often results from inadequate dietary fiber intake, insufficient water consumption, lack of physical activity, certain medications, and ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement. 

Constipation patients can present with the following complaints or symptoms:

  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Difficulty passing stool
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • The feeling of incomplete evacuation
  • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
  • Abdominal distension
  • Potential rectal bleeding in severe cases

Types

Constipation can be classified into primary and secondary types based on causes leading to constipation.

Primary Constipation 

The primary constipation, often idiopathic with an unknown cause, encompasses various types:

1. Normal transit constipation

This constipation refers to a condition where stool moves through the colon normally, but individuals still experience difficulty with bowel movements.

2. Slow transit constipation

It involves a delay in the movement of stool through the colon, leading to infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stools.

3. Outlet constipation

It is also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, which occurs when there is difficulty with the coordination and relaxation of pelvic floor muscles during bowel movements, resulting in incomplete evacuation.

Secondary Constipation

Secondary constipation occurs when there is an identifiable underlying cause, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, neurological disorders, medication side effects, or structural abnormalities in the colon, leading to difficulties with bowel movements.  

Causes of Constipation

Following are some identified causes of constipation:

  • Age 
  • Dehydration 
  • Low Fibre Diet
  • Eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa
  • Inadequate Physical Activity
  • IBS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal Fissure
  • Colorectal Carcinoma
  • Hirschprung’s Disease
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Stroke

When to Consider Constipation as an Emergency?

Constipation should be considered an emergency when absolute constipation occurs, meaning no stool or gas (flatus) is passed for three consecutive days. 

This could indicate a severe obstruction in the digestive tract, requiring immediate medical and surgical attention to prevent complications such as bowel perforation or ischemia.

The Gut-Spine Connection

The intricate relationship between the gut and spine highlights the interconnectedness of bodily systems.

Exploring the Relationship

The relationship between the gut and spine underscores the necessity of understanding anatomical innervations. 

For instance, the celiac ganglion is a crucial nerve center supplied by segments from the spine’s lower thoracic and upper lumbar regions. 

From here, it distributes signals to various abdominal organs and smooth muscles, influencing gut motility and other abdominal functions.

How Can Spinal Misalignments Affect Digestion?

Misalignments of the spine can significantly impact the digestive system, particularly through nerve root compressions. 

Factors like obesity, anxiety, and old age can exacerbate these misalignments. When nerve roots are compressed, signals crucial for motility and the release of digestive juices may be disrupted, leading to abnormal digestion and gastrointestinal discomfort. 

Thus, maintaining spinal posture ensures proper nerve function and optimal digestive health.

How Can a Chiropractor Help With Constipation?

Yes, chiropractors can help constipation by utilizing spinal adjustments to alleviate nerve interference and restore proper communication between the brain and digestive system after diagnosing the cause, potentially improving bowel function.

Can Chiropractors Help With Constipation by Making Diagnosis?

Yes, examination and radiological investigations help relieve constipation by chiropractors. 

Following radiological investigations are done which can show the cause of obstruction, if any:

  • X-ray of Abdomen erect and supine
  • USG Abdomen
  • CT Abdomen
  • Endoscopy can also be advised.

Adjustments for Spinal Decompression

A Chiropractor for constipation employs spinal decompression, using instrument-assisted or trigger point release techniques, to target the release of nerve roots in the lower thoracic or upper lumbar regions. 

By alleviating pressure on these nerve roots, the communication between the brain and the digestive system improves, enhancing motility and the release of digestive juices, ultimately promoting more effective digestion and overall gastrointestinal health.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy administered by chiropractors can effectively alleviate muscle spasms that may be pinching on nerves. 

By targeting specific areas of tension and tightness, this therapy helps to release muscle knots and improve blood flow, reducing pressure on nerves and promoting pain relief, flexibility, and overall relaxation.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Electric muscle stimulation employs electrical impulses to stimulate muscle contractions, promoting relaxation and alleviating tension. 

By mimicking the body’s natural muscle contractions, this therapy helps to improve blood circulation, reduce muscle spasms, and increase range of motion, facilitating muscle relaxation and enhancing overall healing and recovery.

Life Style Modifications & Exercises 

Chiropractors prescribe the following lifestyle modifications as an adjunct to spinal adjustments:

  • Increase fiber intake.
  • Maintain hydration by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to promote bowel movement.
  • Establish a consistent bowel routine, preferably after meals.
  • Reduce stress by practicing relaxation methods such as deep breathing and meditation.
  • Avoid dependency on laxatives.

Following are the important strengthening and therapeutic exercises devised by chiropractors for patients with constipation:

  • Pelvic tilts: These exercises help strengthen the muscles in the pelvic area, promoting better bowel function.
  • Spinal stretches: Gentle stretches targeting the lower back and abdominal muscles can alleviate tension and improve spinal mobility, aiding digestion.
  • Core strengthening exercises: Strengthening the core muscles can improve overall posture and support proper spine alignment, facilitating better nerve function and digestion.

Case Study

Patient Profile

Name: David

Age: 35

Occupation: Construction Worker

Lifestyle: Irregular diet, limited water intake

Presenting Complaints

David presented with complaints of infrequent bowel movements and abdominal discomfort. He reported straining during bowel movements and feeling bloated after meals.

Treatment

Dr. John conducted a comprehensive evaluation and identified spinal misalignments affecting nerve function in the digestive system. Treatment included spinal adjustments, dietary recommendations, and hydration guidance.

Progression

After consistent help from a chiropractor for constipation and implementing lifestyle changes, David experienced improved bowel regularity and reduced discomfort. His symptoms of constipation diminished, leading to enhanced overall well-being. 

FAQs

1. Can misaligned hips cause constipation?

While misaligned hips may not directly cause constipation, they can contribute to spinal misalignments, disrupting nerve signals to the digestive system. This disruption can affect bowel function, leading to symptoms like constipation. 

2. Is there a position that helps constipation?

Yes, squatting is a position that can aid in relieving constipation. Squatting aligns the colon properly, allowing for easier elimination of waste. Squatting exercises or a position on a specially designed toilet stool may alleviate constipation.

3. Why do I get so badly constipated?

Constipation can occur due to various reasons, including a lack of dietary fiber, inadequate water intake, a sedentary lifestyle, ignoring the urge to defecate, certain medications, and underlying medical conditions.

4. Can tight back muscles cause constipation?

Tight back muscles can indirectly contribute to constipation by affecting the nerves that control bowel movements. When the muscles surrounding the spine are tense or in spasm, it can disrupt the communication between the brain and the intestines, potentially leading to constipation. 

5. Is it ok to remove stool with the finger?

Removing stool with your finger is generally not recommended as it can introduce bacteria into the rectum and increase the chances of tearing the anal mucosa or sphincter. If experiencing difficulty passing stool, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for appropriate advice. 

Bottom Line

While answering the question, “Can a chiropractor help with constipation?” it is essential to mention that chiropractic care may offer relief for some individuals with constipation by addressing spinal misalignments that can affect nerve function. 

Consulting with a qualified healthcare provider for comprehensive evaluation and treatment is essential. 

Thank you to Dr John for his case study revelations, and to learn more about the potential benefits of chiropractic care, explore our other blogs at chiropric.

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