You have been backed up and constipated for days. You’re lying in bed rolled up in a ball with stomach pains and low back pain. You have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and prescribed laxatives. However, they are causing a lot of bloating and cramping. You even went to emergency and got an enema. That didn’t work. Relief from constipation could be as simple as getting some chiropractic care. I have two stories to share with you.
There’s very little HARD scientific evidence that chiropractic care can help with digestive problems like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. (1) However, because chiropractic care is safe, it’s worth giving it a try.
In a previous article, I wrote about how chiropractic care could help with heartburn and GERD. In this article, I’m going to share two stories with you where chiropractic care helped provide constipation relief.
Case 1: 5 year-old boy Ethan
To protect the individual’s privacy all names have been changed.
Ethan’s Mom Susan and his older sister Sarah were being treated with chiropractic care for some time before he saw me. One Monday afternoon, Susan and Sarah came in to get a preventative spinal and nervous system check-up. I asked them how their weekend was and they said it wasn’t that fun. They had spent Saturday at the hospital with Evan because he was severely constipated and in a lot of pain. It had been seven days since Ethan had a bowel movement. He received an enema and it didn’t work for him.
I convinced them to let me check him. So they went and got him from the playroom in the reception area. I remember the fear in his eyes as they walked with him down the hall into the treatment room. I did my best to establish rapport with this young fellow. I realized after what he went through on the weekend, I wasn’t going to get far at diffusing his fear today. However, he did let me examine his spine.
His lower back and pelvis were very tight and out of alignment. I explained to the Mom and Ethan if the bones in the pelvis and low back go out of alignment it can “pinch” the nerves and weaken the muscles in your “bum” (rectum and anus) and can stop you from poohing. I asked them if I could push the bones back into place (chiropractic adjustment) to take the pressure of his nerves with the hopes that it would help him pooh.
Well, Ethan wasn’t to keen on the idea, but Susan was desperate and she made him do it. Ethan still had that fear and wide-eyed look, but I had to show him tough love and just do this. I did my best to explain he would likely hear a “popping” or “cracking” sound in his back and that it was just “gas” in his joints. I assured Ethan and Mom he would be fine and I adjust my kids and other kids safely all the time. I got him to lay on his side, I positioned myself on the side of the table, leaned over, contacted his pelvis with my left hand, closed my eyes, visualized a clean adjustment, and waited for that window to adjust him. And then I quickly moved my torso and arm in unison to deliver an adjustment to his pelvis. His spine “lit up” like a rocket. To this day, I haven’t heard an adjustment as loud as that.
Although Ethan seemed okay his eyes did have a “more surprised” look in them. He kind of just got off the table slowly, high-fived me reluctantly, and went back out to the playroom without saying anything.
I told the Mom don’t be surprised if he “explodes” into the toilet when you get home and to bring him back tomorrow for a follow-up.
Susan and Sarah followed up the next week, but not Ethan. I asked her how Ethan was doing and why he wasn’t with them. She smiled with laughter. I guess soon after Ethan got home from his 1st adjustment he was on the toilet losing 5 pounds! I guess I scared “the shit right out of him”, and he didn’t want to come back.
I felt bad, because I scared him. At the same time I was happy I was able to help him get some constipation relief.
Case 2: 38 year-old woman Cheryl
Cheryl would come in and see me every couple of months for an adjustment. She worked up in Northern Alberta in the oil field. A lot of labourers, like Cheryl, work shift work. So they might be out working twenty-one days straight and then be off for seven days. Consistency in their regular chiropractic care can become inconsistent to the say the least.
I hadn’t seen Cheryl in a very long time. One day she pops into the office, and she looked different. She was bloated and swollen, and her skin had a yellow tinge to it. I thought to myself, “This isn’t good.” She looked like she was jaundiced (yellow green skin complexion) which can be caused by a serious liver disease.
I asked her what was going on. She said she had been “backed up” for over a week. She told me she had chronic constipation for the last fifteen years or so and hasn’t found anything that works for constipation relief. She had been diagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome.
I proceeded to examine her spine and did some “out of the box” muscle tests. The muscle testing I do is called Applied Kinesiology. You wouldn’t have caught me doing this technique earlier in my career as it is weird and can be construed as unscientific. I found it works very well at finding the primary problem and finding hidden problems. My patients get better faster than they used to. I use muscle testing to find a weak muscle prior to adjusting a patient and then recheck to see if the muscle goes strong afterwards. There are muscle tests to determine if there are glands or organs under stress. In her case, I found her liver to be under stress and her ileocecal valve (valve between the small and large intestine) wasn’t closing properly.
The ileocecal valve is a valve between the small and large intestine, If it doesn’t open properly, that may predispose the patient to constipation. You get backed up as food can’t get through well. This means toxins can’t be expelled and they can accumulate and back up into the blood. This could be what was happening with Cheryl.
I adjusted Cheryl as I usually do, but I also worked on her ileocecal valve (visceral manipulation) to help open it.
She came back about three weeks later and she looked totally normal again. Her skin colour was healthy looking and she was no longer bloated and swollen. I couldn’t believe it. She told me she was also having regular bowel movements once a day.
I hope these two cases provided you with some hope that there are natural solutions for constipation relief and irritable bowel syndrome. You don’t have to live in discomfort and pain.
Constipation relief from chiropractic care is possible, but there are other factors you may have to look at as well. What’s the health of your gut look like? Do you have a diverse amount of beneficial or good bacteria? Have you been investigated for a hidden gut disorders? I wrote about this in a previous article. Many times diet has to be modified, supplements may have to be taken, and probiotics and prebiotics have to be consumed.
Good luck with your quest to achieve a better state of health. Keep trying and never give up hope! There’s an answer out there somewhere.